$300bn to turn Mexico into LatAm’s ‘logistics platform’

A third of that will be used to develop transportation and communications infrastructure through to 2018.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (pictured) has put infrastructure front and centre of his six-year term, with a pledge to spend over $300 billion developing it across the country. 

“The infrastructure programme we are presenting today has been designed to convert Mexico into a high-quality global logistics centre,” Pena Nieto said in a speech yesterday. “The world’s most advanced economies, those that have positioned themselves as centres that attract and retain investment, are those economies that have forcefully developed their infrastructure,” he added. 

The $300 billion infrastructure programme spans 2013 to 2018 and is earmarking $100 billion of public and private funds to develop Mexico’s transportation and telecommunications infrastructure. Specifically, the Mexican government proposes to spend $46 billion on transport infrastructure and over $55 billion on the telecommunications sector. 

Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) said it will build and modernise close to 5,500 kilometres of highways and expressways and some 371 kilometres of railways. Citing the country’s 11,500-kilometre coastline, the SCT said it wants to turn Mexico into a shipping powerhouse and proposes to boost its ports capacity by 60 percent. 

The rest of Pena Nieto’s investment programme includes opening up state oil monopoly Pemex to more private sector investment as well as further investments in the energy and water sectors. 

Mexico’s previous five-year infrastructure plan was worth about $234 billion, covering over 300 projects across all infrastructure sectors. 

Filipe Calderon, President Pena Nieto’s predecessor, also took several steps to attract infrastructure investment into Mexico, convincing big names like Macquarie to open up shop in the country. His government also opened the sector to some $15 billion of pension fund investment via the creation of capital development certificates. 

Not content with having a development bank – Banobras – to help provide debt to the country’s infrastructure, Calderon created the National Infrastructure Fund – Fonadin – to lend a hand on the equity side, especially for socially important infrastructure projects. 

Pena Nieto’s infrastructure programme through to 2018 will be submitted to Congress in September.