The Instituto de Ciencia Política Hernán Echavarría (ICP), one of Atlas Network’s active partners in Latin America, organized an important online event on March 17 examining Colombia’s ranking within the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report (EFW) and opportunities for improvement. The event—sponsored by an Atlas Network Economic Freedom Audit Grant—was entitled “Libertad Económica en Colombia: Resultados del Índice de Fraser Institute de Canadá” (Economic Liberty in Colombia: Index Results of the Fraser Institute of Canada) and convened over 100 participants on Zoom, over 1,000 attendees on Facebook, and nearly 300 on YouTube.
An Economic Freedom Audit is a powerful tool to evaluate five critical main categories and 42 sub-indicators to trace the roots of a country’s economic challenges by enabling participants and the public to see how their nation does against the regional, world, and top 10 averages in economic freedom. Drawing on specialized material provided by Fraser, these indicators can include evaluations of the size of government, property rights, monetary and fiscal policies, international trade barriers, and government regulations. But an audit goes further, delivering to government and the people of the nation a crucial roadmap of policy steps to take toward greater economic freedom, development, and prosperity. An audit gives reformers the factual information they need to seriously examine their economic standing and implement serious policy changes that become the groundwork for more sustained, substantial change over the long term.
The findings of Colombia’s EFW report constitute empirical evidence that an open market arrangement is a necessary condition for greater social mobility and, by extension, greater prosperity in Colombia. All panelists engaged in the discussion acknowledged the need to support a policy agenda of greater economic freedoms, especially as Colombia confronts an increasing tendency toward inward-looking protectionism.
The event concluded with an invitation for policy decision-makers to incorporate the different measures of economic freedom in the design and execution of public policies. The event was widely reported across the most important nationwide radio and newspaper media, including Caracol, Portafolio, and El Comercio, among others.
The conference featured a stellar program, including Fred McMahon, head of the Economic Freedom of the World Project at the Fraser Institute; María Clara Escobar, executive director of ICP; Carlos Augusto Chacón, academic director of ICP; Daniél Gómez, deputy director of the Department of Planning of Colombia; Gabriel Santos and Catalina Ortiz, representatives of the National Legislature; and Matías Laks, general manager of Rappi Colombia. The results of ICP’s audit were also compiled into a report, which you can read here (link in Spanish).
Atlas Network has provided grants for Economic Freedom Audits that have been or are being undertaken in Colombia, Burundi, Ecuador, Vietnam, Greece, Serbia, Argentina, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Oman, Panama, Jordan, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tunisia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Brazil, Namibia, Ghana, and Nepal.