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Carmen Cecilia Caballero Villa

ANGOLA - Economy

Carmen Cecilia Caballero Villa

President, ProColombia

Bio

An international affairs expert, entrepreneur, and senior executive, Carmen Cecilia Caballero Villa is President of ProColombia. For seven years, she was one of Colombia’s diplomats in Spain, as the Consul General in Seville. She is recognized for her participation in shareholders’ meetings and as secretary and president of the Consular Corps of Seville. As a businesswoman, she created and spent seven years managing Casa Imperial, a five-star hotel located in Seville’s historic center. She has worked as an adviser to the Mayor’s Office of Santa Marta and was also involved in the development of the 2012 Investment Promotion Agency for Santa Marta and the Region. Caballero is a dentist with a degree from the Universidad Metropolitana in Barranquilla. In 2010, she received the Gran Cruz de Bastidas, an award for those who have excelled in their economic and social work in the department of Magdalena.

"ProColombia plays a transcendental role in several action areas."
The government agency responsible for attracting FDI and internationally promoting exports, tourism, and the country brand, ProColombia works to attract more investment and establish Colombia as a sustainable business hub in Latin America.
Colombia’s forecasted growth is set at around 2% for 2023, a decline after the bounce back following the pandemic. How would you characterize ProColombia’s role in Colombia’s overall economy?

ProColombia plays a transcendental role in several action areas. First, I would highlight our work in promoting Colombia, which has created a change in the collective global mindset and projected the image of a country in transformation. Colombia strives to be seen as a world power for life, focusing on sustainability while incorporating technical progress, adapting technology, consolidating value chains, developing SMEs, and working on capacity building efforts. This arises from being an economy open to foreign investment, which supports us in transforming Colombia. In addition to working on positioning Colombia, ProColombia—led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism—promotes non-mining and non-energy exports, working hard to open markets and provide support in tailoring what Colombia has to offer. We promote synergies by helping producers and service providers recognize what is in demand around the world. In terms of investment, ProColombia facilitates 70% of the non-mining non-energy FDI that enters the country. Today, we are firmly committed to attracting capital and projects to push for Colombia’s reindustrialization through productive investments, quality jobs, and the integration of Colombia’s most remote regions. And in the area of tourism, ProColombia strives to make Colombia a sustainable, attractive, and competitive destination for more international travelers and tourists—be it for a vacation, convention, or business trip. Currently, the tourism segment brings in the second-largest amount of foreign revenue to Colombia.

Part of ProColombia’s objectives include strengthening international relations that bring Colombia closer to new business opportunities. Where are you looking to bring new opportunities?

Our goal is to strengthen regional trade under the leadership of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism. Organizations such as Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have published recent studies that emphasize the importance and growth potential of intraregional trade. According to these entities, exports among their member countries increased between 22% and 25% in 2022. In this regard, ECLAC indicated that the future of the manufacturing export sector is linked to the revitalization of intraregional trade, especially in South America. The analysis insists that a broad and stable market needs to be created, combining efficient scale with the minimization of transaction costs associated with cross-border productive integration. Likewise, the Latin American project as a whole has demonstrated its desire to accelerate economic integration by having a common currency or including new stakeholders—such as Ecuador—in a major trade bloc similar to the Pacific Alliance. ProColombia supports the country’s energy transition and the strengthening of intraregional trade among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, where Colombia is the most powerful geoeconomic player.

How would you characterize sustainable FDI?

First, it means a government-issued mandate; second, it means a commitment to Colombia, the planet, and future generations. It is a conviction that is realized through comprehensive and sustainable development in Colombia. This contributes to economic growth, reducing inequality, gender equity, and finally, to building lasting peace and positioning Colombia as a world power for life. This is consolidated by implementing the Investment for Sustainable Development strategy that provides a roadmap for establishing Colombia as a sustainable business center in Latin America. We are implementing a strategy to attract investment for sustainable development, which aims to attract projects with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) components—contributing to the energy transition toward increasingly clean energy—as well as impact investments that generate financial returns while simultaneously and significantly benefiting the most vulnerable populations and regions as well as meeting pressing social and environmental needs.

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