With its political stability, sound economic policies, a large internal market and low costs, Colombia has become an interesting market for foreign investors. The country signed a trade agreement with the EU in 2013, turning the EU into the second most important trading partner for Colombia. As country manager Erik Alarik mentions in the interview below, the government has initiated several structural reforms and investments in important sectors.
Central hub for Latin America
Colombia has an ideal geographical location between Central and South America, and functions as a connecting access point between numerous markets in the region. The government has recently launched an ambitious national development plan that offers significant opportunities for the Swedish industry. In the light of these reforms, Business Sweden has successfully supported business activities to promote Swedish companies in the most dynamic sectors such as mining, telecom, public transportation, infrastructure, healthcare and energy.
Colombia is ranked as one of the easiest countries in South America for doing business, but there are still a few challenges in terms of security and corruption. Companies may handle this by acquiring a good understanding of the regulatory framework, by partnering up with well-positioned players in the market, and by conducting a thorough market review before expanding.
How we can help
Business Sweden started its operations in Colombia in 2010. From our office in the capital Bogotá, we don’t only offer strategic advice and local support, but also cover the neighbouring markets Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela.
Erik AlarikCountry Manager Colombia
What are the main advantages for expansion in Colombia?
Colombia has one of the most promising macroeconomic markets in Latin America. The continuous stability of government policies and the independence of its economic bodies guarantee a fruitful environment for investing. The market size, a well-functioning infrastructure and the low production costs are also incentives for establishing a business in Colombia. New anti-corruption reforms will also further improve the climate for doing business.
What are the risks and challenges companies may face in Colombia?
Some of the main challenges are related to security, mainly in remote rural areas. Other challenges are connected to the corruption practices as well as the complex tax system and slow decision-processes.
Are there any cultural aspects to consider?
Communication in Colombia is considered indirect and subtle, and time management is more relaxed compared to Swedish standards. Business negotiations happen in a more informal way, but demand continuous, local follow-up. Combined with an overall low level of English speakers, these aspects clearly show the importance of finding the right local partner to establish a valuable network and build a successful business.