TBY talks to Sandra Forero Ramírez, President of the Colombian Chamber of Construction (CAMACOL), on the emerging shape of the local construction sector.

Sandra Forero Ramírez
Sandra Forero Ramírez arrived in 2006 as the Regional Manager of the Colombian Chamber of Construction (CAMACOL), after serving as Director of Land Development in the Ministry of Environment, Housing, and Territorial Development. She became the President in July 2011. During this time she was also President of the National Professional Council of Architecture. Prior to this she worked for Urban Planning in the District Planning Department. Between 1995 and 1997, she was an advisor to the National Management of Goods and Services of the Social Insurance Institution.

What are the major factors shaping supply and demand for the construction sector, and what role is Colombia Chamber of Construction (CAMACOL) playing?

New regulations adopted in 2012 and the finalization of key projects are the two elements that will mark 2013. In other words, we have to try harder to achieve our goal of constructing 1 million social housing units. We are now operating under new free trade agreements (FTAs) that may impact foreign players and new residential offerings, as well as infrastructure projects that have been labeled as strategic for the government through public-private partnerships (PPPs). With the new PPP law, we have the right legal framework and this model is really taking off, especially for infrastructure and social-housing projects.

In what way will the new PPP regulatory framework impact construction companies?

It is the first time that Colombia has a legal framework for the application of PPP as a business model for the development of infrastructure projects. We believe it is a key element to improve relations between the public and private sectors.

Camacol turns 55 in 2013. How would you assess the role played by CAMACOL in the development of the construction sector in Colombia over this time?

We have three main goals: to create a sustainable and strong urban plan, to be a speaker between the government and the private sector, and to generate a link between companies in the construction sector. At the same time, we are trying to implement nationwide programs to boost the construction of organized and sustainable urban centers and to contribute to the development of the sector. Currently, we have 1,300 affiliates in the country, and we are very proud of what we have achieved over the years thanks to our dialogue with the government. For example, we have reduced the housing deficit as well as boosted the construction of complementary infrastructure to these housing units with such things as schools and hospitals. It is very important for us to keep the construction sector constantly growing. Finally, we are also highly committed to reducing informality levels in the industry, because the construction industry is a significant generator of employment in Colombia.

“With the new PPP law, we have the right legal framework and this model is really taking off."