Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America, approximately the same size as France, Spain and Portugal combined. It is the longest and most stable democracy in South America. Colombia has a population of about 42 million people who live in 32 Departments, or provinces. The country has a modern infrastructure with three large seaports, a number of airports, including five international ones and over 128,000 km of modern highways. It is one of the oldest democracies in South America with a presidential system of government.
Colombia is a constitutional republic bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil, to the south by Ecuador and Peru, to the north by the Caribbean Sea (home to 20% of the population and the location of the major port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena), to the northwest by Panama and to the west by the Pacific Ocean (the principal Pacific port is Buenaventura).
An unprecedented mining and oil boom is taking place in Colombia because of:
- Significant improvement in the security situation
- The economic stability of the country
- Recent policy reforms - cutting capital controls, implementing legal stability contracts
- A highly-qualified Colombian workforce
- Rising commodity prices
- Investment incentives
- Diversification of the export base – new bilateral investment treaties and trade agreements
- Modernized free trade zone mechanism
The World Bank estimated the country's 2008 GDP at $244 billion, almost triple the figure from five years earlier.
In 2009 Colombia attracted US$8.6 billion gross foreign direct investment (FDI) with a full 80% going to petroleum and mining. Investment in the mining sector nearly doubled to US$3.1 billion.
In 2010, the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (also known as the BVC, the principal stock exchange of Colombia) has surged more than 35%. One of the reasons for the spectacular growth could be Colombian pension funds have a lot of money to deploy and they want to deploy it in their own country.
Colombia's foreign trade ministry says it expects Colombia to attract US$10 billion in foreign investment in 2010. The government, under new President Juan Manuel Santos, is forecasting a healthy jump in gross domestic product this year – 4.5%.
The country's 12-month running inflation rate is nearly 2% and it's very likely that the central bank will be able to maintain its current benchmark lending rate of 3%.
A World Bank "Doing Business" report said that "Colombia has been one of the top 10 reforming economies for three consecutive years: 2008, 2009 and 2010." Colombia's international ranking has improved by 42 positions from 2007 to 2010.