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Colombia's Golden Triangle—Biodiverse and Market-friendly

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Colombia’s Golden Triangle—which encompasses the area between Bogotá, Medellin and Cali—is harnessing its potential as an area of opportunity for natural ingredients and cosmetics production. Efforts of behalf of the Colombian government, supported by President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, as well as organizational alliances and funding from foundations and foreign investment, are contributing to educational advancement, employment, health care, and infrastructure—transforming both the country and foreign perceptions of it.

With the support of Colombia’s government trade bureau (Proexport), Invest in Bogotá, Invest Pacific, and numerous regional universities, research centers and indigenous community partnerships, the country continues to grow economically, particularly through its investments in industry, technology, intellectual capital and natural habitats.

Developing Colombia’s diverse natural resources, accessible location, modern transportation and strategic port in Buenaventura has enhanced the region’s appeal to a range of multinational corporations, as well as helped spur the development of small, independent companies. Clearly, the goal for the Golden Triangle region is to encourage investment in distribution centers, production facilities, and R&D in natural ingredients, a strong suit of the region.

With a workforce of more than four million people (88% of which are between 15 and 44), 115 universities and 1,361 multinational corporations, Bogotá is poised for economic growth. With its location—just five hours from New York, Mexico City and São Paolo—companies in Bogotá have access to the global market, as well as Colombia’s own $321 billion consumer market. A stable economy, a population of 7.4 million and a GDP of $70.3 billion support the region’s growth, and a diverse economy, with exports, primarily of chemical products and agriculture, continuing to sustain its development.

According to Jaime Mauricio Concha Prada, executive director, the Counsel of Latin American Cosmetics Industries Associations (CASIC), “Colombia has high reserves, low inflation, an international reputation that is changing, and is a top performer in the region in recent years. It is being positioned as an export platform with 11 free trade agreements and an additional 22 free trade agreements being negotiated in 2012.”