Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America, approximately the same size as France, Spain and Portugal combined. It has a population of about 42 million people who live in 32 Departments, or Provinces. The country has a modern infrastructure with three large seaports, a number of airports, including five international ones and over 128,000 km of modern highways. It is one of the oldest democracies in South America with a presidential system of government. The Executive branch of government consists of the President of the Republic, who is elected every four years, and sixteen cabinet members, appointed by the President. The Legislature is a two-chamber system with a Senate of 102 members and a House of Representatives with 165 members. Both chambers are elected by direct popular vote for four year terms. The Judiciary is administratively and financially independent.
Historically Colombia was one of the largest gold producers in the world; however production and foreign investment decreased when guerrilla groups, such as the FARC, and drug cartels caused violence and insecurity in the country. Since 2002, when Alvaro Uribe was elected President, the situation has improved significantly. President Uribe and the current President Juan Manuel Santos have an aggressive campaign against the FARC and the drug trade, as well as a number of economic reform bills have reduced the levels of violence and had a positive impact on Colombia's economy, with the result that a number of international mining companies have invested in the country.
Source: Medoro Resources
Colombia, an improved business environment:
According to the Nominal GDP, Colombia is the 36th greatest economy in the world and 5th in Latin America. The GDP growth has remained constant over the last seventy years and the country has never failed to fulfill its international financial obligations.
According to The World Bank, Colombia is the third most "business friendly" country in Latin America and the first country in Latin America that best protects investors and its rank fifth worldwide.
Agencies examining the economy showed improvement in Colombia's confidence index. For 2008, S&P gave Colombia a BB+ rating in regards to its long term foreign currency debt.
Foreign Direct Investment is four times greater than six years ago, growing from US$ 1,720 million in 2003 to US$ 7,201 million in 2009. International companies including SAB Miller, Drummond, Pacific Rubiales, Votorantim, Phillip Morris, GE Money were among the many to invest in multimillion dollar projects in Colombia.Source: Colombian Government Trade Commission to Canada
Colombia, a summary:
- Mature democratic government which is pro-investment and development and with 70% government approval rating 1
- The strong government measures over the last eight years have significantly improved personal safety and security.
- The country has an independent and sophisticated legal system, as well as a modern and well established Mining Law.
- Very prospective geologically and a proven gold producer having been one of the world's largest producers of gold until 1937.
- Qualified and experienced mining personnel are readily available. The healthcare and education systems are strong, with a literacy rate of 93%.
- Colombia has well developed infrastructure with access to roads, water, power and skilled labour.
- The environmental approval system is clear.
- The fiscal regime in Colombia is stable.
- The country has a history and understanding of mining.
- 5th largest economy in Latin America 2 and the steadiest GDP growth in Latin America 1970-2007 (WB)
- Most secure Latin American country to do business (WB) 3
- Lowest average inflation in Latin America 1998-2008 (DANE)
- FDI increased 400% 2002-2008 (Central Bank) as a result of having the 2nd best investor protection plan in Latin America (Forbes).
- 4th largest total market capitalization in Latin America
- US$8.8 billion infrastructure investment through 2012
2. Proexport Colombia;
3. World Bank, Doing Business 2010 and 2011 Report