Economic and Political Overview

flag Colombia Colombia: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

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 , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

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.

 

Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

 
 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Colombian Peso (COP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 85.9385.5987.1092.4293.90

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

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.

Score:
68,1/100
World Rank:
49
Regional Rank:
6

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

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.

Score:
6.21/10
World Rank:
51/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

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 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
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
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
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 36.537.634.140.248.6

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 

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

 
 

Main Products

57.3 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 28.3%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 18.3%
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 7.2%
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 5.2%
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 4.6%
See More Products 36.4%
77.4 bn USD of products imported in 2022
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 8.8%
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) 3.9%
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) 3.5%
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 3.0%
Maize or cornMaize or corn 2.8%
See More Products 78.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 
 

Main Services

13.4 bn USD of services exported in 2022
46.57%
21.90%
18.13%
7.06%
1.66%
1.65%
1.21%
1.00%
0.63%
0.19%
0.01%
17.6 bn USD of services imported in 2022
35.64%
24.34%
9.89%
9.09%
7.87%
7.15%
2.90%
1.92%
0.65%
0.54%
0.01%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Official list of ministries
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Spanish)
Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (in Spanish)
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (in Spanish)
Directorate of Taxes and Customs in Colombia (in Spanish)
Ministry of Mines and Energy (in Spanish)
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (in Spanish)
Statistical Office
National Institute of Statistics
Datos Abiertos - Open Data Portal (in Spanish)
Central Bank
Central Bank of Colombia
Stock Exchange
Bogota Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Google Colombia
Economic Portals
Finance Colombia
The Bogota Post

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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

Type of State
Republic based on parliamentary 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.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

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.).

World Rank:
134/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

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.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
3/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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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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Latest Update: December 2023