Export Development Canada has had a busy start to the New Year, opening a new permanent representation in Colombia and appointing a new chief.

EDC, the country’s export credit agency (ECA), will soon be giving Canadian companies a new foothold in Colombia with the new permanent representation in Bogota.

“EDC is deepening its roots in Colombia now so that it can help Canadian companies link into the supply chains of upcoming infrastructure, oil and gas, and mining project opportunities,” says Rajesh Sharma, senior vice-president and group head, global business development, in a recent release. Other key sectors for opportunity include power, gas transportation, road concessions, water supply and sanitation, and telecommunications.

An anticipated construction boom in Colombia may present a number of opportunities for EDC to bring more financing capacity the country, to the benefit of Canadian companies operating there. Canada is the fifth-largest source of global investment in Colombia, with Canadian investments in the country now at C$1.7bn with the largest growth occurring between 2011 and 2012.

Sharma says EDC will be focusing on the so-called “multilatinas” which are regionally-based corporations with operations that expand throughout Latin America. Colombian multilatinas, have geographic reach into markets like Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, and others.

Canadian exports to Colombia consist of cereals, machinery, coffee, paper and paper products, fertilisers, and electrical machinery. Merchandise exports from Canada to Colombia reached C$785mn in 2012, mostly in the resource and oil and gas sectors. Canada and Colombia have had a free trade agreement since 2011.

EDC has also appointed a new chief. Benoit Daignault, previously senior vice-president, financing and investments at the bank, was appointed president and CEO. Daignault takes over from Pierre Gignac, who was serving as acting president and CEO when he took over from Steven Poloz who went on the head the Bank of Canada.