José Antonio Ocampo Gaviria was born in Cali (Valle del Cauca), he holds degrees in Economics and Sociology of the University Notre Dame (United States). He also holds a PhD degree in Economics of Yale University (United States).
Ocampo was Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia between 1996 and 1997. In this position, he sponsored an IDB forums in Paipa (Colombia). By that time, he also led the greatest public debt bond issue in international markets, achieving the best credit conditions in that moment. Since Colombian public bonds were so demanded, Ocampo decided, along with the investment banking, to launch the first 30-year bond issue.
He has also been Minister of Agriculture, Director of the National Planning Department, and member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Colombia.
He has held other important positions like Executive Secretary at the ECLAC and the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, being the Colombian citizen that has achieved the highest position in this organization.
At the UN, he introduced some economic and social reforms like the constitution of a permanent committee of experts on international taxation cooperation and the creation of the Financing for Sustainable Development Office.
Ocampo has held some other outstanding positions such as Fedesarrollo’s Director, Rural Mission’s Director, President of the Economic and Social Council of the UN, President of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and professor at Universidad de los Andes, Nacional de Colombia, and Columbia University in the City of New York, where he was also Co-President of the Policy Dialogue Initiative and member of the Global Thinking Committee.
He has written three books about the Colombian economy, one of them called “Economic History of Colombia”, that became his best seller and that already has 20 printings, the most recent one being in 2015, in partnership with the Economic Culture Fund. This book keeps been widely used as an academic text.
Other works he has published are: “Introduction to the Colombian macroeconomy” and “The economic development of Latin America since the independence”.
He has also been awarded with the Jaume Vicens Vives prize of the Spanish Association of Economic History in 2012, the Leontief Award for the Progress of the Economic Thinking Frontiers in 2009, the National Prize of Sciences Alejandro Ángel Escobar in Colombia in 1988. Finally, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Universidad Complutense of Madrid recognized him an Honoris Causa Doctorate.
His research interests include macroeconomic theory and policy, international financial issues, economic and social development, international trade, and economic history of Colombia and Latin America.