08:00 — 10:00
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 128 Albert Street, Auckland
On November 1st The Agency of Cooperation and Investment of Medellín (ACI Medellín) and the Consulate of Colombia in Auckland, with the support of the Latin America New Zealand Business Council, organised a presentation about business opportunities in Medellín, Colombia.
Medellín is the capital of the department of Antioquia. It is the second-largest city in Colombia, by population and industrial activities. The city has become a world model and example for social improvement and integration. From having the title of “The most dangerous city in the world” as a consequence of years of violence related mostly to the drug cartels, Medellín has changed in the last twenty years and now is one of the most innovative cities in the world and an economic center in Colombia.
The positive changes for Medellín are based on long term programmes, with an important financial component, urbanization policies, alongside relevant improvements in social conditions for the local population. As a consequence of this strategies Medellin has been named as the winner of the biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which is awarded by the Singapore government, and also received a Special Mention City of the 2014 prize.
After a welcome from LANZBC’s Treasurer Kevin Murray, and the introduction by the Colombian Consul, Juan Carlos Cadena, ACI Medellín’s Executive Director Sergio Escobar made a presentation about the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín (ACI), and the challenges and benefits for local and international companies interested in the city and the region.
Key points from the address were:
- The city needed to change from being one of the worlds most dangerous cities if it was to have a meaningful future
- Outside help was sought but with no response the city itself found a way of uniting all parties across various political affiliations focused on common goals and set about finding its own solutions
- The needs of the people were sought to define what a liveable city meant for them
- Innovative solutions were found to integrate the mountainous parts of the city with the rest of the city to make them more accessable and connected.
- Education requirements were addressed with multiple universities being built and air routes extended via the cities 2 airports opening up Medellín with better access to other Latin American cities and the rest of the world.
- The result being a city which now demonstrates above average growth in its economy and attracts investment from a significant number of global companies and is recognized globally for its achievements.
After the presentation the floor was open for questions and comments about Medellín’s transformation and there was a very robust discussion among all the participants on areas of focus for both Medillin and NZ companies interested in two way trade between them and identifying some of the roadblocks that need to be addressed in order to facilitate further growth in economic activity.
Investment and Cooperation Agency of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area which not only attracts and supports foreign investors and leads the decentralized cooperation processes in the country, but also manages all international relations of Medellín´s City hall.
Since 2006, ACI has been responsible for attracting foreign direct investment resources and developing international cooperation. The level of private foreign direct investment in the period 2012-2015 was US$640 million.
The main services that ACI offers to investors are:
- Support relations with local and national government authorities
- The approach to public-private partnerships and sectorial associations
- Scheduling and coordination of city agendas
- Support in recruitment processes
- Introduction and approaching higher education institutions
- Guidance related to costs of real estate, utilities and human talent among others
- Coordination and support to location and field visits
- Legal and taxing guidance
- Support the consolidation of the region’s general and sector information for the investment project implementation