Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaría, Colombia’s Minister of Finance, approved a budget of 1.3 trillion Colombian pesos (US $445 million dollars) to create new roads in the country. That money was destined last year for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), but has been redirected under Cárdenas’ mandate.
“This money will be destined to construct tertiary roads and other necessary infrastructure to benefit the farmers and state services which the armed conflict had previously isolated”, he Cárdenas said.
Alejandro Franco, director of Medellín-based Ruta N, said that this was bad news for STI and that this was a serious setback for the country. Colombia has invested more in STI in recent years as the country attempts to make the transition from an export-based economy to a services-based economy.
“The investment set the basis for a solid economy. If we keep going like this, we will continue to have issues with the education of our people, environment, business development, and quality of life”, he said.
It is worth noting that only a 0.2% of the GDP is spent on STI, while the average in Latin America is 0.5%. Even that percentage is small compared to countries such as Israel, who spend 4% of GDP on STI.