Colombia is a franchise market on the rise, reports Country Profile
The flag retains the three main colors—yellow, blue, red—of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830. Various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for gold in Colombia’s land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled attaining freedom.
Location: In northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela. Colombia is almost twice the size of Texas.
Total Population: 48.2 million
Government: Presidential republic
Religion: Roman Catholic (79%) and Protestant (14%)
Economy: Since 2012 the United States has had a free trade agreement with Colombia, and the country’s political stability and growing middle class have helped support moderate economic growth. Colombia heavily depends on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices, but direct foreign investment is increasing and the U.S. remains Colombia’s largest trading partner. Further development is expected in infrastructure, tourism, job training, education and rural development following the 2016 signing of a peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
News note: As the Venezuelan migration into Colombia continues amid the former’s economic crisis, Colombia President Ivan Duque announced the granting of citizenship to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan migrants since 2015. The country is also extending that citizenship to those born in the next two years. Colombia had required at least one parent to have legal residence; the loosening of the standard is aimed at addressing the rise of undocumented babies that accompanies refugee crises.
GDP (official exchange rate): $314.5 billion
Currency: Colombian peso (conversion rate at press time: 1 COP equals $0.00029 USD).
Franchising in Colombia: An improvement in the perception of the business environment in Colombia—due in part to the implementation of free trade agreements—along with local acceptance of franchising has helped the industry grow. Clothing and fashion concepts dominate the sector, followed closely by fast food, restaurants and bars, whose presence is growing. New shopping center development in intermediate cities such as Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga are creating opportunities for brands outside Colombia’s three major population centers (Bogotá, Medellín and Cali). Brands must be diligent in the registry of their trademarks and other intellectual property.
Ease of doing business rank by World Bank: 65.