Press Releases

Doing Business in Colombia 2010: Remarkable Progress in Regulatory Reform across Colombia

In Washington, D.C.:
Nadine Ghannam

Phone:  +1 (202) 473 3011


In Colombia:

Clara Ugarte Perrin

Phone: + (57 1) 319 2330


Bogotá, February 16, 2010—Reform of commercial regulations has become a nationwide phenomenon, finds Doing Business in Colombia 2010. Launched today, the IFC-World Bank report is the second in a series studying the ease of doing business in Colombian cities.

Results show that the 13 cities evaluated in 2008 have since improved in at least one of the areas measured. The eight cities benchmarked for the first time also show good practices. Neiva was the fastest reformer. Thanks to reforms in business start-up and property registration, it jumped from the bottom ranking in 2008 to 11th among the 21 cities. Manizales and Pereira continue to rank high on the ease of doing business by simplifying commercial regulations across the board.

“Colombia’s progress in regulatory reform at the local level is an important step toward expanding business opportunities throughout the country, advancing our shared goal of creating jobs and alleviating poverty. IFC will continue to help local governments implement further reforms,” said Rachel Kyte, IFC Vice President of Business Advisory Services.

Doing business is easiest in Manizales, Ibagué, and Pereira; more difficult in Cali and Cartagena. So there is still room for reform. But the good news is that cities wanting to improve their practices need not look far: the country has good, practical models to draw on.

Some changes are easy to implement. For example, six of the 21 cities still require the certificate of land use to start a business, even though it was abolished by a national decree in 2008. Other changes may be more challenging. While civil courts have reduced their case backlogs, enforcing a contract in Colombia still takes 833 days on average, twice as long as in Peru or Mexico.

Doing Business in Colombia 2010
studies business regulation from the perspective of a small to midsize domestic firm. The report covers 21 cities—Armenia, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Ibagué, Manizales, Medellín, Montería, Neiva, Pasto, Pereira, Popayán, Riohacha, Santa Marta, Sincelejo, Tunja, Valledupar, and Villavicencio. It benchmarks six regulatory areas—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, and enforcing contracts.

The report was produced by the World Bank Group in partnership with Universidad de los Andes and the Private Council on Competitiveness. To ensure sustainability, the methodology is being transferred to a local strategic partner. The project was sponsored by the National Planning Department; the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism; the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce; the U.S. Agency for International Development; and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

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About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. IBRD and IFC are currently seeking capital increases to strengthen their ability to fight poverty and advance development in the aftermath of the global economic crisis. For more information, please visit,, and