Costa Rica’s government has announced it will invest nearly US$10 billion to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.
A US$9.526 billion program will see the government invest cash in building infrastructure – including roads, bridges, hospitals, and airports – as well as tweaking regulations related to labor and teleworking.
President Carlos Alvarado said the Central American nation’s most important challenge is to “generate more jobs, grow more and improve the situation of all households,” The Tico Times reported.
The unemployment rate in Costa Rica has risen to more than 11%, while the country’s central bank has cut its forecast for the GDP from 3.2% to 2.2%.
Reports say the government is also planning to offer interest-free loans to small businesses in the tourism sector, one of the major earners of foreign currency in the country. Tourism contributes between 9% and 10% of Costa Rica’s GDP.
Costa Rica is a hotspot for global services providers in Central America. In recent years, the government is increasingly spending money on scholarships for English instructional programs.
But economists are expressing concern about the country’s growing public debt, which has doubled over the past 10 years accounting for 53% of gross domestic product.