|Carlos Fradique-Méndez||Clara Robledo-Sánchez|
Colombia's fourth generation of toll-road projects is nearing completion. Since May this year, seven projects have announced that they reached financial close.
Over recent years, the government's initiatives and support have promoted the development of an attractive investment environment for local and foreign stakeholders.
At the start of the process, the enactment of the public-private partnerships law, as well as amendments to the infrastructure regulations, encouraged world-class infrastructure developers to invest in Colombia. For the first time, the country hosted a series of public auctions with clear rules. These auctions boosted the participation of key investors who had previously been absent from Colombia's public procurement process.
As the projects were adjudicated, a variety of lenders, both local and foreign, including multilateral entities and commercial banks, bet on Colombia's fourth generation projects. Their willingness to be involved was driven by the warranties contained in the regulatory changes, as well as Colombia's high credit rating and the stability of its financial markets.
Now that the financing agreements are closed, project sponsors face a new set of challenges to achieve project completion. The next steps in the process will be satisfying the conditions precedent for the disbursements, managing the project costs, and complying with the construction schedule. Concessionaires and project sponsors will have to make extra efforts to comply with land acquisition plans and environmental and social requirements. The government's support is required.
Notwithstanding the length of the process, stakeholders remain confident about the fourth generation projects. As time progresses and the projects advance, an increasing number of people are looking at Colombia with interest This growing interest is based on the certainty that infrastructure is the cornerstone of a country's economic development.
Carlos Fradique-Méndez and Clara Robledo-Sánchez