Economic, political and social reforms undertaken by the Colombian government during the last decade have positioned the country as one of the most promising and dynamic emerging markets in the world. According to the World Bank Group, Colombia ranks favorably against other South American countries as a place to do business, placing higher than Peru, Argentina, Equador and Brazil. Credit terms and regulations are favorable, and banking regulations are friendly to business investors. In the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report[i], Colombia ranked 53 out of 190 countries, just behind Mexico, Chile, and Peru.
Colombia’s economy has fared well over the last decade, despite challenges presented by a global economic downturn, and instability in oil prices. Improved security and monetary, fiscal and financial frameworks have stabilized and improved the business climate. With a population of almost 50 million, incentives for new employment, favorable income taxation, an unemployment rate of 9.4%, a skilled workforce, managerial-level employees who are often bilingual, and low employment costs, Colombia is an attractive opportunity for any labor-intensive business.
Oil and mining, tourism, banking, investment, agriculture, bio-ethanol and a burgeoning pharmaceutical industry all are attractive sectors for foreign investment. Recent improvements in Colombia’s medicinal cannabis laws make it a highly attractive sector for foreign investment. The “Colombia Siembra” program encourages the production of food staples with incentives for investments in machinery, irrigation, and technology.
Politically and financially stable, Colombia is one of the most active Latin American countries in the Mergers & Acquisitions Market (only behind Mexico and Argentina); and is surpassed only by Brazil as the top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in Latin America. According to the World Bank, Colombia is currently ranked as the top Latin American country in investment protection. A well-placed geographical location makes Colombia an excellent location as a dispatch and shipping center for Central America, North America and Europe.
The challenges in investing in Colombia include piracy and counterfeit products, and there are areas in the country that remain somewhat unstable. Security in Colombia has improved dramatically however. Kidnappings since the year 2000 record year mainly because of an aggressive and effective military offensive targeting leftist rebel groups. Colombia now has a much lower kidnapping rate than many Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil. Colombia has also experienced a significant decrease in terrorist activity since 2016, due to a definitive bilateral cease-fire between government forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The southwestern and northeastern parts of the country which border with Ecuador and Venezuela can be dangerous. Generally, if you use your common sense, and stay within the tourist regions, you should be as safe in Colombia as you would be in any other South or Central American country.
John Nemanic is a successful business executive, entrepreneur and investor who currently holds investments in Colombia, including medicinal cannabis production. John is seeking high-return opportunities, and is available to serve as a director for high-quality technology, healthcare and life sciences firms. If you are seeking a highly experienced operator, a dynamic leader who understands the growth cycles of start-ups, and how to develop exit strategies, contact him through private messaging.