Peruvian Construction Firm Graña y Montero Wins $135 million USD Bid to Build Schools for 14 Cities in Colombia
Peruvian construction company Graña y Montero will build schools in 14 cities in southwestern Colombia after winning the contract with a $135 million USD bid. In all, the firm will add 3,000 classrooms to the country over three years as a part of the government’s Mas Educada program, an initiative to improve the nation’s schools that is paid for by its Educational Infrastructure Financing Fund (FFIE).
In 2014, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos spawned skeptics and optimism when he proclaimed that the nation would be the most educated in Latin America by 2025. The president pointed to the Korea and Singapore models of education driving prosperity, but it remains an ambitious goal for a country that has long lagged its regional peers
The education head of the Santos cabinet highlighted the fiscal challenge ahead. “We have the highest budget ever for education, but we need more,” said Gina Parody, the nation’s minister of education, in September 2015, according to Semana magazine. She noted that Colombia’s spending compared to others remains low. “Chile invests $4,500 a year per student,” said Parody. “We, with the devaluation, invest around 2.5 million pesos, or $800. In the OECD, the average is $ 8,400 per student per year. There begins the inequality.”
Graña y Montero has been in operation for more than 80 years and worked extensively on projects of all sorts in Colombia. One of its subsidiaries, CAM Colombia Multiservicios S.A.S, won a $63 million USD bid in January to provide engineering and technical services for the Colombian company Electricaribe. That contract is for five years, with an option of extending it for two additional years, according to the firm.
In 2014, the company also paid $78 million USD for a 70% stake in Morelco, a Colombian firm that specializes in construction, the operation and maintenance of oil and gas, infrastructure, and public services. According to Morelco chief Arturo Serna Henao, the Peruvian firm saw the acquisition as a great way to get involved in projects tied to the nation’s massive, $30 billion dollar “4G” infrastructure project to transform the nation’s roads, bridges, and tunnels. He says that Morelco also may bid for work on Bogotá’s planned underground metro system.
“[Construction] is undoubtedly the sector of the economy that is the most dynamic and that has created great expectations — not only locally but abroad,” Serna told El Tiempo in August 2015.