With the country’s estimated internet penetration rate at 58.1%1 and IT spending expected to reach a total value of US$530.4 million by 2018, Colombia’s ICT sector has great growth potential.
The government has actively promoted ICT to boost social and economic development. Under the Vive Digital programme, import tariffs on connectivity devices have been eliminated making it easier to access credit for such devices. The Ministry of Education has also implemented the Total Connection (Conexión Total) programme with an aim to connect Colombia’s educational institutions to the internet.
Colombia ranks 6th and 3rd in Americas and South America respectively for access to government services online2. In addition, Colombia shows strong performance in cyber security, with 74% of enterprises with a security policy.
Singapore companies can ride the growth of Colombia’s ICT sector by exporting solutions in e-government, security and mobility.
1: CIA World Factbook, 2016
2: 2016 UN E-Government survey
The infrastructure industry, forecasted to grow at 6% annually between 2014 and 2023, is one of Colombia's most promising sector. The Colombian government has made infrastructure a national priority, with a US$70 billion investment plan through 2035, including an ambitious Fourth Generation (4G) road infrastructure programme.
One key development is the Caribbean Diamond Project. It is overseen by FINDETER (Colombian Financial Institution for Development), Microsoft Corporation and Fundación Metrópoli (a Europe-headquartered international institution dedicated to research and institutional innovation on cities and regions), with the support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The Caribbean Diamond is a region with multiple “supercities” in the northern region. The massive project covers 26% of the country’s population. To increase the region’s competitiveness and improve its inhabitants’ quality of life, cities within this project will develop new sectors including energy, international commerce, knowledge-based industries, natural resource management, technology and tourism.
This project presents a wide range of opportunities for Singapore companies in master-planning, as well as port, water and industrial park development.
The Colombian energy sector is promising, with significant proven reserves and rising oil production. With vast swathes of the country unexplored, new oil regions are still waiting to be discovered.
The Colombian government held oil auctions in 2014, drawing a total of US$1.4 billion in investments. State oil company Ecopetrol was also partially privatised in 2007. Such reforms have successfully generated interest in Colombia's energy sector, with high levels of exploratory and development drilling.