The Economist: «Madrid is booming. Growing while keeping its cool will be the tricky part»
Los inversores iberoamericanos se sienten bienvenidos a España y en particular a Madrid.
Todavía recuerdo cuando hace años le dijimos al alcalde de Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida, que Madrid se estaba convirtiendo en el nuevo Miami. Además estamos viendo solo la primera ola del tsunami. Los hijos de las élites de América Latina se están educando aquí. Y ellos protagonizarán con su visión y sus startups la próxima ola.
Estas son las ideas que tuve la oportunidad de compartir en este artículo de The Economist. Espero que os agrade.
“Just to be something, I’ll be a madrileño.” Not a stirring sentiment, and yet the line is part of the official anthem of Madrid, which has often “just been something”. King Felipe II made the middling town his new capital in 1561 in part simply because it was dead central and lacked competing powerful institutions; amazingly in such a Catholic country, Madrid did not even get its own completed cathedral until 1993. But later, as Spain’s empire declined, so did the profile of Madrid.
Now Madrid is having a moment. Tourists are flocking, but also would-be residents. They include Americans fleeing toxic politics, northern Europeans seeking an easy-living big city, and most of all Latin Americans. Some come to work in construction, care or hospitality. Others are rich Venezuelans and Mexicans fleeing confiscatory populism. The foreign population has grown by 20% since 2016, much of that Latino, making Madrid a growing rival to Miami as the “capital of Latin America”. The Madrid region is richer than the Rome one, and not much less wealthy than Berlin.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida, Madrid’s mayor, says a turning point came with the pandemic, when Ms Ayuso battled the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, to keep businesses open. Covid-19 took a terrible toll, but Madrid emerget with a reputation for oponness. «Before, it was the best-kept secret. Now it is the place to be», says Mr Almeida, uttering the final phrase in English.
The attractions include culture low and high. For a long time the Prado museum’s stuffy, traditional presentation of a brilliant collection was not enough to attract foreigners away from the coasts. Now it anchors a trio of stylish museums (with the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza) that welcome over 7am visitors a year. But the museum of the Bernabeu stadium, home to the Real Madrid football club, attracts over a million a yer too, and the city has just nabbed the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix race from Barcelona. The number of musicals in the city has doubled to 14-15 dince the pandemic. Cheap tapas are being joined by an increasingly sophisticated gastronomy, often drawing on Spanish regions far from Madrid.
Madrid’s weight in Spain is growing too. In 1980 the region accounted for 15% of Spanish GDP. In 2022 that was 19%, expanding even faster than Madrid’s share of Spain’s population. In 2028-22 the region attracted about 71% of foreign investment in Spain, withe the next highest region, Catalonia, at 11%. The signal that «you are welcome» is powerful for inverstors, says Núria Vilanova of CEAPI, a group that promotes links with Latin America. And thought Spanish universities are middling, its business schools are an exception. Madrid has campuses of three that feature high in global rankings.