In 2021, international immediate expense (FDI) into Guatemala strike file concentrations, soon after the country saw the cheapest concentrations of FDI in a decade the former 12 months. But what created foreign investment decision in Guatemala spike so radically in 2021?

A BLH graphic showing foreign investment in Guatemala between 2008 and 2021
International investment decision in Guatemala spiked in 2021

Guatemala is Central America’s greatest economy by gross domestic merchandise (GDP), as well as a person of the fastest increasing among the the 7 nations on the isthmus, only experiencing  two years of GDP drop given that the flip of the century. 

Together with Nicaragua, Guatemala was also one of only two nations around the world from the sub-region not to sign up GDP decline in 2020 – a yr when quite a few of the world’s economies ended up rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, equally international locations had been however adversely impacted by the crisis.

SEE ALSO: Do You Need to have a PEO in Guatemala?

That year, global FDI collapsed, slipping from $1.5 trillion in 2019 to $859 billion the pursuing calendar year (all figures in USD), ahead of rebounding strongly – albeit unevenly – in 2021, to strike $1.65 billion, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Enhancement (UNCTAD).

One particular county where that unevenness was borne out substantially was Guatemala, wherever a leap from $931.1 million in 2020 to $3.472 billion the next 12 months represented a a lot more than 370% boost in FDI.

In a different notable flip, Luxembourg also leapt into leading place amid the nations from which FDI in Guatemala originated, leaping in advance of the likes of Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, which have been the most significant resources of expenditure into into the nation in recent many years.

That change was accompanied by an additional notable twist – since in 2021 the sector that received the most international expenditure in Guatemala was telecommunications, leapfrogging the finance and insurance sector, which typically occupies best location, in accordance to a report from Prensa Libre

Escalating attractiveness of international expenditure in Guatemala mirrors financial expansion

Guatemala’s financial state has developed exponentially more than modern a long time, hitting $77.6 billion in 2020, and FDI has adopted suit, with Environment Financial institution figures demonstrating it far more than doubling concerning 2009 and 2019.

While the figures printed by Prensa Libre – a single of Guatemala’s most properly-respected newspapers – differ somewhat, they continue to present FDI in 2019 staying virtually 2 times what it was in 2009.

Guatemala’s solid economic overall performance arrives on the again of major safety advances, with the country’s notoriously higher amounts of violence substantially reduced – as highlighted by the intentional murder charge much more than halving during that same period.

Guatemala added benefits from having a remarkably strategic spot, occupying the greater part of Mexico’s southern border, and acting as a gateway among the 3 major North American economies and the rest of Central America. 

Spanning the width of the Central The usa isthmus, Guatemala has significant-quantity ports serving both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, providing simple freight entry to all of the Americas, as perfectly as Asia-Pacific and Europe.

The Central American state is nicely-acknowledged for its agricultural output, with espresso, bananas, and sugar amid its key exports and the sector supplying practically 10% of GDP. The country’s production sector is also significant, delivering 22% of GDP, with the garment production market particularly substantial.

Further than that, a speedy-developing companies sector, which includes essential places for overseas expense in Guatemala, this sort of as fiscal products and services and coverage, generates much more than 60% of GDP.

In the meantime, telecommunications has been an significant desired destination for FDI in Guatemala, though the figures staying invested formerly have not come shut to the much more than $2 billion in investments in the sector noticed in 2021.

Knowledge the spike in international expense in Guatemala

The significant spike in foreign investment in Guatemala in 2021, as effectively as the emergence of Luxembourg as the primary origin of capital and telecommunications as its primary destination, can all be understood in the context of a single major offer struck at the finish of the calendar year.

Photo of Millicom Chief Exec Mauricio Ramos for article on foreign investment in Gautemala.
Mauricio Ramos (supply: LinkedIn)

In November 2021, it was introduced that Luxembourg-dependent telecom business Millicom was investing $2.2 billion to just take total control of Tigo Guatemala – a person of the most important gamers in the Central American country’s telecommunications sector. 

The offer noticed Millicom, a business concentrated on telecommunications in Latin America, maximize its 55% stake in Tigo Guatemala to acquire whole fairness and turn into the country’s largest participant in the sector.

The offer represented the major ever solitary foriegn expense in Guatemala, and saw Millicom additional consolidate its standing as a essential pressure in telecommunications in Central The usa. Millicom also has a major presence in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, as effectively as in South American nations Bolivia, Colombia, and Paraguay.

That reportedly took acquisitions by the Luxembourg-centered organization in the sub-area over and above $5 billion within just 3 a long time, whilst the firm followed up its Guatemala financial investment with a pledge. 

In a mark of the Luxembourg-based company’s faith in the region, in 2021 the firm mentioned that it would be selling all operations in Africa in purchase to emphasis on the nine Latin American marketplaces where it is lively. In early 2022, the organization pledged to make investments a additional $3 billion in the location more than the coming three years.

According to the Monetary Moments, Millicom has a overall of 44 million mobile buyers and 4 million dwelling broadband shoppers, and the $3 billion is set to be pumped into infrastructure and the expansion of its existing interests. 

Although some commentators have highlighted the challenges involved in Millicom’s investments in Latin America’s from time to time volatile economies, according to Mauricio Ramos, the company’s chief government, the area presents important prospects for development.

“Our simple premise is: these are growing economies, pretty steady [foreign exchange], considerably underpinned by this expanding amount of remittances,” he was quoted as saying by the Monetary Periods.

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