A BOOMING ECONOMY
Colombia has a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to the United States. The main farming activities of Colombia are coffee, dairy, sugar, bananas, flowers, cotton and meat.
Colombia has been an oil-exporting nation for a very long time, with new exploration projects and oil discoveries and revenues at an all-time high. Colombia also possesses one of the biggest coal reserves in the world. Additionally, Colombia also posses 90% of the world’s emeralds and possess one of the biggest platinum and gold reserves in the world.
Colombia's consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years have bolstered its ability to face external shocks. Real GDP has grown more than 4% per year for the past three years, continuing almost a decade of strong economic performance. All three major ratings agencies have upgraded Colombia's government debt to investment grade.
According to the Economist, amongst the 20 most important economies of the world, Colombia will have the sixth major growth within the next five years, with an annual GDP growth rate of 4.6%. The five countries ahead of Colombia in this list are China, India, Nigeria, Vietnam and Indonesia. Colombia can benefit from a high and young population which will attract foreign investment (17,000 millions of USD last year).
On top of that, Colombia can count on an excellent system of both private and intellectual property and on a succesful comercial integration within the rest of the world. The country has trade agreements with more than 50 countries, including the Free Trade Agreement recently signed with the USA.
Colombia also benefits from signifcant improvements in terms of security and the development of the peace process.
According to JP Morgan, Colombia is and will be the second most appealing country for investment in Latin America over the next three years. Additionally, in a comparison of 183 countries, the World Bank (Doing Business 2011) described Colombia as the fifth country in the world and the first in Latin America in protecting investors.
Colombia has the most productive labor force in South America (PriceWaterHouseCooper) and its labor regulations are the least obstructive to business activities in the region (IMD). In fact, some economists have included it in a new class of growing economies – CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa, which are characterized by their dynamism and high prospects for growth in the coming decades.