The global crisis that shook many of the world’s biggest economies in 2007 and 2008 had less of an effect on Colombia, which had learned its lesson earlier, during a crisis in the 1990s. The country’s financial system is well regulated and stayed strong during the recent difficulties, and the central bank used a steady hand when it set interest rate policy to help control growth.
“Two major factors have contributed to the financial health of Colombia: a strongly anti-cyclical monetary policy and a sound financial system thanks to the lesson learned in the crisis of the late 90s,” says Jose Dario Uribe, manager of the central bank, or Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
That situation has made Colombia an ideal place for investors seeking opportunities. The country was ranked 39th in the World Bank’s 2011 edition of its Doing Business survey, which ranks 183 countries based on a series of criteria. The area where Colombia ranked highest in the survey was ‘protecting investors,’ where it was ranked fifth overall.
“I’d encourage all American companies to come and invest because there are opportunities in Colombia in nearly every field,” says Juan Pablo Jimeno, country manager at CB&I Colombia, one of the world’s leading engineering, procurement and construction firms.
Colombia’s gross domestic product has had solid growth in recent years, as have its banks, making the financial sector an area with strong potential for outside investors. One indicator of the country’s financial stability is that Standard & Poor’s raised Colombia’s credit rating to investment grade earlier this year.