Colombia President Santos arrived in the United Kingdom today for a two-day trip where he met with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss ways to increase trade links between the countries as well as the often thorny issue for Colombia of human rights.
Speaking at a press conference this morning after meeting with the British Prime Minister, Santos paid homage to the support that the UK has offered in the peace process calling relations between the countries as being at the “best time in its history”.
Santos highlighted that Colombia had doubled its trade with the UK since his last visit two years ago and that the free trade agreement with the European Union – finally ratified by the Colombia Congress yesterday – would help this growth to continue.
Also, among this issues discussed was that of bilingualism, through which President Santos expressed his Anglophilia by saying he wanted Colombia to become a “centre of bilingualism” in Latin America, one imagines by increasing the standard and number of English speaking Colombians.
After meeting the Prime Minister as well as Foreign Secretary William Hague and Minister of State Hugo Swire, Santos later visited Oxford University where he joined representatives from a number of countries across the globe to launch a joint scheme with the university that will help emerging countries tackle poverty through the creation of a peer-to-peer network.
Speaking at the visit, Santos boasted his record on the economy by claiming that two million jobs have been created since he took office in 2010. He also spoke of his record on tackling poverty and income inequality, stating that Colombia’s Gini coefficient – the standard measure on economic inequality – has fallen from 0.56 in 2010 to 2012 0.539.
Perhaps of note to Santos in this aspect is that this is the highest in the exclusive club that Colombia is about to join – the OECD.
Santos will meet with Prince Charles tomorrow after speaking at an event hosted by the Financial Times.