Growth in Colombia has been among the strongest in the region, reflecting the flexible exchange rate and inflation targeting monetary policy, and fiscal rules. The strong growth and welfare programmes to the most vulnerable groups have substantially reduced poverty. Lower taxes and fees on wages have brought more people to better quality formal jobs, thereby raising both productivity and inclusiveness. Productivity and job opportunities have also been enhanced by recent reforms facilitating the opening of business, obtaining construction permits, registering property and paying taxes. However, productivity growth is still low and the gap between rich and poor among the highest in Latin America. Informality and gender gaps remain high, and social mobility low. Years of armed conflict, stringent local regulations and distortions in the tax system have created disparities in productivity and access to basic services across regions. Further simplifying procedures for company registration and the affiliation of workers to social security, improving labour market programmes, expanding early childhood education, and raising education quality would boost inclusion, social mobility and living standards. Greater and more affordable child, elderly and disability care would open the job market to more women. Raising productivity will be fundamental to continued increases in living standards for all Colombians.
SPECIAL FEATURES: PRODUCTIVITY; INCLUSIVE GROWTH