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Working in Colombia?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Working in Colombia with relevant information for expats.

Pablo Garcia Ramirez

Living in Colombia, from Spain

"I was so lucky that a friend told me about InterNations before I came to Bogota. I had the chance to contact many expats there from home."

Michelle Guillemont

Living in Colombia, from France

"I was a little bit afraid before moving to Colombia - a new language, security issues, no friends. InterNations helped me settle in, though. "

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Colombia at a Glance

Working in Colombia

Many might not have realized the impressive economic progress Colombia has made over the past few decades. After a brief but harsh recession, the nation has been able to grow year after year, and make the transition away from its former agricultural roots.

Economic Profile

Colombia is the fourth largest economy in South America. Despite the global economic downturns at the end of the past decade, the country has continued to grow even beyond the regional average by diversifying its investments and establishing free trade agreements. Though unemployment remains problematic, it is decreasing and hit a record low of 8.9% in 2015.

Colombia was also South America’s best performer in terms of its GDP growth rate in 2015 (2.5% year-on-year), however this is slowing down due to the global drop in commodity prices. Colombia’s divisive “No” vote on the peace agreement between the government and the FARC in October 2016 could also affect the economy due to political and economic uncertainty.

The Powerhouse of the Economy

Like most developed countries Colombia has a dominant tertiary sector, however, industry still plays a major part in the national economy, generating around 37% of the total economic output. The main pillars of the Colombian industrial sector include a very strong textile and fashion industry (particularly in Medellín), and a highly developed chemical and pharmaceutical sector.

In the secondary sector, the mining industry is still one of the main driving forces. An abundance of natural resources is one of the nation’s strengths, and it boasts a wide range of exports:

Historically an agricultural country, the primary sector remains one of the main pillars of the Colombian economy, contributing just below 7% to the GDP. The country is among the top producers of coffee, flowers (second only to the Netherlands’ exports), cocoa, oilseed, bananas, and sugar cane, among others.

In the service sector, IT and finance dominate. However, the country’s improved reputation has also led to a rise in tourism which contributed 5.9% of the country’s total GDP in 2014. Bogotá and Medellín are the two cities leading the way both in the tertiary sector and the economy as a whole. We have taken a closer look at the two metropolises in our article on moving to Colombia.

Economic Obstacles

Despite positive developments, many issues remain to be tackled in order to maintain positive economic performance:


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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