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Colombia: Improved security boosts foreign investment

FDI forecast to hit $10 billion; Election unlikely to change economic policy

Investors interested in Colombia can bank on a continuity of president Álvaro Uribe’s economic policies irrespective of who wins the presidential elections next month, according to his deputy.

"We now have a society that will not allow any reverses in current policies. I don’t foresee any of the presidential candidates bringing in big changes in economic policy, even the leftist candidate," says Francisco Santos Calderón, the vice-president of Colombia, speaking to investors in London in March.

A senior banker agrees. "Uribe is still very popular and so presidential candidates are taking steps to ‘Uribe-ize’ their ideas," he says.

After seven years in power, Uribe’s government has created an attractive investment environment through a mix of financial reform and a concentrated effort to improve Colombia’s security situation. This year foreign direct investment is forecast to reach $10 billion, up from the $8.56 billion that flowed in last year despite the financial crisis. In 2008, the foreign investment rate reached 26.5% of Colombia’s GDP, making it the highest level in the region. FDI has increased by more than 300% in the past five years.

"If someone had told me that I would be able to relate this story about FDI 10 years ago then I would not have believed them.