El Financiero Columnist Jonathan Ruiz explores whether the experience of Querétaro can be replicated in Yucatan…
MERIDA — It is a gathering of parents of children from a private primary school. In this classroom there are 20 adults tonight, each one representing an infant who here saturated the walls with drawings.
Except for the warm breeze that sneaks in every time someone walks in or out the door, you could say that this is not Yucatan. No one here, perhaps a woman, speaks with a local accent.
There are Americans, Spaniards, Venezuelans and, of course, Mexicans mainly from Mexico City. Many people are migrating to Merida, the capital. It could be said that it is for safety. But before we reach conclusions, let us make a list.
Brewer AB InBev, owner of the Budweiser and Corona brands, recently announced that it would build a new plant in Yucatan. That was actually the only announcement with wide coverage. The German Leoni, who will make wiring systems for Mercedes Benz and Tesla cars, the Saint Gobain Glass of Mexico or the flour giant Bunge, had less coverage. The three also build new plants in the state.
For the first time since it started keeping track, Yucatan could exceed one billion dollars of foreign direct investment in a six-year term. The current governor, Rolando Zapata Bello, will conclude his term in 2018.
The seed of the first industrialization of the state germinated. Next to the brewery located in the unknown village of Hunucmá, the Universal Containers factory was installed, which will make soda and beer cans for Mexico and export to Cuba. On the same avenue, a concrete frame like the one that identifies the industrial parks announces a new Central Business Park Mérida.
Between these two sites, the producer of pork Kekén already is building a plant. This company is from Grupo Kuo, of Fernando Senderos Mestre, whose investments in Yucatan total 10 billion pesos, according to government sources.
On top of these add Walmart de México that will install its regional distribution center that will cost 650 million pesos and promises 500 direct jobs.
Instead of asking for stevedores, Walmart asked for statistical experts in logistics, says the creator of the new Yucatecan strategy, Ernesto Herrera Novelo, Secretary of Economic Development, who likes to compare his state with those of the Bajio. Bachoco has just opened an automated egg production center.
Then local businesses. Emilio Loret de Mola launched the gas station chain La Gas, which aims to reach the center of the country, and Bepensa, owner of a Coca Cola bottler, issued 600 million pesos bonds in June to finance Finbe, a business which provides credit for, among other things, car purchases, in this company headed by José Manuel Madero Garza, which diversifies. Apparently, it goes for another billion on the Stock Exchange.
In the center of the city they build hotels next to the new International Congress Center that cost the state some 1.3 billion pesos.
Soon, the wind turbines will supply the region with electricity and talk about the possible arrival of a regasification plant, which, if implemented, would change the dynamics of the country by bringing natural gas to this region. The Polytechnic University of Yucatan is also underway and the information technology projects I wrote about earlier.
The industry arrived for security, no doubt, but also for the defense of the rule of law that prevails in the entity, investment in road infrastructure, the constant expansion of the port of Progreso and, of course, the reactivation of the Chiapas Mayab train, which now at least travel at a speed close to 40 kilometers per hour. It is possible that as happened with Querétaro, Yucatan will increase its economic relevance. Its economy is already growing at 6.3 percent annually.
Could the secure environment be broken? I cannot predict this, but the salaries of the state police have just increased by 50 percent and Escudo Yucatan, a program for society to protect itself, is being reinforced.
In any case, the peninsula can not contain the effervescence. They say that Yucatan is not being re-industrialized, here industry arrives … for the first time.