PRECISE AND MEASURED PRIORITIES

Colombia 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Much of the country's economic future depends on extending its sustainable and integrated infrastructure.

Manuel Felipe Gutiérrez
BIOGRAPHY

Manuel Felipe Gutiérrez has been a professor of public law at Universidad de Los Andes, Universidad Javeriana, and Universidad La Sabana, in addition to director of research of state contracting at Universidad de Los Andes. He has also been a member of the Legal Secretariat of the Presidential Infrastructure Commission, advisor to the presidency of ANI, director of infrastructure at Esguerra Barrera Arriaga, associate lawyer at Arrieta Mantilla, and a partner at Vali Consultores. He was legal director of ALEATICA S.A.S. before joining the government of President Duque, where he helps reactivate 4G projects.

Colombia receives a significant number of tourists and is the gateway to South America in terms of air transportation. What is the status of the El Dorado Airport expansion?
The government, through the Ministry of Transport, ANI, and the Civil Aeronautics, is working on an expansion plan for Bogotá's El Dorado International Airport, which has the capacity to mobilize up to 40 million passengers. In 2018, it received 33 million passengers. Currently, ANI has two different unsolicited proposals under structuring that would boost the productivity of the airport. The first aims to complete execution works within 36 months to increase the effectiveness of the existing infrastructure in El Dorado. The second aims to expand the current terminal and construct a low-cost terminal and a third track. These activities will help us increase the space for aircraft parking and the possibility of new positions in the cargo and maintenance of the airport.

How do you ensure that projects structured by ANI guarantee economic, social, and environmental sustainability?
At ANI, we follow and fulfill OECD standards, which imply a series of gradual reforms needed to start the fifth generation of concession projects. These will have some adjustments, especially in terms of sustainability and understanding the concept for its environmental, social, and institutional dimensions. We will make some adjustments based on our experience and the lessons learned from the first, second, third, and fourth generation projects. We will also continue with the transparency that has characterized this entity and develop this through a public policy document (CONPES), which includes the guidelines for the fifth generation of concessions in Colombia.

How can ANI attract foreign investment to Colombia?
ANI is an investment reference at the national and international level for its specialization in infrastructure projects. Its purpose is to plan, structure, contract, manage, and evaluate concession projects and other forms of PPPs, mainly in public transport and related infrastructure. Based on this, since its inception, ANI has developed the 4G program, a portfolio of projects with investments of more than USD60 billion. It is considered the most important infrastructure program in the region. This has caught the attention of large construction companies and financial institutions worldwide. Thus, companies from more than 20 countries have participated in the development of these bidding processes, reflecting the interest in such projects in the country. Foreign investment funds such as CDPQ and the Chicago Pension Fund and investment funds such as Blackrock, Macquarie, and John Laing have invested in the secondary market in ANI projects. There has been an extensive effort to attract foreign investment in these projects, leading to business opportunities at the local level.

What are the goals set by ANI for 2020 and beyond?
The main challenge in 2020 is to continue the reactivation of 4G projects. Now, we have 22 reactivated ones, six that we hope to reactivate during the 1H2020, and one with significant drawbacks. We also intend to move forward with the implementation of OECD corporate governance standards for the agency and issue the policy document CONPES for the fifth generation of concessions that promote environmental and social projects. This will allow us to consolidate the structuring for projects that will soon be awarded. We also have CONPES 3918 of 2018 and the National Development Plan 2018-2022 in which some strategies were prioritized, such as the reactivation and implementation of programs and projects for construction and maintenance of the country's road network, upgrading railroads, strengthening air transport, improve urban mobility, and efficient and safe logistics. These strategies have also been set out in the Pact for Transport and Logistics for Competitiveness and Regional Integration, where we contribute to the objective of sustainable development, industry, innovation, and infrastructure.