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Editorial comment

Latin America’s cities have been receiving increased international attention of late. In July, Buenos Aires won its bid to host the Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018. The infrastructure investment that accompanies such an event will likely provide a welcome boost to Argentina’s construction industry. Construction activity in the country was down 3.2% in 2012; however the construction index grew 6.6% y/y in June 2013, suggesting signs of improvement.

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Buenos Aires’ Olympic bid beat that of Medellín, Colombia, a city that has gained widespread acclaim for its urban regeneration projects. In March, Medellín was named ‘Innovative City of the Year 2012’ by the Wall Street Journal and Citi in partnership with the Urban Land Institute. The award recognises the architectural, cultural, social and infrastructural projects carried out in the city, such as a 384 m outdoor escalator running to the notorious Comuna 13 neighbourhood. According to a recent Timetric report, infrastructure construction represented around 52.8% of Colombian construction in 2012. Going forward, the Ministry of Transportation is expected to invest US$56 billion in the country’s transport infrastructure to 2021, and 8000 km of new roads are to be built by 2020 – all good news for Colombia’s construction materials industry.

Latin America has also caught the eye of international equipment suppliers. In May, several German companies took part in the VDMA ‘Cement + Minerals’ road show, which visited Peru, Chile and Brazil to promote the use of German technology in South America’s mining and cement sectors (see page 81 for more). Suppliers have also been increasing their presence in the region through new locations and expanded sites and services – FLSmidth has established a second Supercenter in Chile, Haver & Boecker Latinoamericana has expanded its facilities in Brazil and Malvern Instruments opened a new applications and demonstration laboratory in São Paulo in late 2012. You can read more about these expansions and an array of contract news on, both via our interactive regional insight map and dedicated ‘Contract News’ section.

Meanwhile, upgrade and expansion projects are in various stages of completion at several cement plants across Latin America. Cementos Chimborazo (Ecuador), Cementos Argos (Colombia), and UNACEM (Peru), provide details of these projects in this month’s Regional Report.

World Cement will be at both the XXX Technical Congress FICEM-APCAC in Lima and the VDZ Congress in Düsseldorf this month, as well as the 13th NCB International Seminar on Cement and Building Materials (India) and 18th Arab International Cement Conference and Exhibition (Jordan) later in the year, so do look out for us. In the meantime, if you are deciding which industry events you would like to attend in 2014, then be sure to visit and stay tuned to our Twitter feed for further announcements.