The original report was published in the Miani Herald on Friday, April 27, 2012
Given the nod of approval from the world's most important credit rating agencies, Colombia's successful economic climate has made one particular institution a prime target for foreign investors: Proexport Colombia . As the official body responsible for promoting international tourism, foreign direct investment (FDI) and exports, Proexport is best positioned to answer the question: Why Colombia?
A safe investment
The World Bank rated Colombia as the most business-friendly country in Latin America (2010) and first on the continent for investor protection. Moreover, the country adheres to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Declaration on International Investment, guaranteeing foreign investors the same treatment and privileges as domestic businesses. FDI increased fourfold in the 2003-2009 period, growing from $1.7 billion to $7.2 billion. Between 2010 and 2011, FDI increased 113%, from $6.8 billion to $14.4 billion, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The C in CIVETS
The CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa) have shown greater stock performances since 2009 and have replaced the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as the next generation of rising economies to track over the next decade. Market experts have welcomed Colombia’s pro-business government, which has been reinvesting oil revenues in infrastructure and other business areas to guarantee a wider and more competitive economy.
67% of the nation’s population of 45 million is in the 15 to 64 year old age range, constituting a young workforce within a thriving entrepreneurial culture. It is also the world’s second most numerous Spanish-speaking population.
Just over three hours away by plane from Miami, Colombia is at an ideal point for access to other markets on the continent, located in the same time zone as global business hubs such as New York, Toronto and Miami. Further afield, permanent contact is maintained with Europe, particularly Spain, due to the workable six-hour time difference and language affinity.
Premier tourist destination
International visitors to Colombia increased from 668,000 to 1.7 million during the 2003-2009 period. While tourism in the world fell 4%, in Colombia it rose 10.2% in 2009. Tour operators in the country almost doubled in 2011 to cater to demand.
For more information: Proexport
COLOMBIA TEAM: Gemma Gutierrez, Leandro Cabanillas, Iris Oliveros, Laia Marsal, Felipe Mattosian, and Rocio De Mingo, with special thanks to Henry Espino
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
AREA - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
GDP - composition by sector:
services: 52.7% (2010 est.)
AGRICULTURE - products:
coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp
textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
$40.24 billion (2010 est.)
EXPORTS - commodities:
petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
EXPORTS - partners:
US 42%, EU 12.6%, China 5.2%, Ecuador 4.5% (2010 est.)