Guatemala takes pride in its prosperous economy and resiliency, despite the ghosts of its past. Today’s leaders look to build on that legacy for the future. Contribution from private as well as public entities is key to that goal.
Felipe Bosch thinks about Guatemala all the time. But thinking is not enough. He insists that one must participate in the improvement of the country. Bosch himself has served as president of the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala and the leader of CACIF, a sort of “chamber of chambers” representing all sectors of the economy. Today he heads FUNDESA, a private nonprofit foundation that helps to create and implement programs to benefit economic and social development in Guatemala.
Along with other like-minded business leaders, Bosch realized that there was no shortage of ideas for development; however, there was little follow-through. Administrations change and government is often required to respond to near term emergencies. National development, on the other hand, requires longer-term planning, and the business community must play a role. That role is not publicly political; rather, it is part of a concept of national service that Bosch calls “private politics.” FUNDESA’s purpose is to step into that role and fill the gap between short-term, immediate thinking and medium- and longer-term planning. The foundation involves the private sector in public planning to develop a vision for Guatemala’s future over the next 20 years.
When you live in a country like ours, it’s always the dream of having a better country all the time—a better country. And if you don’t get to participate, then how can you put your ideas into action?”
A BETTER GUATEMALA
One of FUNDESA’s signature initiatives is Mejoremos Guate, or “A Better Guatemala.” The project unites private business and government to resolve the nation’s issues. There is a notion in Guatemala that the private sector is focused solely on profit. With programs like Mejoremos Guate, that has been proven false. Guatemala’s private sector believes in the country, in investment, and in development because they want the country to grow.
Mejoremos Guate, and indeed, Guatemala’s future, according to Felipe Bosch, rests on three columns. The first is investment and opportunities for financial growth. FUNDESA is supporting those efforts with teams of private sector experts working with the government on development. The second is the social improvement of the country with advancements in social programs, especially in areas like education and nutrition. The third is safety and security under the national judicial system.