STORY INLINE POST
Q: What milestones has Queretaro’s Ministry of Sustainable Development (SEDESU) achieved under your leadership?
A: Job creation has been a milestone for the state and for SEDESU. Despite the atypical year, we recovered the jobs lost during the pandemic and generated 25,000 new positions. Since 4Q15, we have created 156,496 (oct 2015-sep 2021) formal jobs. We also brought 210 FDI projects to the state, of which 82 were for the automotive sector, representing an approximate investment of MX$32 billion (US$1.59 billion) and 21,566 new jobs. The investment we brought into the country benefited the state as it allowed it to take a leap into advanced manufacturing, engineering solutions for automotive systems and autonomous vehicles.
Queretaro is a leader in auto parts manufacturing even though it does not have a light-vehicle OEM plant but it has a resilient economy that is returning to its pre-pandemic levels.
Since the administration began, we have implemented the triple-helix model alongside academia and the industry. Academia generates knowledge and human capital, the industry generates employment and the government enables growth. We work with industry clusters to analyze how we can help different industries thrive. We have seven clusters in the state, including logistics, automotive and aerospace.
Q: What is the role of Queretaro in the Bajio automotive hub?
A: The Centro-Bajio-Occidente Alliance, which encompasses the states in the Bajio area, promotes partnerships among companies and institutions in the region. Together, we can build a strong corridor for automotive manufacturing. Queretaro’s automotive systems are increasingly being integrated by suppliers from Aguascalientes, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi, among other states. A few months ago, SEDESU inaugurated a test track alongside the state’s automotive cluster and the Mexican Institute for Transportation (IMT) that can be used by any interested party to test technologies, vehicles and autonomous mobility platforms.
Q: What makes Queretaro attractive for R&D and advanced manufacturing investments?
A: Queretaro’s strength is its education system, which Gov. Francisco Dominguez has made a priority. We have equipped technical and technological universities in the state, including Universidad Politécnica de Querétaro (UPQ), Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro (UTEQ) and Universidad Tecnológica de San Juan del Río (UTSJR). UPQ, for example, has all the equipment students need to participate in dual education programs and provides students with access to automotive companies’ tests, laboratories and workshops.
IMT’s test track was a direct investment from the state government to benefit the sector. We have also attracted companies to innovate in the automotive industry, such as Continental Automotive, which is developing sensors for autonomous vehicles in the state in a smart cities environment. Harman and -visteon are also designing infotainment clusters in the state.
Q: What challenges must Queretaro overcome to secure sustainable development?
A: SEDESU’s mission is to generate economic growth without compromising the environment, which is why we have made a significant effort to generate public policies that mitigate climate change. We have a special committee, a state program and state law to address climate change. We have identified the main factors behind the generation of greenhouse emissions and transportation leads the way.
The state is working closely with the automotive cluster to generate circular economy models in which the waste from a manufacturing process becomes the raw material for another. Five universities, 40 companies and the cluster have participated in these projects to generate alternative business models. This circular economic system will have 500 participants in five years to mitigate climate change and ensure sustainable growth.
Q: As the leader of SEDESU during its next administration, what are your priorities for the coming years?
A: Six years might seem like a long time but in public policy it can take a longer period to finish some projects. We will prioritize continuity to assuage investors. Continuity has been one of Queretaro’s greatest achievements. Most of SEDESU’s team will remain the same and the challenge now is to keep productivity, investment and job creation up. The state, for the third year in a row, holds first place in IMCO’s competitiveness ranking. As incoming Gov. Mauricio Kuri says: It is time to take Queretaro to the next level.
Marco Antonio Del Prete Tercero has been head of SEDESU since 2015. In 2021 he was appointed to the same office for another six-year term.