In order to increase foreign investment, Costa Rica has to reduce bureaucracy, produce more engineering graduates and provide better transportation and logistical infrastructure.
These were some of the big picture goals newly elected President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla Miranda pointed to during an exclusive interview this week with Nearshore Americas Founder and Editorial Director Kirk Laughlin, at the Presidential House in San Jose.
During the interview, Chinchilla expanded on what Costa Rica is doing to become more competitive globally, why Asia is such a big target for trade now and into the future and also what she is personally committed to doing to halt the expanding presence of narcotics traffickers in Costa Rica.
Although in office for just two months, the sense among many Ticos is ¨Laura¨, as she prefers to be called, is settling in very comfortably as chief executive of this nation of four million people. She is praised for being decisive when necessary, but also blazing a path of her own that is distinct from her mentor and predecessor Nobel Peace Prize winner and two time president; Oscar Arias.
Yet, she has a variety of complex issues to tackle. Movement toward a liberalized telecom market which effectively breaks the current monopoly has moved along at a glacial pace, despite commitments the country made to open its telecom market under the CAFTA treaty ratified in 2008. Exports were hit hard last year and the economy declined by 2.5%. Costa Rica also ranks 121st out of 183 countries in the 2010 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, a clear indicator that a slow moving bureaucratic establishment can have a stifling effect on innovation and invesment.
Yet the Tico population enjoys the highest standard of living in the region. Unemployment is at about 6% currently and the average annual salary is about $7,00o.
The ¨Laura¨ interview will be broadcast on the Nearshore Newsdesk channel of Nearshore Americas very soon. Keep checking back or sign up for our newsletter to ensure you don”t miss it!