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Colombia: Land of investment possibilities

Article - February 12, 2014
With the South American nation drawing attention to itself for the past few years as a result of its optimal investment conditions and huge potential for development, the Colombian Stock Exchange is one of the country’s great promises
JUAN PABLO CORDOBA, PRESIDENT OF THE BOLSA DE VALORES DE COLOMBIA
Colombia’s economy has been growing in the past few years: it has reached a 4 percent growing rate and has started to replicate the economic measures of Chile, which has been the example of success in the region. 
 
But along with this growth, expectations and promising measures are rising. Juan Pablo Cordoba, President of the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (Colombia Stock Exchange), explains that one of the most important challenges Colombia finds ahead is increasing that growth from a 4 percent rate to 6 percent, and not only reaching this target but maintaining it for at least a decade. “This would actually reduce poverty, expand the middle class and improve the distribution of wealth in the country,” Cordoba says.  
 
But this optimistic situation is being challenged by the world’s economic condition. All the emerging markets are under a huge pressure to continue with their growth and to keep on top of the difficulties that many are experiencing today. 
 
According to Mr. Córdoba, Colombia has performed well, and in the case of the fixed investment securities, the interest rates have been significantly corrected giving the country a much more realistic position. 
 
“In terms of liquidity and local monetary conditions Colombia is still enjoying a favorable environment and the low interest rates are very positive for investment. Colombia is probably the country with the highest rate of investment as a percentage of the GDP” stresses Mr. Córdoba. And this is what the monetary measures have been focused on, generating a more prepared ground for investment.
 
As a proof of this effort, on June of 2011 Colombia launched the first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) in their history. With the purpose of developing the capital market of the country, a big effort to improve the technology and complete the infrastructure of the market was put into work. This ETF exceeded $1billion in assets between national and international investors. In addition to this: “We also started running e-trading on 2009. Even though it started at a slow pace, brokers are investing in new technologies which will make it easier for investors to access the market,” continues the president of the stock exchange. 
 
While Colombia received more than $15billion through foreign direct investment last year, directly related to this achievement was an initiative led by Mr. Mr. Córdoba called “Colombia Inside-Out” which has helped to put Colombia in the eyes of investors all over the world.
 
As the leader of this project, the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia could be the perfect channel to make the idea tangible. Particularly in infrastructure, there could be the need to handle between $40-60million and the capital markets would make the perfect tool to allow this process.
 
“We want to have a lot of investors, but we also want for them to be educated, well informed and responsible and conscious about what they are doing in our country”. 

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