Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The government of Colombia plans to build 8,000 km of roads through terrain that includes three mountain ranges.

Mark Sissons

The Colombian government is seeking to reassure Canadian financiers that it's safe to invest in its plan to build 8,000 km of roads through the mountainous South American country.

Colombia, which has a free-trade agreement with Canada, expects to spend $25-billion (U.S.) by 2020 on new roads and highways – some of which will be built up and down three mountain ranges to allow easier travel between the capital Bogota and the Pacific coast.

It's an ambitious plan. By comparison, the expansion of the Panama Canal is a $5-billion project. But before the government can stick a shovel in the ground, it must secure the funds. Developers are currently bidding for a piece of the action and will need to form partnerships with financiers.

Story continues below advertisement

"We know financing is challenging," Luis Fernando Andrade, the president of Colombia's national infrastructure agency, told some of Canada's biggest institutional investors, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. "We need to get all the larger firms involved," he said.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which has visited Colombia several times to assess the situation, told Mr. Andrade that it was concerned about the length of time it took builders to obtain the necessary permits and questioned whether the government could seize the contract after the investment was made. "We are trying to get our head around some of the risk," said one Teachers representative.

But Mr. Andrade said new laws would soon be implemented to ensure that construction would not get tied up in red tape and said they were working to make sure the process was as transparent as possible.

Mr. Andrade, along with the head of the country's infrastructure financing bank, flew up to Toronto for three days to allay Canadian concerns. He said a number of Canadian pension funds have already visited his country two to three times.

The Colombian government must fund up to 50 per cent of some of the roads that will be built on difficult terrain. It is creating new debt securities to appeal to the widest range of foreign investors.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies