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Colombia: Competition fosters Human Development

By Rocio Arango Giraldo


Colombia: These days, I have been thinking what is the reason the Technology Park, where I work, has both the Government Secretary’s Competitiveness Department and the Agency for Development.
I think I know.
Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in an event that centered on a subject I had been reading about — that a good sign of (economic) development is the amount of initiatives created by people to increase social capital and build networking opportunities.
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On May 28-29, I attended the first Latin American meeting of the agencies of local economic development. I did a short presentation about how Technology Parks are players in human development.
In the meeting, there were people from every country of Latin America and the chief executives of PNUD (United Nations Development Program).
The focus of the meeting was to share experiences about economic development and reflect on the role of technology as it impacts opportunities and sustainable strategies that strengthen human values.
My small experience with the topic allowed me to present my perspective on the role of organizations in local development agencies and how Technology Parks contribute to the building of opportunities for that development.

I had gone to the meeting with the intent of participating in a project about economic development and the transfer of one methodology of development that creates conditions for competition among the owner community.
The project was led by ADRA, the Regional Development Agency of Antioquia, and other institutions belonging to the Technology Park of Antioquia, where I work.
When talking about creating conditions for land development, I think the actions and organizations focusing on that development are to create the framework, networks and physical infrastructure so it is possible for the people to progress. We must not forget that it is the people who progress and not the land.
I read about the experiences of the Barcelona Activa and Mileau organizations, and there emerges the same constant: all initiatives are led by organizations that move through social networks and links — no one works alone.
These days, organizations need to have a window to the world with elements in place that permit them to see the world’s trends while browsing for news of opportunities to take advantage of.
The organizations need to work with cause or issue networks where they can interact with other institutions while creating socially innovative projects.
The human element of competition is in promoting actions that rescue the human dignity by empowering and creating sustainability strategies.
Because it isn’t the land that is competitive, it’s the people who must compete with one another to be prepared for the future.
(Editor’s note: On Sept. 27-29, 2009 in Santiago, Chile, the 2009 III America’s Competitiveness Forum will convene with representatives from 34 countries participating in plenary sessions, roundtable discussions and bilateral meetings to discuss how competitiveness can be improved in the current economic climate.)
Learn more about Rocío:
Rocío Arango Giraldo is 22-years-old and lives in Medellín Colombia. She studied Political Science at the National University of Colombia, Public Management in the Technology Institute of Monterrey in México and Policy Networks at National University of Litoral (Argentina).
She is a member of the Colombian Conservative Party, and has written for such prestigious Colombian publications as El Colombiano, El Tiempo and others. But something she is most proud of is her advocacy for people with disabilities: “I fight for the rights of disabled persons like me.”
Rocío works in the Technology Science Park of Antioquia.

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