MONTEVIDEO – Executives of European companies hailed Uruguay on Wednesday as a prime investment destination in South America’s Southern Cone region, saying it inspired confidence because of its stability and strategic location between Brazil and Argentina.
Berthold Ebner (Germany), Carlo Zorzoli (Italy), Kurt Soland (Germany) and Claudio Lopez (Greece) offered that assessment as participants in the “Investment Opportunities in Uruguay” panel, a discussion kicked off by Uruguayan Economy Minister Danilo Astori and held on the opening day of the 1st European Investment Forum in Uruguay.
Zorzoli, Enel Group’s CEO for Brazil and Uruguay, said that latter country was small in area but boasted a very solid energy matrix and excelled in generating renewable energies like wind and solar.
He added that Uruguay possessed what Europe lacks in terms of natural resources and was in a favorable position going forward.
Claudio Lopez, CEO of Greek company Navios South American Logistics Inc., said Uruguay was a transparent and secure place to do business because government policy had remained largely consistent across several different administrations.
Ebner, CEO of BASF Services Americas, noted that as a producer of food for more than 70 million people worldwide Uruguay was an important investment destination in the agriculture and livestock sector.
Astori, meanwhile, said Uruguay once had had mediocre foreign investment results but had positioned itself in recent years as a prime destination for companies in the agribusiness, tourism and manufacturing sectors, as well as in global services, an industry that has taken hold more recently.
“Uruguay has managed to double its rate of investment over the past two years and surpassed Chile, one of Latin America’s leaders in terms of its GDP (gross domestic product) in relation to foreign investment,” he said.
Astori said Uruguay had diversified its economy and now was looking to make greater strides in the development of new technologies, with a particular focus on biotechnology and health care robotics.
The country, however, must do more in terms of infrastructure improvements and macroeconomic stability, he said, noting that those are key aspects for attracting investment in Uruguay and the rest of the world.