Infrastructure in Colombia
- In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index Colombia was placed 66 out of 140 economies in 2017, 60 in 2018. However, in the most recent rating in 2019 Colombia placed 57. Colombia’s rise in the rankings reflects recent advances in infrastructure, stability, and institutional development. However, Columbia’s infrastructure is still behind Chile, which is the leading country in this area in Latin America.
- Therefore, with the signing of the Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016, Colombia prioritized infrastructure development. This effort includes 101 road projects, 52 highway projects, 5 railway projects, 8 flood control projects. Moreover, 31 airport projects, and numerous dredging projects. In 2016, the value established for this ambitious initiative was USD 2.7 billion equivalent to 1.3% of Colombia’s GDP.However, the Plan is divided into two major programs known as fourth generation infrastructure projects (4G) and fifth generation infrastructure projects (5G).
The previous Railway Master Plan goal was to modernize and expand cargo and passenger railway routes. The Plan aimed to cut 26% of the country’s logistical expenditures in order to boost production and reduce pollution. Moreover, railway construction is planned for the greater Bogota and Medellin districts. Bogota intends to develop the Cundinamarca region by connecting the city and rural areas with metro lines and commuter trains. Similarly, Medellin hopes to boost the competitiveness of the Antioquia Department by connecting the city’s distribution facilities to seaports.
Airports in Colombia are run via concession agreements. The Duque Administration announced airport repairs in Cali, Neiva, and Choco worth USD 372 billion, Cartagena with USD 742 billion, and San Andres worth USD 78 million.
The project has been presented to the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI). The proposal is currently at the feasibility stage; once approved by ANI, Odinsa will develop it. The airport will be located in Bayunca, a Cartagena district. Moreover, it will be able to handle 8 million people per year and 35 airplane operations per hour.
Colombia now has eight port locations in the Pacific and Caribbean region. The ports of Barranquilla and Cartagena hope to strengthen their competitiveness by reducing the volume of silt by developing water projects to restore the navigability of the Magdalena River and the Dique Channel.
Puerto Antioquia is the country’s newest seaport development. The port is located near the Panama border on the Caribbean coast in the Uraba Gulf region. Puerto Antioquia will be able to handle 1.15 million tons of cargo per year. Moreover, 3 million tons of bulk freight, and 60,000 automobiles. Futhermore, the port will be the primary export route for bananas and fruits to the US and European markets. Local banana enterprises, a French millionaire, and a Colombian businessman are the primary investors in Puerto Antioquia. The port investment is USD 650 million. Puerto Antioquia is projected to open in 2025.
Colombia is on the right track with its efforts to improve infrastructure. However, there is still much to be done to have a competitive infrastructure with industrialized countries. Nevertheless, the infrastructure has greatly improved. Nonetheless, upgrading and maintaining infrastructure can help lower the costs and hazards of conducting business in Colombia. Futhermore, it makes it more appealing to foreign investors. Moreover, improved infrastructure may boost productivity and efficiency, allowing foreign investors to maximize profits and compete on a global scale. In addition, a good infrastructure reputation can boost Colombia’s image and credibility as a stable and reliable destination to do business, thereby attracting additional foreign investment.