After a 2020 full of challenges, concerns and learning, Colombia’s 2021 was full of challenges that managed to raise awareness among citizens to unite around solutions. In the second half of the year, the economy and employment in the country began a solid recovery and a good part of the population was immunized, generating more opportunities for young people.
Not in vain, the recent survey by research company Cifras y Conceptos, which evaluates Colombian youth, shows that the most dominant emotions are joy and surprise, in contrast to what was reflected in May, where sadness, anger and fear predominated.
Undoubtedly, this is framed in the effort that the National Government, the Congress, the medical staff, the unions and the citizenship have made in order to advance towards the right destination. The National Government launched the Vaccination Plan for the Colombian population in February 2021, a plan that has been successful and very outstanding worldwide. Thanks to this work, 81 million doses were received according to figures from the Ministry of Health, reaching 54.7% of the population with a complete vaccination schedule and 74.8% with at least one dose.
As a result of this great effort, 2021 will be a great year of economic recovery. According to The Economist, our country ranked first in the global normality indicator, confirming that the Colombian economy will achieve a recovery surpassing pre-pandemic indicators, with growth even above 9% of GDP.
In addition to this, 304 thousand jobs in micro and small businesses were protected, 719 thousand young people benefited from zero enrollment in higher education and 3 million families received solidarity income subsidies. This is the right path for the social welfare of our population.
As a Colombian migrant, I highly value the love for my homeland. Today, with the difficulties experienced during the last two years, I can say that I feel that this motivating and hopeful force has revived to build the country we dream of and the life we all Colombians desire: a force with a higher purpose, solutions and wellbeing.
A few wish to show another vision of the country, a hopeless description, with chaos and overwhelming transformation and change. But the reality is that Colombia is a country that emerged from a vacuum; we were a country without direction that prospered and overcame many of its problems. It became one of the leading countries in the region, overcoming crises and ideologies that brought down our neighbors.
Building a better country is a matter for all of us. From abroad, more than five million Colombians yearn to see our beloved country prosperous and united, motivating us to visit it, invest in it and, perhaps someday, return to enjoy that paradise.
Today, the message of 2021, and on the eve of the new year, is to remain united, to trust in the work that has been done and that has yielded results. Undoubtedly, much remains to be done, but unity will allow us to lead Colombia to continue on the path of democracy, prosperity and freedom.
As in all difficulties, what truly unites us is to seek solutions for our country, which is a higher purpose.
Juan David Vélez is a member of the Colombia House of Representatives, representing Colombians abroad.