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Working in Colombia?

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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 progress Colombia has made economically since the end of the last millennium. After a brief but harsh recession, the nation has been able to push economic growth year after year and make the transition away from its former agricultural focus.

Economic Profile

Colombia is the fourth largest economy in South America. Despite the well-known and at times harsh blows of the global economic downturns at the end of the past decade, the country has managed to maintain positive growth figures during turbulent times, and has overshadowed the average economic growth of the region and continent for years with ease. This fact, combined with the nation’s policy of establishing free trade agreements and FTZ throughout its territory, has led to strong foreign investments in recent years, particularly in some of Colombia’s strongest sectors – oil and gas.

Important Sectors

While Colombia displays the typical GDP composition of developed countries with a dominant tertiary sector, industry still plays a major role for the national economy, with some 38% of the total economic output generated in this sector. Main pillars of the Colombian industrial sector include a very strong textile and clothing industry (with Medellín being the top destination in this regard) and a highly developed chemical and pharmaceutical sector. However, the mining industry is one of the main driving forces in the secondary sector. Abundance of natural resources is one of the strengths of the nation, and it boasts a wide range of export goods in this regard:

Historically an agricultural country, the primary sector remains one of the main pillars of the Colombian economy even today, with a GDP contribution of just below 7%. The country is among the top producers of coffee, flowers (where it only trails the Netherlands in terms of export figures), cocoa, oilseed, bananas, and sugar cane, among others. It should be noted that while obviously not part of the official economic output of the country, coca cultivation and everything that comes with it have shaped the culture and economy of the country (and its neighbors to some regard) in profound ways.

In the services sector, the main players are similar to what one might expect from an industrialized country: IT and finances are dominant in this area. However, due to the change in global perception in the past 20 years, tourism has also seen an upswing. Bogotá and Medellín are the two spearheading cities in the tertiary sector and in fact for the economy as a whole. We have taken a closer look at the two metropolises in our article on moving to Colombia.


As positive a development as Colombia has seen in the past years and decades, there still remains many an issue 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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