ZEEs Pushing the Development of Lagging StatesThu, 01/11/2018 - 10:21
Q: What investment agenda is the Ministry of Economic Development pushing for Guerrero’s infrastructure development?
A: For Governor Astudillo’s administration it is important to increase investor confidence in Guerrero. We want investors to see the local government as an ally that aim to provide legal certainty. The hospitality real estate sector is attracting significant investments, especially in Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, which carries more jobs creation. To contribute to this investment boom, we are working with other government institutions to enhance security. For example, The New International Airport of Acapulco was recently inaugurated. This infrastructure allows the state to increase its tourism supply and logistics. Previously, Acapulco only had eight flights available; today, it has more than 20 national flights and international arrivals from the US and Canada. We are also fomenting the arrival of cruise ships to the state, with 35 arrivals in 2018 compared to six before. Zihuatanejo has also experienced significant growth due to tourist inflows and the development of the Costa Grande Highway. We want to renovate its tourism area, which includes the Pescador Promenade, to provide a better and safer image.
One key project for the state’s infrastructure is the modernization and expansion of the highway that connects Coyuca de Benitez with Acapulco, providing traffic relief for visitors to the state. Also, to attract more tourism from Puebla, the Siglo XXI road is being expanded to connect it with El Sol highway. For this endeavor, the state is also investing in the creation of several roads, such as those from San Marcos to Ometepec or from Tlapa to Puebla. We are convinced that this kind of infrastructure investment will enhance the development of Guerrero’s communities. Regarding the financing of all these projects, main highways are being developed with federal funding, while local investment and minor projects are being carried out by the state government through its Ministry of Urban Development. It is remarkable that most of the companies constructing and developing are local, so we are giving our executives the chance to grow their companies and create more jobs for the state under the coordination of CMIC Guerrero.
Q: What is the ministry’s assessment of the ZEE implementation in Guerrero and how is it contributing in this process?
A: Guerrero is within the Lazaro Cardenas and La Union ZEE, so we are closely working with the government of Michoacan for its development to better capitalize on the potential that the Lazaro Cardenas Port provides both states. The ministry is also collaborating with ZEE and World Bank representatives, among others, to install a one-stop window so companies can obtain all permits required across all three levels of government in one place, simplifying the process and improving response times. I think that any challenge related to the implementation of ZEEs will be overcome as all government levels and other involved players have the best will and disposition to push the project. We are waiting for the definition of the final polygon for the Lazaro Cardenas and La Union ZEE and hopefully, companies will be able to start investing and operating in 2019. We already have an estimated initial investment of US$2.5 billion.
Regarding the infrastructure for developing the ZEE polygon, the ministry is promoting the International Airport of Zihuatanejo to improve the area’s logistics. I also believe that as the ZEE is developed, it will demand the infrastructure that it requires to keep growing. We are confident that ZEEs will contribute to developing lagging states such as Guerrero. Their inherent purpose is to bridge the development gap between the northern and southern states, helping to fight poverty in the state.
The ministry is working with a consulting firm on the creation of a pilot program to train SMEs, especially from La Union and Zihuatanejo, to become suppliers of the industries that will be established in the ZEE. There is a great deal of international interest in the ZEEs project.