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||2020||2021||2022 (E)||2023 (E)||2024 (E)|
|GDP (billions USD)||270.15||318.51||343.94||334.69||347.37|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-7.3||11.0||7.5||1.0||1.9|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||5,363||6,239||6,664||6,417||6,593|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-4.5||-6.7||-7.3||-3.7||-2.9|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||65.7||64.0||63.6||62.0||61.1|
|Inflation Rate (%)||2.5||3.5||10.2||10.9||5.4|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)||16.7||13.8||11.2||11.3||10.9|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-9.35||-17.98||-21.45||-17.16||-16.01|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-3.5||-5.6||-6.2||-5.1||-4.6|
Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
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)||15.8||20.1||64.1|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||7.4||25.0||58.0|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||3.1||9.7||11.5|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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|Colombian Peso (COP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR||85.93||85.59||87.10||92.42||93.90|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.
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 Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||46,076||51,233||52,703||43,489||61,101|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||36,897||41,774||39,489||31,008||40,287|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||12,296||13,373||13,766||9,092||13,173|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||8,171||9,479||9,794||4,896||6,776|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||1.0||5.8||7.3||-20.5||28.7|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||2.6||0.6||3.1||-22.7||14.8|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||20.1||20.6||21.7||20.4||24.4|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||15.1||15.9||15.9||13.5||16.4|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-4,285||-6,394||-9,863||-8,870||-13,984|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-8,762||-10,556||-14,146||-13,089||-20,047|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||35.3||36.5||37.6||33.9||40.9|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||46.9%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||37.2%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
|41.4 bn USD of products exported in 2021|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude||27.1%|
|Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal||10.6%|
|Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion||7.7%|
|Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form||7.6%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||5.2%|
|See More Products||41.9%|
|61.1 bn USD of products imported in 2021|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||5.8%|
|Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528)||4.5%|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||3.8%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||3.0%|
|Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products||3.0%|
|See More Products||80.0%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.
|5.9 bn USD of services exported in 2020|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||34.20%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||18.86%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||7.25%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||3.24%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||1.83%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||1.58%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||1.42%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||1.42%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||0.01%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||26.82%|
|Air transportAir transport||15.11%|
|Sea transportSea transport||4.64%|
|Information servicesInformation services||0.72%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||1.61%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.48%|
|Other personal, cultural, and...Other personal, cultural, and recreational services||0.84%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||0.59%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||0.11%|
|8.9 bn USD of services imported in 2020|
|Sea transportSea transport||17.20%|
|Air transportAir transport||6.17%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||16.26%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||5.55%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||2.55%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||2.32%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||1.38%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||1.30%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||2.28%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||0.89%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||0.89%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||15.32%|
|Auxiliary servicesAuxiliary services||0.09%|
|Information servicesInformation services||0.85%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||3.47%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.72%|
|Other personal, cultural, and...Other personal, cultural, and recreational services||0.68%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||0.07%|
Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data
- 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
The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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