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Persio Maldonado

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Economy

Something for Everyone

Executive Director, El Nuevo Diario

Bio

Persio Maldonado graduated in 2011 from the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) and started working at El Nuevo Diario in 2008. He was appointed Executive Director in 2009.

"I can see that Dominicans are increasingly willing to take part in the growth of the country."

How would you assess the development of the local economy over the past year?

From an entrepreneurial point of view, I think it has been a positive period for the country; the government’s main aim has been to do things differently than in the past. For example, it has allowed people to borrow money through Banca Solidaria, a newly established bank, which gives people with fewer economic resources an opportunity to change their lives. I think this tool will boost our country’s development, as I believe Dominicans have great talent and creativity, but a lack of economic resources. The government has also taken important steps to boost the national economy in a few strategic sectors, such as agriculture, by providing broader funding opportunities. One good example of that would be the mango industry, which has grown well over the last year.

How would you assess the development of the Dominican entrepreneurial spirit in the last few years?

I can see that Dominicans are increasingly willing to take part in the growth of the country, and they are realizing the importance of working hand-in-hand with the government for the country’s best interest. I can say the same about industrial and entrepreneur associations at the national level. At the same time, I think the government has to become more involved in providing support for their development and the further industrial growth of the Dominican Republic. Lately, we have also seen the establishment of different industrial clusters between Dominican companies that seek to unite efforts and optimize resources and activity in order to become more competitive and efficient, which is a very good sign of development at all levels.

“I can see that Dominicans are increasingly willing to take part in the growth of the country.”

What forms of incentives are needed for the further specialization of the national economy?

The government has shown interest in achieving further specialization in certain economic sectors and, so far, the attitude is very positive. However, we are now trying to turn words into action. The cinema industry could be a good example in this regard. At the same time, we have to understand that, because of government mandates, it would take more than four years to see the results of the government’s actions, and it can be largely affected by the attitude of the next national government.

Do you think there is a long-term vision at the top level for the development of the country?

I believe there is a long-term vision, because the government is taking steps that move away from the current mandate. However, I would argue that Dominicans do not see such long-term visions entirely. I understand people feel this way because, even though the government has changed, the final results of the government’s actions and decisions have not materialized. Therefore, I would encourage the authorities to take that change further. Only then would society have a different view of politicians.

What role does El Nuevo Diario play in bringing the authorities and society closer together?

We have always aimed at displaying the government’s action, regardless of political persuasion, because we believe that Dominicans must know what their government is doing. In this context, we do not discriminate between good action and bad action by the government; we try to show the reality of our country and government through the pages of El Nuevo Diario. That also applies to international news.

What are the logistics and distribution challenges facing El Nuevo Diario?

Due to the characteristics of the country, and the fact that not everybody has internet access in the Dominican Republic, El Nuevo Diario cannot reach all the geographic points of the country. Our ideal would be to reach the entire country; however, we have to understand that I have inherited a rather conservative company from my father. I personally have a more entrepreneurial point of view; my challenge is to make our company more commercial and attain national coverage. I aim to reach more and more geographical areas in the Dominican Republic. My duty now is to transmit this vision to all El Nuevo Diario employees because, at the end of the day, they will be the ones making such change possible.

Where do you see El Nuevo Diario in the future?

I see El Nuevo Diario becoming a nationwide newspaper that will be read by all types of people. Also, I think we must grow our share in the US market, as we have correspondents there. Therefore, we are working toward making the El Nuevo Diario brand better known among Dominicans.

© The Business Year – March 2014

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