ProColombia and Invest in Bogota bet on Spanish investment in Colombia

Date: 15 November, 2023
  • During a business meeting under the slogan “Strengthening the relationship with Colombia in strategic sectors”, some investment opinion leaders share concerns and important aspects of investment.
  • The event was opened by the President of ProColombia, Carmen Caballero; the Colombian Ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Ávila; and the First Vice-President of CEOE, Miguel Garrido.
  • Some Investment opportunities from Spanish companies interested in this market were presented.

Madrid, Spain. November 2023. The top representatives of ProColombia and Invest in Bogota committed to boosting and strengthening Spanish investment in Colombia, during a business meeting under the slogan: “Strengthening the relationship with Colombia in strategic sectors”, held at the headquarters of the Confederation.  This important event was opened by the President of ProColombia, Carmen Caballero; the First Vice-President of CEOE, Miguel Garrido; the Colombian Ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Avila; and the Director General of CEOE International and Permanent Secretary of CEIB, Narciso Casado, who introduced and moderated the event.

Also, ProColombia’s Vice President for Investment Promotion, Julio Puentes, identified the five main reasons to invest in this country and addressed the advantages and incentives for doing business in the region. In addition, the executive director of Invest in Bogota, Isabella Muñoz, presented investment opportunities for Spanish companies with interests in the Colombian capital in key sectors, such as IT industry, energy, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and circular economy, among others. She also reported on projects and public-private partnerships in strategic sectors in which Spanish companies can play a key role.

A future of growth and investment together

In his speech, the first vice-president of CEOE and president of CEIM, Miguel Garrido, said that “this forum is the culmination of an intense programme of meetings that we have held with ProColombia, with whom we have an excellent relationship based on a long history of joint activities”. In this regard, Garrido recalled the large portfolio of projects that the country has in terms of infrastructure, the impetus that the government wants to give to electric mobility, the interest in green hydrogen, and the importance given to sustainability, science, technology, and innovation. These are very important reasons, he said, for Spanish companies to continue investing not only in Bogota, but also in the rest of the country.

Garrido also took the opportunity to invite all those present to the 6th Ibero-American MSME Forum to be held on 11 and 12 December in Medellin, Colombia, which represents an enriching space for real public-private dialogue in support of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the region. “Let’s continue to join forces and row in the same direction, this is only the only way to build a better future, marked by development, growth and investment”, he concluded.

The strategy we have put in place in the country, said Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia, is very much in line with the reindustrialization policy promoted by the government, which prioritizes the attraction of sustainable, long-term, transformative, balanced and fair investment in society. In fact, he stressed that the slogan “Colombia, the country of beauty” is not only a communication and branding strategy but also a strategy for economic development. A roadmap that includes care for the environment and especially for people.

Therefore, she pointed out, companies wishing to invest in the region must be committed to sustainable development and people, Colombia’s strongest asset.

Caballero also said that, according to the World Bank, it is the third city in Latin America with the best facilities for doing business.  In addition, El Dorado is the leading airport for cargo movement in Latin America and is already the airport with the highest passenger mobility in the region. “Bogota is a city with very attractive attributes that make it a worthy capital of the country of beauty.”Added that ProColombia and Invest In Bogota are working hand in hand to ensure that these advantages are taken advantage of by entrepreneurs and companies interested in locating their investments in the capital.

The Colombian ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Ávila, emphasized that a great deal of activity is taking place with CEOE, as evidenced by the latest event at which the infrastructure plan that forms part of the government’s roadmap was explained. A plan that includes the renovation of airports, railways, ports, and a very significant investment. He also placed special emphasis on the boom in ecological, social, and business tourism, which is expected to develop even further over the next three years.

Bogota offers great opportunities in this matter, he noted, as well as being the capital of Latin America in terms of event production. This region will be the center of the country’s reindustrialization, helping to promote economic growth. “Let us be part of this engine of development that Colombia offers and that will be evident in the MSME Forum in Medellin next December,” he said.

In his welcome speech, the CEOE International CEO and permanent secretary of CEIB, Narciso Casado, said that the success, not only of Bogota, but of Colombia in general, lies not only in its competitive advantages but also in its talent and proximity, in a combination of constancy, character, warmth and commitment, which captivates investors and invites them to stay.

“We are going to work with Invest in Bogota and the rest of the institutions,” Casado pointed out and urged the use of the network of organizations that CEOE has and, of course, BusinessEurope (European employers’ organization). He also mentioned, as permanent secretary of CEIB, that they are working with SEGIB on the infrastructure and connectivity matters, with FIJE on talent, and that a Forum on Sustainable, Fair and Inclusive Tourism will be held in the first quarter 2024, among other activities.

Colombia, a sustainable investment destination

On the other hand, the Vice President of Investment Promotion, Julio Puentes, highlighted in his presentation the importance of collaborating and attracting investment. He said they are interested in the circularity of knowledge and not only in the transfer of technology. Colombia has great economic leadership, it is a country that is very committed to sustainable development, as well as being a very competitive export platform for the region and the world.  Also insists It is the third largest economy for doing business after Mexico and Brazil; and it is a country of regions, with diverse characteristics for different types of investment, and as such has a strong capital and a vibrant city-region. In this line, he reported that in Colombia there are 15 cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants and 27 cities with more than 250,000, in addition to having a young population that drives the domestic market and the workforce

Puentes insisted that the government is very committed to sustainable development and to “being a world power for life”, and to protecting and caring for the environment. In this regard, he reported that the goals that have been set are to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030, to achieve zero net deforestation by that year, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Puentes also mentioned that the country is a leader in energy transition, that it is developing tourism infrastructure for sustainable and inclusive development in the regions, and that it is trying to promote biodiversity as a reason to attract investment.

The vice-president of ProColombia highlighted the existence of important free trade zones, strong regional alliances, and a workforce characterized by its commitment and diverse training.  In addition, “for investments, there is a one-stop investment window and a showcase of opportunities”, he explained.

Bogota, an excellent gateway to Latin America

The Bogota region is strategically located in the center of the American continent and represents an excellent gateway to Latin America, considering that the city is connected to the world, thanks to the airport, which is the busiest in South America.

According to the executive director of Invest in Bogota, Isabella Muñoz, another of the region’s competitive advantages lies in its human talent and skilled workforce, given that three of the best universities in Latin America are in Bogota and that it has 35% of the country’s research centers and technicians and technologists.

“The region has been considered in 2023 as the third ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Latin America and emerging tech”, as indicated by various rankings.

She assured that there are 1,833 companies installed in Bogota and that approximately 100,230 companies were created only in 2022. “There are 738 foreign investment projects that have come to the city from 2018 to 2022, with the United States leading the way, followed by Spain. The country also has 18 free trade agreements in force with 67 countries and 15 double taxation agreements, he reported.

On the other hand, Muñoz also highlighted an important portfolio of infrastructure projects, specifically in water and sanitation, hospitals, road infrastructure, development, schools, public space, and bridges, among others. She mentioned projects that are transforming the city through mobility, such as the first metro line; also, the first project for the Integral implementation of hydrogen in transport in Latam with a pilot project of a bus that runs on hydrogen; the green corridor of the 7th; urban renewal through the Engativa hospital, a sports complex, and the Land Management Plan: Bogota Reverdece 2022-2035, among many others.

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