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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Thanks to its market size, the extent of its natural resources (coffee, emeralds, oil and coal, among others) and a historical reputation as an exemplary debtor, Colombia has experienced a stable and solid growth for most of the past two decades. Although the country was affected by the fall in oil prices due to the pandemic, Colombia was able to recover and, in 2022, the country recorded a GDP growth of an estimated 7.6%, mainly due to increased household consumption - which should continue to drive the economy in the coming years, supported by the ongoing recovery on the job market and the continuous implementation of fiscal support programs targeting low-income households. According to the IMF, the country's economy is expected to grow at a slower pace in 2023 and 2024, with GDP reaching an estimated 2.2% and 2.8%, respectively.

Colombia's account deficit decreased to 5.1% of GDP in 2022, mainly due to the country's trade deficit and high dollar outflows driven by dividend remittances and repatriated income from foreign investors. However, a decrease in the trade deficit due to a slowdown in import demand is expected in 2023, which should lead to an account deficit of 4.4%. In 2022, government balance increased -7.7% of GDP, and while the deficit should continue in the coming years, that rate is expected to decrease to -4.1% in 2023 and -3.2% in 2024. Inflation increased to 9.7% in 2022, but it is expected to decrease to 7.1% in 2023 and 4.3% in 2024. Colombia’s public deficit remains a source of concern for the government and for investors. In 2022, gross debt decreased to 61.1% of GDP and, looking ahead, that rate is expected to slightly decrease to 60% in 2023 and 59.2% in 2024. Although the pandemic has significantly impacted the Colombian economy, the country has been recovering, following the implementation of the government measures to counteract the resulting economic crisis. Overall, Colombia's fiscal measures to mitigate the pandemic have been effective in boosting economic activity, which has been gradually improving.

One third of the Colombian population lives below the poverty line. Development policies for rural areas are a priority for the Colombian government. Unemployment rates, which increased during the pandemic, declined to 11.3% in 2022, and should continue decreasing in the coming years - reaching 11.1% in 2023 and 10.5% in 2024. However, unemployment rates are not expected to go back to pre-pandemic levels in the short term. It should be noted, though, that more than half of the Colombian population continues to work in the informal sector. Overall, inequalities are strong throughout the country: Colombia has a Gini coefficient of 50.4, one of the highest in Latin America. Corruption and security remain as major concerns for individuals and businesses.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 343.62363.84373.43390.27410.64
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 7.31.42.02.93.3
GDP per Capita (USD) 6,6586,9767,0877,3347,642
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.7-2.9-2.6-3.0-2.9
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.455.055.155.454.8
Inflation Rate (%) n/a11.45.23.63.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 11.210.810.410.09.6
Current Account (billions USD) -21.45-17.84-16.05-16.72-16.80
Current Account (in % of GDP) -6.2-4.9-4.3-4.3-4.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.

 

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Main Sectors of Industry

Natural resources are abundant in Colombia. The country has largest coal reserves in Latin America, and has the second largest hydroelectric potential in the continent, after Brazil. Colombia also has significant amounts of nickel, gold, silver, platinum, and emeralds, as well as large petroleum and natural gas reserves. Due to the climate and the topography of the country, agriculture is extensive and very diversified. Colombia's main crops are coffee, bananas, cut flowers, sugarcane, livestock, rice and corn. However, the share of agriculture in GDP has been falling consistently for over 50 years, as both industry and services have expanded, and it currently represents 7.4% of the GDP. Still, agriculture remains an important source of employment in the country, as it employs 15.8% of the workforce. Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic, Colombian agriculture has been experiencing a steady recovery over the past couple of years.

Colombia is the most industrially diverse country of the Andean Community, with four major industrial centres: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla. Most industries in the country are driven by agriculture and commodities, with the main industries being textile, chemical products, metallurgy, cement, cardboard containers, plastic resins and beverages. The sector represents 25% of the GDP and employs 20.1% of the workforce. Although the industrial sector was negatively impacted by the pandemic, especially due to weak global demand of coal and oil, industrial activity in Colombia registered a significant recovery in 2022.

The services sector’s importance has increased in recent years. It is becoming the backbone of the Colombian economy as it represents 58% of the GDP and employs 64.1% of the workforce. Tourism is one of the most important components of the service sector and has been particularly dynamic over the past few years, especially in Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Cali, and Barranquilla. The BPO sub-sector is one of the most dynamic with an average annual growth of 19% during the last 7 years. The services sector was hit the hardest during the early stages of the pandemic, especially tourism, hotels, restaurants, transport, and entertainment. However, the sector showed a significant recovery in 2022, with growth reaching pre-pandemic levels.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 15.9 20.1 63.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 8.3 26.7 54.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) -1.9 6.8 8.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Colombian Peso (COP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 3,054.122,951.332,955.703,280.803,694.85

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Foreign Trade

Colombia's foreign trade represented 40.9% of the country’s GDP in 2021, according to the World Bank. Colombia mainly exports petroleum oils (32.3%), coal (10.6%), coffee (7.7%), gold (7.6%), and cut flowers (4.2%). The country's main imports include petroleum oils (5.8%), telephone sets (4.5%), motor vehicles (3.8%), medicaments (3%), and human and animal blood prepared for therapeutic uses (3%).

Colombia's main trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, India, and Germany. Colombia has signed trade agreements with the ANC countries (Andean Community of Nations), the MERCOSUR countries, the Central American and Caribbean countries and the European Union. Along with Mexico, Chile and Peru, Colombia founded the Pacific Alliance in 2012, designed to boost trade relations with Asian emerging markets. The country is also part of numerous free trade agreements with Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United States. The free-trade agreement with the United States, which came into force in May 2012, has had a particularly large impact in the Colombian economy, given that the United States is the country's biggest trade partner.

In 2021, Colombian exports bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, as global demand increased. As such, the country’s exports increased from USD 31.4 billion in 2020 to USD 40.2 billion in 2021. Over the same period, imports of goods increased from USD 43.4 billion to USD 61.1 billion. As a result, Colombia's trade deficit reached USD 13.9 billion in 2021. According to WTO, imports of services in 2021 amounted to USD 13.1 billion, far greater than exports of services, which totalled USD 6.7 billion in 2021. Thus, the overall trade deficit in 2021 reached USD 20 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 51,23352,70343,48961,10177,413
Exports of Goods (million USD) 41,77439,48931,00840,28756,999
Imports of Services (million USD) 14,89314,95210,13414,14217,537
Exports of Services (million USD) 10,73110,6685,9157,81812,247

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 36.537.634.140.248.6
Trade Balance (million USD) -6,394-9,863-8,870-13,984-12,028
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -10,556-14,148-13,105-20,002-16,427
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.87.3-19.926.723.9
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.63.1-22.715.914.9
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 20.621.720.623.928.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 15.915.913.516.320.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -3.11.51.82.31.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -6.82.20.40.61.1

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Colombia has signed many international trade agreements, including:

- Latin American Association of Integration - ALADI
- Andean Community - CAN -Colombia, Equator, Peru, Bolivia
- CAN - Mercosur
- Central American and the Caribbeans
- FTA - Free Trade Agreement Colombia and Chile
- FTA Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
- FTA Colombia, Peru and Canada
- FTA G2- Group of Two - Colombia and Mexico
- FTA Colombia and Peru - EFTA
- FTA Colombia and United States
- Trade Union CAN - UE

Colombia is part of the Pacific Alliance.

For more information consult this link.

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 26.9%
Panama 10.2%
Netherlands 4.7%
India 4.3%
Brazil 4.1%
See More Countries 49.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
United States 24.5%
China 24.2%
Brazil 7.1%
Mexico 5.4%
France 3.2%
See More Countries 35.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Gustavo Petro (since 7 August 2022)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: May 2026
Congress: March 2026
Main Political Parties
About 60 political parties are formally recognised in Colombia, but most are not represented in the Chamber of Deputies. The main political parties in Colombia are:

- Social Party of National Unity (UN): centre-right, social liberalism, third way politics
- Democratic Centre (CD): centre-right, social conservatism, economic liberalism
- Conservative Party (PC): centre-right, social conservatism, economic liberalism, Christian democracy
- Colombian Liberal Party (PLC): centre-left, social liberalism, social democracy
- Radical Change Party (CR): centre-right, conservative liberalism
- Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA): centre-left, protectionism, social democracy, democratic socialism
- Independent Movement of Absolute Renovation (MIRA): centre-right to right, conservative liberalism, social conservatism, Christian democracy
- Green Alliance: centre-left, progressivism, pacifism, green politics, green liberalism
- Independent Movement of Absolute Renovation (MIRA): centre-right, communitarianism, social conservatism, Christian democracy

Executive Power
The President is both the Head of State and the Head of Government. He or she holds executive power. The President and Vice President are both elected by universal suffrage for a single term of four years, and cannot be reelected, even for a nonconsecutive term.
Legislative Power
The Colombian legislature is bicameral. The parliament, called 'Congress', consists of the Senate (upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (lower chamber). The 108 members of the Senate and the 172 members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for a period of four years by universal suffrage.
 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Colombia, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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