As a leading port and industrial center in the northwestern seaboard of South America, the Ecuadorean city is now emerging as a logistics hub for Pacific region trade. Hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from multinational companies, has already been invested for significant infrastructure upgrading.
Some 15 projects including public-private partnerships (PPP) will be unveiled at the “Guayaquil Roadshow: Investment & Tourism Forum” – subtitle “Logistic Platform of the Pacific” – which takes place in the Grand Hyatt in midtown Manhattan.
Business and investment opportunities could potentially total several billion dollars in transport and logistics, renewable energy, construction and urban management, tourism, fishing and aquaculture, agribusiness, education and financial services, organizers said. The event is aimed at companies in these target sectors plus law firms, specialists in project financing and consultants. While the prime focus is American companies looking for niches in dynamic emerging markets, organizers are also working with foreign chambers of commerce to involve Asian and European companies.
Event sponsors include the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Guayaquil city authorities, various logistics companies and America’s Dole Food Company, which has huge operations in Ecuador producing organic bananas.
Guayaquil stands out in Ecuador and indeed much of South American as a go-ahead, pro-business city. It pioneered PPPs to bring private investment into critical infrastructure and urban development, and by the end of this year it will be the only city in the country with 100% sewerage, piped drinking water and paved roads.
Peter Gilmore, general manager of Dole in Ecuador, said that perhaps excluding a few places in Brazil, he didn’t think “any city in Latin America has changed this much in 10 years. It’s a tremendous turn around.”
Jaime Nebot, the latest in a succession of pro-business mayors and one of 11 scheduled speakers, said the secret lay in honest and transparent administration that puts service to the people in first place: “What we have done is conceptually simple, although the execution is more complex.” Nebot said that no less than 85% of city revenues go to investment and public services, with just 15% spent on “nonproductive expenses.”
City fathers have promoted major urban renewal and renovation of the city’s historic old neighborhoods, seeking to boost tourism – Guayaquil is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands, with almost half a million visitors passing through each year. Privatization has won the city’s upgraded airport recognition from the Montreal-based Airports Council International as best in the world in its class, while international operators have poured over US$200 million into modernizing existing seaports. Now there are plans – to be discussed at the September 18th event – for major new deep-water facilities with a free-port and potentially a second airport.
Additional information about the “Guayaquil Roadshow: Investment & Tourism Forum” can be found on the event site: http://www.nationroadshow.com/guayaquil.