ALEJANDRO MURAT

Mexico 2021 | DIPLOMACY & ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

The State of Oaxaca has developed an atmosphere that invites private investment and plays on its strengths.

Alejandro Murat

What are the main projects that the state is currently developing?

The most important aspect is infrastructure projects, as today we have more than 100 infrastructure projects in the state for MXN3,500 million and around MXN10,000 million in government infrastructure projects, especially the Inter Oceanic corridor and three highways: one that connects Oaxaca to the coast; one that connects Oaxaca to the east; and one that connects both oceans. We are also building public goods infrastructure like a new transport system for the city of Oaxaca in the metropolitan area. Also, regionally speaking, we are building important regional highways on the coast and renovating markets. We have been able to renovate more than 31 and are moving forward with new markets. Also, we are doing projects in public services like water, sewage, and electricity, which are all extremely important for our state. This is now the fourth year of growth that we have been able to sustain. In 2020 this is especially important as the economy is projected to contract by perhaps 10%, meaning there are only six states growing this year. One of them is Oaxaca because of all this infrastructure we are generating. Now that our policies on the pandemic are more controlled, the second part of the plan is our tourism sector, which is extremely sensitive to changes in the economy. Now that we have a yellow rating for the pandemic, we were able to generate a 60% occupancy rate in our hotels during the last Day of the Dead. We hope to maintain this level of growth. Moving forward, Oaxaca will be able to be extremely strong in tourism. Two important media operators focused on tourism and recognized Oaxaca as the best place in the world to visit for travel and leisure, which gives us excellent momentum. We have been able to push forward some great media coverage through important brand names such as Netflix and others to develop a worldwide Oaxaca brand.

What challenges did you face positioning the state of Oaxaca as a magnet for investment?

We lacked a platform to maintain a level of growth in the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors and subsequently established an action plan to strengthen those three areas. For example, in the primary sector, which is agriculture, this year we will complete our first agro park and consolidate two new plants to export different foods like limes, milk, and mangoes, where Mexico is the top producer but was not generating added value. We are now generating the added value so that we will be able to export. In the secondary sector, which is the most important for us right now, the Inter Oceanic corridor will not only change Oaxaca and the south of Mexico but will be a world player; it is more than a canal. Many try to compare this project to the Panama Canal, but that is only one line of business. The most important part is that we will have a value-added industrial corridor, which is its most important competitive and comparative advantage compared to other corridors in this hemisphere. Other advantages include connectivity, which is why we are building these two highways, and we also have two airports in the region. Then, there is energy; the most important element here is that natural gas has arrived. Another big element is the special economic zones, which are areas of around more than 100ha that will have fiscal and regulatory benefits. If we include Mexico's 11 international treaties, then we clearly have the right stuff to have an advantage, commercially speaking, in addition to the fiscal and regulatory advantages.