VI Global LATAM Report

Investment by Latin American companies in Spain increased by 138% to 2,835 million euros in 2023

·  Spain strengthens its position as the world's second largest destination for Latin American investment, after the United States, and first in the EU

· The startup "revolution" with international reach is transforming the Latin American business landscape  


Spain has strengthened its position as the world's second largest investment destination for Latin American companies, which grew by 138% in 2023 to reach 2,835 million euros. Latin American capital thus consolidates its presence in Spain in a remarkable way, with a rise in the last decade of more than 20,000 million euros.

These are some of the data collected in the sixth edition of the Global LATAM 2024 report, led by ICEX-Invest in Spain together with the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), presented today by the CEO of ICEX Spain Export and Investment, Elisa Carbonell, and the Ibero-American Secretary General, Andrés Allamand.

The report covers the origin, destination and sectors of Latin American investment in Spain and includes, for the first time, an analysis of the expansion of start-ups; a study on public policies for internationalisation and how new technologies, such as AI, can contribute to business internationalisation. This year, it also includes the first survey on Latin American investment.

During this conference, the CEO of ICEX stressed that "Spain is reinforcing its position as the second world destination for investment flows from Latin American companies, after the United States, and is consolidating its position as the gateway to Europe for Latin American investment, above all, but also to North Africa".

In his opinion, Spanish direct investment in Latin America and the links it creates is one of the most defining characteristics of the country's economy and "the fact that in recent years the complementary phenomenon of Latin American investment in Spain has been taking place is excellent news". He concluded, therefore, that "collaboration and the exchange of knowledge can generate synergies and strengthen economic relations between the two regions".

Andrés Allamand highlighted that the economic data for 2023 have exceeded the expectations of the beginning of the year, thanks to economic figures that speak of a year of consolidation of Foreign Direct Investment from Latin America abroad, with 47,743 million dollars; the increase in investment flows in mergers and the positive evolution of Latin American investments around the world in greenfield projects, the most interesting, in terms of job creation, wealth and high added value.

As an example, he pointed out that the three largest greenfield investments in 2023 went to the production of green hydrogen, the extraction of minerals for the development of electric cars and the promotion of e-commerce, all of which confirms "the region's commitment to the green and digital transition".

During the presentation, the representative in Europe of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Fazia Pusterla, highlighted the bank's policies in favour of private sector development and entrepreneurship in Latin America and its alignment with EU policies in the region.

More than 600 companies and 47,000 direct jobs in Spain
In this context, Latin America is the fourth largest investor in Spain, preceded by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and ahead of European economic partners of the importance of Germany and Italy, according to the VI Global LATAM report, which assesses the "consolidation and increased interest in Spain as a destination for Latin American capital" in recent years.

In addition, twenty countries in the Latin American region have investments in Spain and constitute an "important business community" with more than 600 companies and 47,000 direct jobs generated.

In total, accumulated investment from Latin America now amounts to 47.15 billion euros in Spain. If we add to these figures the Latin American investments in Foreign Securities Holding Entities or holding companies (ETVE) are added to these figures, their volume would stand at 66,883 million euros, which represents 11% of the total investment received by Spain.

Last year's figures show that a total of eleven Latin American countries invested in Spain. Specifically, 58% of this investment corresponded to Mexico (1,645 million euros) -the fifth largest investor in Spain-, due to important business projects in the food sector; the chemical industry; the manufacture of mineral products and construction. The second largest investor was Honduras (501 million), followed by Argentina (196 million) and Uruguay (101 million).

In 2023, moreover, 25 greenfield investment projects were announced in Spain, with an average investment per project of 15.8 million euros, the highest volume in the last decade, which seems to consolidate a trend towards a higher investment profile than in recent years. The average number of jobs created per company in this type of project was 67, one of the highest figures since records have been kept.

Strong resilience of Latin American investment
Overall, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) issued by Latin America as a whole in 2023 amounted to USD 47,743 million, 38% lower than in 2022, marked by one-off high-volume operations. Overall, Latin America's investment interest is consolidating at higher levels than before the pandemic.

For this reason, the report considers its evolution remarkable and highlights the "strong resilience" of Latin American investment last year, as it took place in a complex economic environment, characterised by high global geopolitical tension and a financial context of high interest rates.

In terms of the number of projects, the technology sector remains the main generator of transnational investment initiatives by Latin American companies, due to both the strong expansion of service companies and the expansion of start-ups that have become large firms.

It also confirms a strong increase in investment projects related to climate change - which was the sector that attracted the largest volume of capital in 2023 - led by large companies in the region that are addressing decarbonisation processes and the development of clean energy.