ASUNCION – Spain’s Belarmino Fernandez, who in November will receive the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, believes that Paraguay will continue to be the “star” of the regional economy, though investors who come to this South American country are not necessarily guaranteed success.
Fernandez, born in the Asturian town of Arcallana – the name he chose for the group of companies he founded 30 years ago and which includes real estate and finance divisions – told EFE that Paraguay will experience at least five “good” years, thanks to the spectacular growth in previous years and the fact that the current government has administered its resources wisely.
“We are benefiting from previous years that were very good, and that were favored by the high price of soybeans. We also have the most transparent government ever, a Cabinet of young, smart ministers that aren’t here to steal. With that in mind, I believe the coming years will be good,” Fernandez said.
One thing that will maintain Paraguay as the “leader of the regional neighborhood,” the businessman said, is the government’s program for modernizing the nation’s infrastructure, one of its most urgent necessities.
The government of President Horacio Cartes is also promoting these improvements to attract foreign investment, and with a combination of public and private capital.
Fernandez said that investment in infrastructure “has a place” in Paraguay, unlike sectors like construction, which, according to the Spanish businessman, has seen an increase in supply far beyond the country’s demand, chiefly due to the massive investment from other countries.
“In construction the excessive supply does not correspond to the demand. There has been too much building, mainly in Asuncion’s so-called corporative axis, which means that luxury apartments and offices built to be sold in a year will end up being sold in 20 years,” he said.
Nonetheless, Fernandez said that this does not presage a real estate bubble, since this investment is mostly made with private capital and not by financial institutions.
Fernandez will be honored next November with the Entrepreneur of the Year award, created by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce for Spanish business owners or executives of Spanish firms in Paraguay.