Investing in Colombia: Video Roundup
Change has come to Colombia. The South American nation was not so long ago synonymous with narcotics trafficking, violent revolutionary groups and shocking assassinations of prosecutors and judges.
But history has turned a page. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has been successful in his crackdown on criminal behavior: Kidnappings -- the stuff of both radicals and drug cartels -- have dropped to 95 for the first half of 2007 from 1,600 in the same period in 2002. And the murder rate in Medellin -- once known as the cocaine capital of the world -- is lower than that of Baltimore, Maryland.
Uribe has also worked to lower interest rates, makling the country's debt more attractive to foreign investors. Colombia's GDP grew 6.8% in 2006, and the Colombia Stock Exchange Index (IGBC) is up a staggering 1300% since 2001. Can this growth be sustained, and can Uribe maintain public safety? CNBC examined what is being hailed as the "extreme emerging market."
Here's a sampling of our coverage.
New Crops: Manufacturing and Stocks
CNBC's Trish Regan interviews Juan Pablo Cordoba Garces, president of the Colombian Securities Exchange. The CSE has only 97 companies traded daily, but its market capitalization has soared in recent years.
Regan also pays a visit to a Medellin textile plant, which has seen its sales climb 60% over the past three years.
'Very Strong' Fundamentals
Joyce Chang, global head of emerging markets research at J.P. Morgan, told "Squawk on the Street" that Colombia "really isn't a retail market -- but the underlying fundamentals have been very strong." She believes "this is a market that's geared more toward institutional investors."
"It still looks very compelling to us," Chang declared.
Chang said that $6 billion of inflows have been driving Colombia's "record" first half, and says that "much of the investment" has gone into construction and infrastructure. She also points to commodities -- agricultural products, metals and oil -- which make up 60% of Colombian exports.
CNBC's Trish Regan interviewed President Alvaro Uribe on his nation's turnaround and why investors should trust Colombia's new-found "stable roots."
"We have introduced a set of tax incentives," said Uribe. "We have a law allowing the government to sign agreements with the private sector, to guarantee to investors the stability of the rules."
Uribe says the secure state is here to stay: "For years, this country was without the political will to defeat the terrorist groups." But under his party, the "strongest will" has prevailed. He says that even paramilitary groups allegedly linked to his government have been "demilitarized."