Colombia may see as much as $16 billion in foreign direct investment this year, up from nearly $15 billion last year, Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said on Thursday.
Latin America’s No. 4 oil producer has seen a boom in investment, especially in the oil and mining sectors, since a 2002 U.S.-backed security crackdown made many areas in the country safer for investors.
“I’d say we’re going to exceed $16 billion at the end of December this year and hopefully we’ll reach this figure for the good of the Colombian economy,” Diaz-Granados said during a government event.
Exports may rise to $66 billion in 2012 from around $55 billion last year thanks to a free trade deal with the United States that should enter into effect in the second half of the year, he said.
Diaz-Granados also said that free trade deals should push more exports to Chile, Central America and Canada this year.
Increased security in Colombia has spurred business and consumer confidence by making it safer for industries to operate and for Colombians to travel cross-country, build second homes and go out to restaurants.
The country’s central bank expects economic growth last year was likely to have been above 5.5 percent, and for this year it sees 4 to 6 percent expansion.
Resource-rich countries like Colombia have seen their economies expand briskly in recent years thanks in part to high commodity prices while Europe and the United States have struggled to recover from the global crisis of a few years ago.