Based in Bogotá, Eid’s title is commercial director of the Latin American Performance and Performance Monomers business and Dow president in the Andean Region. His mandate is the development of business strategies and the creation of initiatives for generating value and financial results. Apart from a long history at Dow and other companies, he launched his own marketing firm focuses on non-traditional approaches, which may be a crucial tool in creating value for Dow.
The economic prowess of the Andean nations varies substantially, and exports are a key factor in the equation. Over the first three quarters of 2018, regional exports were up by around 10 percent over the year-earlier period, led by export growth in Ecuador at 16 percent, and both Colombia and Bolivia at 14, according to a December report by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Colombia presents a strong case for lifting the Andean region, with projected growth of 4.8 percent over the coming decade, according to a recent report by ratings agency Fitch. While ECLAC projects a lower number, it does expect GDP to rise by one percent per year. Such growth is translating into a larger middle class, which is expected to represent over a third of the population by 2020.
The decreasing inflation rate in Colombia will empower this rising middle class. Over the past four years, consumer inflation has dropped from 6.8 percent to 3.3 percent, ECLAC reports. At the same time, Colombia’s Central Bank has eased interest rates to encourage spending.
Colombia’s workforce also is expanding with the entrance of Venezuelan ex-pats. Some 45,000 people cross the border from Venezuela into Colombia daily, seeking to earn a living and access to goods and services that are difficult to find in Venezuela, Reuters reports. Colombia already hosts some 1.2 million Venezuelan migrants and Bogotá is the primary destination of the economic refugees, the agency estimates.
The World Bank recently analyzed the Venezuela-Colombia dynamic and found that for every half a million people of working age that migrate from Venezuela to Colombia, the economic growth in Colombia could accelerate by 0.2 percentage points per year.
In a separate study on Colombia, the World Bank found that only 38 percent of adults over the age of 15 have a bank account, while 100 percent have a cell phone. Extending the challenge of reaching such a consumer class, ECLAC reports that 48.3 percent of those employed in Colombia work in the undocumented informal economy. These statistics point to a strong mobile marketing opportunity for Dow and other paint manufacturers in the region.
Dow faces substantial competition in Colombia from domestic paint companies like Grupo Orbis, which has begun the development of a domestic chain of Do-it-Yourself stores named Master Pro that will feature subsidiary Pintuco’s full line of paints and coatings.