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Caribbean News Desk for Weds Jan 7, 2015

Bogota, Jan 7 (EFE).- Entrepreneurs in Latin America must take into account urban infrastructure since mobility and commercial services may turn out to be either obstacles or platforms for their businesses to grow, an expert said.

“The city is the entrepreneur’s center of activity and his connection with the world,” Marco Kamiya, head of the department of urban economy and finances for UN-Habitat, told Colombia.inn, an Efe-operated news agency.

Latin America faces challenges as a result of insufficient infrastructure, such as transportation, which increases logistics and time costs in establishing commercial relationships.

UN-Habitat, established in 1975, is the United Nations’ program working toward a better urban future.

“A city’s infrastructure limits an enterprise’s development,” Kamiya said. “Capital cities in the region do not grow like U.S. cities because mobility problems make it difficult to obtain supplies.”

“There is more trade with countries outside the region than within the region,” he said. “A businessman in (the Colombian city of) Barranquilla may find it cheaper to get something from China than from Bogota.”

Different means of transportation “will have an impact on entrepreneurs’ profits and that is why governments should promote multi-modal systems that provide for the movement of goods and people.”

By 2050, according to UN-Habitat estimates, about 90 percent of the world’s people will live in cities, compared to an urban population of 35 percent today.

“Urbanization is an irreversible process,” Kamiya said, calling for inclusive policies that prepare cities, residents and companies to receive massive migrations.

The innovation that generates unique value products requires basic engineering and research driven by science schools that, according to Kamiya, “are practically non-existent in Latin America.”

“It is not easy to invest in Latin America because there’s difficulty in generating ideas,” he said. “There’s little reward for new entrepreneurs since the pioneer assumes risks and investments while those who follow just copy.”

In Colombia, there is a need to “understand all the factors in entrepreneurship,” including strengthening engineering schools, the connection between university and entrepreneur, financing systems and networking with Colombians overseas.

YOU CAN LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD THIS EDITION OF CARIBBEAN NEWS DESK HERE {mp3remote}https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/143143643/caribnewsdesk/caribnews_jan07_2015.mp3{/mp3remote}

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