Promoting Corporate Governance in Colombia
The Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras)
The Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras) was founded in 1969 at the initiative of local chambers of commerce in the country. Today, Confecámaras coordinates a 57-member network of chambers throughout Colombia. It represents business interests on the national level, provides research and consulting assistance to the business community, and coordinates training and institutional support for the organizations under its umbrella. Since 1999, CIPE has worked with Confecámaras on a variety of issues, notably corporate governance reform and anti-corruption initiatives.
Confecámaras’ work is increasingly recognized in Latin America as one of the better approaches to cultivating awareness of corporate governance standards and strengthening its implementation. The organization has been successful in adapting international best practices in corporate governance to local realities. Confecámaras has been successful in introducing a culture of transparency, accountability, and competitiveness into the Colombian business community, while at the same time helping to bolster the private sector’s participation in policymaking processes.
The State of Corporate Governance in Colombia
Most recently, Confecámaras engaged in an active campaign to increase the adoption of corporate governance best practices. In Colombia, the majority of companies are closely held (the average concentration of share ownership is around 80%), family-owned businesses predominate, and capital markets are insufficiently developed. For this reason, there is a need to strengthen corporate governance in order to create wealth and employment as well as increase investors’ confidence in markets. “The implementation of corporate governance measures allows firms to extend sources of financing and to strengthen the processes of formalization and professionalization, which are necessary elements for increasing the confidence of the investor community and translating the opportunities of globalization into economic and social benefits,” says Andres Bernal, corporate governance program manager of Confecámaras.
Harvey Rodríguez graduated from the Universidad Javeriana in 1999, and obtained a masters degree in economics from the same university in 2003. He has been with Confecámaras since 2000, where he serves as the director of social programs of the business confederation. He specializes in the areas of corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and transparency.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for International Private Enterprise. The Center for International Private Enterprise grants permission to reprint, translate, and/or publish original articles from its Economic Reform Feature Service provided that (1) proper attribution is given to the original author and to CIPE and (2) CIPE is notified where the article is placed and a copy is provided to CIPE’s Washington office via mail, e-mail, or fax.
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