GlobalSource Partners’ Colombia Country Analyst Mauricio Santa María is one of Colombia’s foremost public policy authorities, specializing in social welfare, income and labor issues, and infrastructure development. Over a career spanning decades, he has been a catalyst of progress and reform at the highest levels of policy making, involved in all aspects of policy formulation and implementation, including budgeting, congressional approval and program assessment.
Based in Bogota, Dr. Santa María is also a senior partner of Econcept, a financial consulting firm. Most recently he served as President of the National Association of Financial Institutions (ANIF), one of the premier think tanks in Colombia. There he informed the debate on key issues such as the economic impact of Covid and the measures taken by the government during the crisis, as well as developing economic and statistical models to gauge the impact of fiscal, health care, pension and energy reforms on the economy. As Planning Minister under President Juan Manuel Santos, he was responsible for formulating the country’s economic and social policy as well as proposing the country’s infrastructure investment budget. He designed and spearheaded the congressional reform of the system for collecting and distributing royalties from the country’s natural resources (SGR). He further coordinated with Congress to pass multibillion dollar infrastructure budgets as well as advance policies related to housing, road construction and water provision. In other positions in the Planning Department, he led the research and design of strategies to increase Colombia’s competitiveness and participated in the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
Prior to his service as Planning Minister, Dr. Santa María served as Social Protection Minister, in charge of the formulation and execution of public policy related to health, pensions, and the labor market. He also advanced the creation, approval and implementation of laws to facilitate formal employment by increasing benefits and lowering the costs of formalization for business start-ups.
At the World Bank Dr. Santa María was Senior Economist in the Poverty Assessment Group for Latin America and the Caribbean, in charge of projects related to the development of labor and employment progress in Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina. He managed loan projects in Mexico and in Colombia, where he worked on reducing the vulnerability of the poor to armed conflicts. Dr. Santa María has been a board member of institutions including Ecopetrol, the FEN, Colpensiones, CONPES, the Comisión Rectora de Regalías and CREG, and has written extensively on Colombia’s labor market, including on unemployment, informality, income, productivity and reform, and health service delivery and outcomes, health care reform, and tax policy in Colombia. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Georgetown University and an undergraduate degree in economics from the Universidad de los Andes.