News Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism

The Basque Country showcases its innovation and competitiveness model to the main countries of the Americas

2012 October 27

The Basque Country was the only region invited to explain its policy at the VI Competitiveness Forum of the Americas, in Cali (Colombia).

Basque Minister Bernabé Unda also met with Colombian entities and institutions to highlight the Basque situation, its strengths and explore opportunities.

The Basque Country was present at the VI Competitiveness Forum of the Americas, which was held in the Colombian city of Cali this week. It was the only region of the world to take part in the conference panel before representatives of the main countries of the Americas.

Basque Government Minister Bernabé Unda attended the conference, invited by the organisation headed by the Colombian Government, to explain the competitiveness and innovation model that the Basque Country has represented in recent decades.

With a specific focus on the public-private partnership, the Basque Country outlined its experiences in some projects, such as the electric vehicle or the smart grids.

It is not the first time that the Basque Country has been taken as an example in these areas. In fact, the Basque Country hosted the Clusters and Competitiveness World Congress (ICT) last week, the results of its international prestige in the application of the cluster model and in the implementation of strategies to stimulate the competitiveness of the region.

The Basque Country's intervention was part of a panel entitled "Advances and Challenges of Physical Integration. Innovative Practices', where it coincided with José Raúl Perales, the Executive director of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America; Antonio Juan Sosa, Infrastructure Vice-President of the Latin America Development Bank.

The sessions also included guest experts on competitiveness such as Dan Restrepo, the former Whitehouse advisor; Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor, along with several ministers from countries in the region and representatives of multilateral entities.

Meetings with key entities

In the run-up to the Competitiveness Forum, the Basque delegation made up by the Minister, the Internationalisation Director, Catalina Chamorro; the Strategy and Planning Director, Inmaculada Freije, and the SPRI International Director, David Fernández, met with different Colombian entities and institutions, with the Deputy Minister for Business Development, Carlos Dehart, with the Valle del Cauca government, which expressed its interest in the cluster policy developed in the Basque Country and raised the possibility of signing a partnership agreement.

In order to promote the strengths of the Basque Country and look for opportunities on new markets, meetings were held with Proexport managers, the entity entrusted with promoting international tourism, foreign investment and non-traditional exports in Columbia, along with the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) The ANI is the entity entrusted with defining and managing funding mechanisms, integral development, structuring, awarding contracts, and monitoring infrastructure projects with private investment, fundamentally in the area of roads, ports, airports and national railways.

Furthermore, separate meetings were also held with the Cali and Bogota Chambers of Commerce to learn in detail about the sector and business fabric of Colombia and Cali in particular.

Meetings were also held with Invest Pacific, which is the investment promotion agency for the Colombian pacific region, along with the National Association of Colombian Entrepreneurs (ANDI), the country's leading employer's association, where information was exchanged and opportunities explored.

The meeting held with the Cali Mayor's Office was deemed to be highly useful for both parties, given the coinciding interests in the sphere of diversification, development and sectoral promotion.

The Basque delegation presented the Basque Country Expertise initiative, which offers foreign countries the experience and proven quality of Basque countries. The tourist strengths of the Basque Country were also promoted.

On the other hand, the Basque Government stressed its support during a meeting with the Basque companies present in Colombia.

About the Competitiveness Forum of the Americas

The Competitiveness Forum of the Americas (FCA) is a unique event in the American western hemisphere, which attracts thousands of representatives each year from the countries in the region who take part in a continental dialogue on competitiveness. It was held in Atlanta (the United States of America), in 2007, 2008 and 2010, in Santiago de Chile in 2009 and in the Dominican Republic in 2011.

As part of the Forum, the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) meets each year in the meeting of the Competitiveness Authorities and Councils of the Americas and the ministers for the Economy, Finances, Industry and Trade of the continent, under the framework of the Meeting of Ministers for the Economy, Industry and Trade of the America.

The Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) is a regional initiative in which the competitiveness authorities and councils of the Americas and academic and multilateral institutions. The members of the RIAC are the authorities, private or public-private institutions of the countries responsible for competitiveness, multilateral entities and academic institutions specialising in the field.

Specifically, the members of the RIAC are the Latin America Development Bank (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), the Compete Caribbean Programme, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (FGCC), the International Centre for Training Local Stakeholders (CIFAL), the Monterrey TEC, the World Bank and the Organisation of the American States (OEA).

Further information on the Competitiveness Forum of the Americas from its official website:

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 26 October 2012


There are still no comments
Comments are disabled for this document
Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)
  • Bernabé Unda
    Consejero de Industria, Innovación, Comercio y Turismo (IX term)