People often ask me: “What the hell are you doing in Colombia?” Isn’t that place dangerous? Colombia is like any other country. If you show up in the wrong place looking for trouble, I’m sure you can find it. I have been living here now full time for the last 8 months and I have not even remotely felt in danger. Was it a dangerous place 25 years ago? YES, but 25 years is a long time. For those of you that don’t know this, Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993 and the era of cartel wars are a thing of the past here. Today Colombia is investing billions into the development of infrastructure and business development. The people here are hungry to be something great. They remind me of my grandparent’s generation…“The Greatest Generation”. When you visit here, you will see highways being built, tunnels being dug, new port developments, office buildings going up and airports being expanded…. sound familiar? It should, it’s exactly what the USA did in the 1950’s. In case you don’t remember or you weren’t born yet, let me show you what happened afterwards:
Colombia has laid out a plan to spend $55 Billion annually on infrastructure with a 6% increase until 2023. That’s 14% of GDP! That may not sound like a lot, but for a country that has the land mass 11% of the USA, it’s significant. The 4G plan unveiled by President Santos in 2013, involves 47 projects spanning 8,000 kilometers of roadway and 3,500 kilometers of four-lane highways as well as expansion of ports and railways, all of which are to be completed by the end of the decade.
Although, I’d love to tell you I pioneered idea that Colombia is the next great opportunity in emerging markets, I didn’t. Many have come before me and many more are on their way. For those of you that are from the great state of Alabama, you may have heard of the Drummond Coal Company. In the 80’s, CEO-Gary Neil Drummond, decided it was time for the company to diversify their operations. In a short time, they found an incredible seam of shallow surface coal in the North Eastern plains of Colombia. Today the majority of Drummond production comes from Colombia. I can’t imagine the amount of funny looks Mr. Drummond when announced the move to Colombia. Mr. Drummond’s vision and foresight made him a billionaire. Coal production might be a controversial issue, but no one can deny this was a brilliant business move and one that ultimately saved the company’s future.
Thinking differently can be the difference between success and failure. If you step outside the box…the world is full of opportunities.
Don’t be late to the party! Over the last year and a half, the Colombian Peso dropped almost 50% in value against the dollar. It’s a black Friday type sale right now! In January of this year, the exchange rate hit an all time low of 3400 to 1 against the dollar. It has since rallied back to around 3000 to 1. These types of opportunities don’t last forever, so I highly encourage you all to visit and see for yourself what’s happening here. Farmfolio is conducting a series of investor expeditions over the next several months, if you are an accredited investor and interested in Colombia, contact us at [email protected] or if you would like to be added our newsletter email [email protected].