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PRESS RELEASE September 23, 2021

World Bank Supports Economic Recovery and Greater Competitiveness in Colombia with $500 Million Loan

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2021 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved $500 million in financing today to promote productivity and speed up Colombia’s economic recovery following the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan will support a number of policies aimed at improving the regulatory framework in tandem with the private sector-led recovery. This includes the streamlining and digitization of paperwork and greater regulatory quality; safeguards for the transparency and integrity of the green bond market and improved competitiveness and transparency in public sector acquisitions.

“This operation is of great importance to Colombia and, together with the Social Investment Law, will allow the national Government to secure the resources needed to provide continuity and to strengthen the social well-being programs and economic recovery strategies,” said Alejandra Botero Barco, CEO of the National Planning Department.

According to the official, the operation “ratifies the World Bank’s backing of the efforts we have put into effect to organize our policy action agenda and strengthen our regulatory framework, in line with our economic recovery efforts, particularly in terms of competitiveness and globalization.”

The funds will also be used to further innovation in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and projects related to the environment and sustainable development, renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions. Furthermore, it will encourage digital financing via crowdfunding and increased competitiveness and transparency in the low value payment system.

“This operation supports the Colombian government’s recovery strategy, which aims at reactivating the economy and achieving rapid, resilient and sustainable economic growth,” said Mark Thomas, World Bank Director for Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. “This includes promoting e-government, green financing, innovation and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that contributes to the development and welfare of the Colombian population.”

The operation also seeks to promote high-impact and women-led ventures, as well as greater globalization of the Colombian economy, all of them goals geared toward addressing structural factors that hinder productivity growth in the country.

“Thanks to this operation, we will be able to: improve the regulatory framework in order to normalize private sector activity; boost investment in science, technology and innovation among MSMEs, with a focus on sustainability, as well as promoting digital financing and entrepreneurship among women for increased venture activity, via financing facilities and access to trade,” Botero Barco added.

The Treasury and Public Credit Ministry and the National Planning Department will be responsible for coordinating and implementing this loan.

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