OVER 6,000 COMPANIES IN JALISCO

Mexico 2018 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, Governor of Jalisco, on economic specialization, investment in education, and fighting corruption.

What is Jalisco's long-term plan for economic specialization?

It is based on innovation, science, and technology; not as a concept but as a system. The current administration's first action was to create the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology. We carried out a study regarding the changes in technology in industry, like manufacturing, over the past 50 years. Through this, we were able to reinforce technological ideas and conditions powered by innovation and science. Our development plan is based on this philosophy.

How has private and public spending regarding research and technology evolved in order to promote your innovation strategy in recent years?


Since the start of current administration, we have increased the budget for research and technology from 0.37% to 1%. Although private investment has hovered around USD10 billion across the last five years, the sector requires additional private investment for development and encouragement of start-up companies.

Why did Jalisco opt for a “triple helix” governance model to foster its knowledge-based economy?

signed a triple helix model agreement that includes the government as the coordinator; the private sector as the main investor, and universities including public, private, and vocational education institutions, as knowledge and research builders. The benefits go to society, which acts as a fourth helix. Jalisco has always had great potential and we saw the opportunity to articulate efforts in the government's agenda based on innovation, science, and technology. At present, there is a council formed by all the private and public university presidents working on projects and plans with the government. 

Guadalajara is known as the Mexican Silicon Valley. How does the government feel about this name or would you like to break away from this tag?
We like this name and we would like to anchor it to Mexican culture, history, and society. Nowadays, 15 companies from Silicon Valley operate in Jalisco and the state has set-up the best work atmosphere for the development of start-up companies. We have accomplished our three initial targets: making Jalisco a hub for innovation; making Guadalajara the Silicon Valley of Latin America; and lifting Jalisco to one of most important states in Mexico's food sector.

Concerning Jalisco's powerful agri-food sector, what is the relation between innovation, exports, and national food supply?

Success was possible due to the support for agricultural research as well as technological investment and development. Investing in technology for rural areas allows farmers to propel future generations to become entrepreneurs. Jalisco is home to Latin America's most important research center for agroindustry. By giving farmers access to investment, research, and better seeds, they are able to analyze the time of year and the type of soil for all the potential products. Due to these steps, there was a reduction in pests and animal diseases. On the back of these innovations, a development and growth model was created; farmers who only grew corn were growing berries and earning 600% more income. We provide help with production, exportation, and commercialization of their products. Through these value-adding steps, we are exporting to 193 countries.

Many states and cities are opting for Industry 4.0. What Jalisco is doing differently in this topic to be considered a pioneer in Mexico?


Jalisco's gamechanger is investment in education. We created a Council 4.0 with an allocated budget, in charge of checking out the projects that need to be legislated and managing educational programs that suit market needs. From registering the least number of patents in Mexico, Jalisco is now top of the list. If Mexico continues to adopt Industry 4.0, it will be a world leader within 10 years. The difference can already be observed; there are 6,000 companies in Jalisco as compared to 300 at the start of our administration. By further implementing Industry 4.0, we can substantially reduce poverty, violence, and insecurity.

What policies has Jalisco put in place to cut down its transport and industrial-related green-house gas emissions?

We have achieved this through stringent policies. Rather than following other Latin American cities into investing in infrastructure for vehicles, we have invested in public and alternative transport systems. Jalisco's subway system didn't have any upgrade for 20 years; however, we are about to inaugurate third line of 21.4km and extend line one. Moreover, by increasing the number of rail cars per trains to three, an extra 350,000 people will be able to use the system daily, reducing the number of car journeys by 1 million. In addition, by expanding the bike-sharing system and zones with speed limits, we can reduce yearly greenhouse gases by 17,000 tons. Our broader measures include intercity transportation system, implementation of bio digesters, restoring water bodies, and stricter regulations for companies working in Jalisco.

What have been the main achievements and drawbacks of your administration concerning the fight against public and corporate corruption?

At the start of our administration, we observed various corrupt practices in place. Since corruption is systemic and not individual, the only way to fight it is by strengthening institutions with autonomy and independence, and empowering citizenry to deal with it in both private and public sectors. At present, there is an Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office comprised of 60 citizens with an autonomy to use budget to enquiry, examine, and prosecute. We have shown that it is possible to overcome corruption with fortified digital processes and a change in peoples' conducts. We have an Open Government Council with ten challenges for different ministries, for example, social policy, education, employment, and security. On the back of these resolute steps, Jalisco was ranked number one in budget transparency in Mexico. We have managed to develop a system where any type of corruption is punished and we are positive about it proving successful in the future.