Author: Carlos Pinto
Another interesting information, extracted from the Novus Foundation, is that Cochabamba has two thirds of the technology companies registered in Bolivia, and these produce 12% of the Department’s exports, providing direct employment to more than 3,500 professionals that develop their activities in this industry.
On the basits ot these interesting data, it is clear that significant efforts must be made to rapidly implement public, municipal, departmental and even national policies, aimed at the development of technology and innovation so it can experience a boom in Cochabamba.Why not dream with a Silicon Valley or a South American Tel Aviv, turning this city into a technology and innovation hub (node) in the region?
In this order of ideas, a concrete proposal is to turn the municipality of Cochabamba into a free-trade zone for the provision of technological services and innovation destined to external markets. This will permit that the services offered inside that zone, provided these are exported, are exempted from the payment of charges such as the Value Added Tax (IVA for its Spanish acronym) and the Transactions Tax (IT for its Spanish acronym).
The second viable proposal, to be implemented simultaneously with the previous one, is the subscription of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties that incentivate the entry of foreign companies and individuals interested in developing their activities in that zone, thanks to the fiscal benefits and goodness that this city has, such as human talent and quality as well as the cost of living, which is lower in comparison to other important cities in the country such as Santa Cruz and La Paz, and much lower than that of any other financial center in the region.
The implementation of a free trade zone focused on services in Cochabamba would bring incalculable and immediate benefits. For example, the entry of investment capitals to the free trade zone would stimulate the economy in Cochabamba, benefitting the entire commercial sector in the city; it would create sustainable jobs; it would foster the exchange of know-how with other innovation and technology centers around the world; and, finally,it would increase fiscal collection, benefitting the municipality and the country.