Colombia's recent economic policies have led to stability, but not economic growth. Like many countries in South America, it is struggling find the right policies to create real and long term growth. It is unclear whether Colombia's drug-related violence has hindered economic growth or whether the lack of growth has contributed to the violence. In March 2003, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) was invited to Colombia to explore these and other issues through an open dialogue, and to examine alternative strategies for long-term growth and development.

The Country Dialogue held in March 2003 and organized in conjunction with our local partner Fundacion Agenda Colombia, was notable for both its depth on the issues and breadth of participation. Over 700 people attended the main forum, which was broadcast around the country in real time and featured an interactive question and answer session via the Internet. The debate spurred by the dialogue continued in the local press for nearly six months following the event. IPD and Fundacion Agenda Colombia are following-up with an upcoming book on the alternative policy choices that were highlighted during the debate.