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Monthly Snapshots - December 2019: Other LATAM Countries Edition

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

IMB and Chamber of Fintech partner to transform banking in Argentina

U.S multinational computer hardware developer IBM has partnered with the Chamber of Fintech in Argentina to support disruption in the country’s technology and banking sectors. IBM will provide the Chamber of Fintech cutting-edge resources for Argentina’s up-and-coming fintechs. These will include training materials, courses, workshops and Seminars. In addition to this, the participating organisations will have access to IBM’s Public Cloud technology through the “Startup with IBM” entrepreneurial program. This program is designed to encourage entrepreneurs by equipping them with the cloud-based domain which in turn will provide them access to various tech platforms such as blockchain, Big Data, analytics, Machina Learning, AI, as well as security provisions.

As part of “Startup with IBM”, entrepreneurs will also develop their own products and services with IBM’s suite. This could even allow them to obtain subsidised credits while earning up to US$120,000 annually. “We are very happy to join IBM in this journey of development and strengthening of our industry,” stated Mariano Biocca, general coordinator of the Argentine Chamber of Fintech. “Fintech companies are leveraging on technologies that allow robust growth. So, having a partner like IBM is strategic to empower start-ups in our chamber, giving them access to more and better technology.”

This collaboration gives major potential to stimulate entrepreneurial growth in Argentina, IBM has been around for nearly a century. Now, the tech conglomerate intends to up the ante for both traditional and alternative banks.

All factors considered, this is a big step forward for the Fintech industry in Argentina, as it aspires to be an innovation hub in South America in the near future.

Chinese rail, roads and buses arrive in Colombia

Last year, Chinese companies made headway into Colombia as the South American city looks to improve public transport. Their were four main business deals; however the standout deal was regarding the long-awaited metro line in the capital Bogotá.

The company that won the bid is made up of APCA Transmimetro, a consortium 85% owned by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which is a subsidiary of the state-run giant China Construction Communications Company (CCCC). The remaining 15% is held by Xi’an Metro Company, a company from Shaanxi province that operates mainly in China and led the construction and running of the Xi’an subway. In the end, competing with a single rival and having submitted the lowest bid of 13.8 billion pesos (US$4.5 billion), the Chinese company won the Bogotá metro contract.

Its mission will be to build the first line of this elevated metro, comprising 23.96km of viaduct and 16 stations, crossing the Colombian capital from south to north. The Bogotá Mayor’s Office estimates that it will be able to transport 72,000 passengers per hour, helping to reduce pressure on the Transmilenio bus rapid transit system. The characteristic red buses, which now account for 50% of Bogotá’s transport, can no longer meet demand. ​

The metro is not the only part of Bogotá’s transport system awaiting attention. Another key project is a commuter tram-train line that will connect the city with four of its most populous neighbouring municipalities. The project, known as the Regiotram de Occidente, will start operating in 2023. An electric-powered tram-train, it will travel the 41km separating the centre of Bogotá from Facatativá, stopping at 17 stations as it traverses the suburbs of Madrid, Funza and Mosquera.

This is a revolutionary step forward for Colombia, this project has been talked about for years and this year construction will finally begin.

Siemens' CCGT conversions boost Bolivia power by 1GW

Termoeléctrica del Sur, Entre Ríos and Warnes, Bolivia’s three largest thermal power plants, have been inaugurated and expanded to efficient combined cycle mode.

This extension, facilitated by Siemens, is aimed at helping Bolivia continue with its energy development plan and help the country meet its goal of becoming the energy heart of South America. The power plants, owned and operated by Ende Andina SAM, add more than 1 GW of electrical power to the current maximum capacity and to the Bolivian national grid.

The initial contract with Siemens was signed in 2016. The power plants were already equipped with 13 Siemens gas turbines and the associated generators for operation in simple-cycle mode, to provide Bolivia with fast generation of electricity. “Siemens has developed a unique solution to support Bolivia’s ongoing efforts to improve access to electricity for its growing population and developing economy,” said Karim Amin, CEO of power generation at Siemens Gas and Power. .

Ecuador on target to smash shrimp export record

Industry experts have estimated that Ecuador has achieved a new shrimp export record - with over 1.4 billion pounds, worth US $3.6 billion, thought to have been exported during 2019.

The latest data shows that 1.2 billion pounds, worth US $3.375 billion, were exported between January and the end of November, an increase of 27 percent compared to the same period of 2018. And National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA), believes that, December's sales would have helped the country to a clear export record - over 1.4 billion pounds, worth US 3.6 billion - and cement Ecuador as the world’s second largest shrimp exporter after India.

José Antonio Camposano, president of the CNA, told El Comercio that this increase was largely due to investments made over the last five years, which have enabled the sector to improve shrimp genetics and nutrition, improved husbandry techniques and the introduction of automatic feeders, as well as increase the volume of ponds used by the sector.

According to Camposano, the advances have allowed producers to grow larger and more robust shrimps.

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