Foreign Investment: making a difference in the midst of the crisis
Beyond the reinvention and new order predicted by many experts, the challenges that the world economy present today in terms of employment generation, conservation of the business network, fixed capital and social security formation, have tested the ability that both countries and regions have to readjust and ensure the stability of their supply chains.
The “new reality”, caused by the coronavirus, has revalidated the resilience factor as a competitive advantage for investors seeking new directions of expansion or productive relocation. In this sense, the Colombian context has also shown a great capacity for adaptation in the midst of the global crisis, with the implementation of promotion strategies and alternatives to captivate foreign businessmen and ensure the integral support to companies already installed in its different regions, in order to maintain the social and economic stability in the country.
Although the attraction of productive capital at the global level has been threatened by the economic slowdown, our country and its regions continue to move forward and remain the target of investors from all over the world. The actions to attract and stay in touch with foreign investors have lived up to the challenge posed by the global landscape; a mission in which the leadership of ProColombia -national entity- and of the regional agencies of investment promotion in Colombia, as Invest Pacific, becomes decisive.
Although organizations such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development -UNCTAD- cautioned against a fall of up to 30%-40% in global foreign investment, experts claim that, while all countries will suffer, along with Chile and Peru, Colombia is one of the best prepared to deal with this crisis and lead the economic recovery in Latin America.
Thus the foreign investment is the ideal opportunity to reactivate the development of the country and its regions. The mandate of the regional agencies of investment promotion should be to protect the investor’s confidence and provide support to foreign companies already present in the region; the multinationals are very important for the generation of new sources of employment, knowledge transfer, the sophistication of our productive apparatus and the diversification of our export basket.
In the case of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, so far this year, four investment projects in the department haven been established or confirmed with support from Invest Pacific. Our region, characterized by being the cradle of multinationals in Colombia, concentrates today all its efforts on maintaining an adequate and reliable framework for the arrival of foreign capital; the current situation shows us that the operation of the companies established in el Valle, as well as the arrival of new projects, will play a leading role in the path of the country’s economic recovery.
In fact, according to a study of the Regional Commission of Competitiveness and Invest Pacific, the 47.7% of exports of Valle del Cauca (Colombia) are generated by these multinationals present in the region. Just the multinationals with mercantile registry in the chambers of commerce of the region – close to 80- generate an income that represents the 11.4% of GDP of the department; this without counting the contribution of large multinationals operating in the region, but that due to corporate guidelines report their sales in Bogota or another part of the country.
Almost 300 foreign-capital companies have arrived to our region during its 80 years of industrialization, process initiated in 1940 with the arrival of Ingredion. Despite the strong movement of corporate reorganization that many multinationals experienced between 2000 and 2015, the region continues with the presence of more than 180 multinationals and that number increases year after year.
For this reason, maintaining a moderate analysis of global business, enhancing our value proposition and identifying the aggregate values of our strategic sectors, at the end of this year we hope to ensure the arrival of at least 13 foreign direct investment projects, which represents the generation of 1,300 new jobs in the region. According to this goal, sectors such as agriculture – with hass avocado and medicinal cannabis projects-, fulfillment centers, health, home and personal care; metallurgical, IT & Software, Spanish and English contact centers, and technological services for the health industry, are the ones called to mark out this investment growth.
We must coordinate our actions under a driver premise: little by little, foreign companies will resume their investment plans and many of them will look to our city-region and our port in search of new horizons to conquer. Balancing the health, social and economic effects that the post- coronavirus scenario may propose, these last months have shown that the region has a resilient environment and conditions necessary to respond to complex events, prepared for the arrival of new investments that put Valle del Cauca and Colombia at the forefront of the global economic recovery.
Alejandro Ossa Cárdenas
Executive Director of Invest Pacific