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Felipe Buitrago

COLOMBIA - Tourism

Felipe Buitragoe

Former Minister of Culture,


Felipe Buitrago is an economics graduate of the University of the Andes and has a master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins-SAIS. He is also the co-author of the books The Orange Economy and The No Collar Economy. He has 16 years of experience in issues related to the creative economy. In the past, he served as director of TicTac, the think tank of the Colombian Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications (CCIT). He was also a consultant to the Division of Cultural Affairs, Solidarity, and Creativity of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); director of the Ibero-American Copyright Observatory (ODAI); and program manager of the Creative Economies in Development Program of the British Council in London.

The orange economy in Colombia looks set to provide various opportunities in terms of culture, arts, heritage, and other creative activities, and the Ministry of Culture is working hard to develop a robust cultural and creative ecosystem.

What assistance is the ministry offering to people working in the cultural sector who have been affected by the pandemic?

The challenges of the pandemic are forcing us all to adapt. We must always forge ahead by remaining true to our belief in the importance of cultural diversity and the recognition of our stories and heritage. The ReactivARTE commitment has three major components. The first is to strengthen access to financial assistance. This is important for many entities working in the sector as well as individuals. The second component is that due to the implementation of the National Development Plan and the ReactivARTE Law, we have extremely ambitious tax incentive schemes for investment and donations for the cultural sector. This includes the tax exempted income decree for seven years for creative economy companies that are committed to growth and job creation. The second is a decree that creates an audiovisual investment certificate, through this mechanism foreign direct investment in audiovisual production is growing fast. We also have a decree that creates the system of donations and investments with tax benefits for creative economy projects. In addition, we have a decree to reduce withholding taxes for 27 creative economy activities, because this is a sector that involves a great deal of payment intermediation services. The third component comprises the redirection of all our programs towards recovery. We have reorganized ourselves in terms of the reactivation and modernization of the institutional response involving several national agencies. We are also working with departments and cities, especially the capitals, to come up with common reactivation strategies.

What is the orange economy, and what its special relationship with Colombia?

The concept emerged at the Inter-American Development Bank and is the same as the concept of creative economy: understanding the economic dimension behind culture, arts, heritage, and other creative activities. In practice, it is a development model based on the cultural and creative diversity of a country such as Colombia. For 2021, we are not just working on the consolidation of the concept, but also on the consolidation of the whole package of public policies on the subject. Colombia has been recognized as one of the countries with the most comprehensive institutional and public policy schemes for culture. This is extremely important for foreign investment. It has also proven to be attractive to large and intermediate producers. What is more, it offers the opportunity to invest in infrastructure studies for audiovisual production that many countries do not have. Additionally, this environment is also favorable for those who want to work on design and content generation issues, because they can find a great base in Colombia, as well as support in terms of tax benefits in the development of projects.

How does the Ministry of Culture work with other government entities to influence culture in development?

We work with departments and cities on the development of policies and the orientation of public investments. At a national level, we work with SENA to adjust job training to meet the needs of the sector. In addition, we work with the ICT Ministry so that the community goes hand in hand with digital appropriation and content generation in the digital sector. We work closely with public financial institutions so that they understand how the sector operates, so that the credits are designed according to the needs of the cultural sector. We are also working with the Ministry of Education so that it understands the trade and practices that are associated with what cultural and creative industries offer in terms of professional careers. The work that we do in conjunction with the entire National Council of Orange Economy is comprehensive, and that facilitates the development of a cultural and creative ecosystem so that the impact is economic, social, ecological, equitable, and inclusive.



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