Colombia's economy vibrant - einvoicing mandates around the corner

November 6, 2014

Look no further than Colombia as the latest sign that Latin America's economy is growing.

According to the National Statistics Institute, during the second quarter, Colombia's economy grew by nearly 4.5 percent when compared with the same three-month period in 2013, the Wall Street Journal noted. This was roughly in line with what economists were expecting. However, with increased investment in infrastructure by the Colombian government, as well as an uptick in purchase activity among consumers, some financial experts were predicting a stronger finish between April and June.

Throughout most of 2014, Colombia's economy has performed quite well. Through the first six months of the year, the economy expanded by almost 5.5 percent when contrasted with the same span of time last year, the newspaper noted.

Mauricio Perfetti del Corral, head of the National Statistics Institute, told reporters recently that Colombia is not only proving to be an up and coming economic leader in Latin America, but the world as well.

"Today it is one of the countries in the world with the strongest growth," the WSJ quoted Corral as saying.

Economists have high expectations for Colombia. In a Reuters survey of financial analysts, most of those polled predicted that there would be a 0.5 percent increase from January to March. During the first quarter of 2014, gross domestic product grew by 6.5 percent, meaning that on a quarter-to-quarter basis, the country's economy contracted slightly in the second three-month period of the year.

Santos bullish about Colombia's economy down the stretch
But President Juan Manuel Santos has high hopes for how Colombia's economy will finish as 2014 winds its way to a close.

"I hope that in the remaining two quarters we have satisfactory growth that allows us to expand between 4.5 percent and 5 percent," Santos said shortly after GDP numbers were revealed, Reuters reported.

Santos recently spoke to CNN about the state of Colombia's economy.

"We are the country that's growing the fastest," Santos told Fareed Zakaria recently on his news magazine program. "The first half of this year we were the third in the world, the first of Latin America, but the third in the world after China and Indonesia. Not only that, growth by itself doesn't mean anything. We grow to give the people a better life. And we have been able to reduce poverty by almost 10 percentage points, which is unprecedented."

He added that the prevalence of extreme poverty has dropped by almost 6 percent. Furthermore, Santos pointed out that the country has been able to create more employment opportunities - again, more so than any other country in Latin America - which has helped propel Colombia to be in this position.

Among various employment sectors in Colombia between April and June, several grew. For example, construction increased by more than 10 percent from the previous year's second quarter and by slightly over 6 percent in financial services, Reuters noted from the government report. Retail increased by 5 percent and agriculture by slightly under 2 percent.

Businesses in Colombia have a lot of regulations that they need to comply with, one of which is the expected e-invoicing mandate in 2015. Earlier this year, the Inter-American Development Bank announced it was providing a $12 million loan to the country to help it set up an electronic invoicing system. Within this loan application. Colombia referenced taking the best practices from the Brazil, Mexico and Chile einvoicing models as they build out there infrastructure.


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