This week, Mexico Infrastructure & Sustainability Review spoke to Guanajuato Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez, who told us about the automotive sector’s investment in Guanajuato real estate and the advice he would give to the next administration to bolster the state’s growth.
Q: What would you consider the highlights of your administration regarding new investment?
A: During this administration, we have consolidated Guanajuato as the biggest automotive cluster in Latin America. We have manufacturing facilities belonging to assembly plants such as Mazda, Honda, GM, and OEMs such as Ford and Volkswagen, while Toyota will shortly finalize the construction of its new venture in the country. By 2020, we expect Guanajuato will be the main vehicle producer in Mexico and Latin America.
In terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) we had projected a total of US$5 billion by the end of the administration but we will close our six-year period with almost US$13 billion in new projects. Consequently, we have had a great impact on the state’s unemployment rate, driving it to 3.5 percent, which is above the national average of 3.1 percent. Guanajuato has recently been among the main states regarding job creation and by the end of the administration, we will have generated 300,000 new positions. Only in 2017, 62,000 new jobs were created, leading to an average of 50,000 new positions per year.
Q: How have you helped Guanajuato become a pinnacle of the automotive industry in Mexico?
A: Human capital has been key for the development of Guanajuato. We are now the leading state in terms of training and in the opening of academic slots due to the industry’s talent demand. At the same time, educational institutions are gradually adapting their programs based on what companies require and our offering of robotics, nanotechnology, aeronautics and pharma engineers has increased considerably.
We have also worked extensively to ensure new investments have strong support. We wanted to close the administration with seven new industrial parks and the end result was 27 and an additional offering of 2,000ha of available space. We are growing beyond the traditional industrial corridor, offering companies new areas in the north and south of the state where there is more available talent looking for job opportunities. We are taking the industry to the employee, instead of trying to take the employee to the industry.
Q: Considering Guanajuato’s 2040 vision, what advice would you give to the next administration to maintain the state’ growth momentum?
A: Creating and maintaining the trust of new investors should be a priority. Our administration was built on trust and delivering on our promises regardless of the contracts we might sign. Especially in an uncertain environment, the best thing we can offer companies is confidence regarding their investment, no matter what. Furthermore, we must consider ourselves as account managers, which means that we must follow up on any relationship we establish with new investors. We are allies and partners throughout the lifetime of their investment and not just while the plant is being built.
Education must also be at the top of the list for the new administration. The government must continue supporting academic institutions and incentivizing the establishment of dual-education programs. At the same time, we must not lose our logistics competitiveness. By the end of the year, we will deliver the Celaya railway bypass and in our 2040 plan we foresee the construction of another bypass in Irapuato. Similarly, the government must focus its efforts on the development of an integrated mobility strategy that includes a passenger train for people that travel from one city to another on a daily basis. We also met with Hyperloop One in Los Angeles to learn about their project to build a hyperloop train that would go from Mexico to Queretaro, Leon and Guadalajara. We will pass that information to the new administration.
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