While Brazil will continue to garner most of the foreign direct investment going to Latin America the next few years, many companies are increasingly looking at another market for strong growth and relatively big numbers: Colombia, the largest Latin American market by population outside of Brazil and Mexico.
A new J.P. Morgan survey shows Colombia as the second-most promising country in Latin America for investments the next three years.
Unlike Brazil, Colombia welcomes imports without protectionist barriers. It also offers a far easier business environment. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2012 report ranks it as the third-best country in Latin America versus 14 for Brazil. The Latin Business Index, from our sister publication Latin Business Chronicle, ranks it as the sixth-best in Latin America versus 11th place for Brazil.
As we show in this issue of Latin Trade, Colombia is seeing a boom in mining and energy and is expected to continue growing strongly (see Country Report: Colombian Star).
From January 1 through October 15, 2011, it managed to attract $11.5 billion in foreign direct investment, beating the record year of 2008, when it received $10.6 billion in investments.
Obviously Colombia does have its share of challenges. Infrastructure and education are still lagging and poverty is still too widespread. Meanwhile, security is also still an issue, despite progress during the administrations of former President Alvaro Uribe.
But thanks to its strong potential, investment grade and solid economic policies of President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia is set to be a star for many more years.
About the Author: Joachim Bamrud is the executive editor of the Latin Trade Group and a former editor-in-chief of Latin Business Chronicle and Latin Trade magazine.