|Population||50.91 million (2020)|
|State system||presidential republic|
|Head of State||Ivan Duque Marquez|
|Head of government||Ivan Duque Marquez|
|Currency name||Colombian peso (COP)|
|Time shift||-6 hours (in summer -7 hours)|
|Nominal GDP (billion USD)||316.3|
|Economic growth (%)||4.4|
Colombia is the most populous Spanish-speaking country on the South American continent. Since achieving its independence in 1819, the country has undergone a turbulent political development that culminated in internal armed conflict in the second half of the 20th century and ended with the conclusion of peace agreements between the government and guerrilla groups in 2016.
It is a democratic republic with a bicameral parliament. The president is the head of state and also heads the government. He is elected for a four-year term without the possibility of reappointment. The population of Colombia is ethnically quite diverse.
It is the result of the historical mixing of Spanish colonists, native Indians, populations forcibly brought from Africa, and immigrants from Europe and the Middle East who arrived in the 20th century. The largest group consists of the population of European origin and mestizos (88%), followed by Afro-Colombians (6.68%) and the indigenous Indian population (4.31%).
Colombia is the fourth largest Latin American economy with long-term above-average GDP growth within its region. In 2020, the country was hit hard by the pandemic and the GDP fell by -6.9.%. In 2021, the government expects growth of up to over 5%. However, it will largely depend on the success of the vaccination campaign, the management of the public debt, the development of the Venezuelan refugee crisis and the maintenance of fragile social peace.
Structurally, the Colombian economy is still heavily dependent on the export of raw agricultural products, oil and coal.
The country’s transition to low-emission energy provides opportunities for Czech companies. Colombia produces a large part of its electricity from classic large hydroelectric plants, but it also massively supports the construction of municipal water sources and energy from the sun and wind. Large investments are going into the water and waste industry. The healthcare sector is also interesting in the long term, where not only a large volume of public funds goes, but its attractiveness is increased by the presence of capital-strong private entities that are profiled within the so-called medical tourism.
Colombia is a remote and challenging market that requires a large initial investment, knowledge of Spanish and a permanent personal presence preferably through a trusted local representative. During negotiations, Czech entrepreneurs encounter a number of cultural differences, such as different perceptions of time, limited knowledge of English, the importance of personal chemistry when negotiating with business partners.
Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The Republic of Colombia has had a history of violent political clashes between liberals and conservatives since the 19th century. A partial truce and power-sharing between the two groups in the mid-20th century created the foundation for the emergence of guerilla resistance groups outside the country’s political system. The so-called internal armed conflict emerged from the clash of these groups with state power, which was also intertwined with the emergence of the global organized cocaine trade, in which Colombia played a prominent role. Check diseaseslearning to learn more about Colombia political system.
The internal armed conflict was only ended with the conclusion of peace agreements in 2016. This event, together with the reduction of violence perpetrated by drug cartels, led to the fact that the security situation in the country has improved significantly in recent years.
Colombia is a democratic republic with a presidential system. The president represents the state externally and is also the head of the executive. The term of office is for four years without the possibility of re-election. The bicameral Congress consists of the Senate, which has 108 members, and the House of Representatives, which has 172 directly elected members with four-year terms.
In April 2021, President Duque’s government presented a tax reform project. which is absolutely key to the sustainability of public finances. However, the long-term frustrated and radicalized society rejected the reform and took to the streets. Colombia is currently undergoing a serious internal political dispute, accompanied by violence and loss of life.
Due to street pressure, President Duque decided to withdraw the tax reform proposal, dismiss the Minister of Finance and the Foreign Minister, and achieve a broad social consensus on the new reform project. The term of office of the current administration of the Democratic Center party should expire in August 2022. Thus, a sharp election campaign is underway in the country against the background of stormy social events.
Foreign policy of the country
Colombia’s foreign policy priorities are relations with the USA, deepening cooperation with members of the Pacific Alliance (Mexico, Chile and Peru), the EU, Canada and the countries of Southeast Asia, active participation in the Lima Group and solving the Venezuelan crisis through democratic means, the defense of human rights in the region and on a global scale, strengthening the role of the Organization of American States, fighting international terrorism and climate change. Check themotorcyclers for Colombia defense and foreign policy.
With more than 50 million inhabitants, Colombia is the third least populated country in Latin America. Rapid population growth in the second half of the 20th century was replaced by more sustainable annual growth of less than 1%. Colombia is one of the most urbanized countries in Latin America, with almost 80% of the population living in cities. Almost 8 million people live in the capital, Bogota, and there are 4 cities in the country with more than 1 million.
The ethnic composition of Colombia is very diverse. It is the result of the historical mixing of Spanish colonists, native Indians, populations forcibly brought from Africa, and immigrants from Europe and the Middle East who arrived in the 20th century. The largest group consists of the population of European origin and mestizos (88%), followed by Afro-Colombians (6.68%) and the indigenous Indian population (4.31%).
The black population is more significantly concentrated on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, while Indians make up a large part of the population in the southwest of the country, in the department of La Guajira near the border with Venezuela, and further in the sparsely populated areas of the Amazon. In the economic life of the country, it is worth mentioning the significant influence of Lebanese immigrants, who came to the country in large numbers at the beginning of the 20th century.
Complex geographical conditions and diverse climates mean that there are significant cultural differences across regions in Colombia. Population density is distributed very unevenly within the country. The relatively densely populated center and west of the country contrasts with the sparsely populated areas of the so-called llanos and Amazonia inland. With a GINI index of 54%, Colombia belongs to the countries with the greatest social inequalities in the world. The pandemic has exacerbated the uneven distribution of wealth in the country, with the number of people living below the poverty line rising to 42%.