Latin America now being hailed as the fastest growing economic structure in the world has experts calling this century the Century of Latin America.
With Costa Rica and Panama well established in many industry sectors that bridge Central and North America other Central American countries are also staking claim to investment growth stimulated by Free Trade Agreements with USA, Canada and other countries.
Costa Rica is seeing growth in every sector. Medical Tourism is expanding faster than controls, medical manufacturing is on the rise, demand for luxury homes and property investment are growing, the energy sector is under the microscope with large firms looking for political capital for more exploratory drilling on and off-shore, and as well, a massive variety of products are streaming into North America from Latin America. As an example, Costa Rica was recently ranked by a World Bank study as the top high-tech exporter in Latin America.
Tourism continues to grow in all of Latin America. There are a few growing pains around the region as some Central American countries continue to shrug off the effects of the 70’s and 80’s communistic influences and subsequent turmoil. Honduras continues to climb above and expand from the recent regime change. Guatemala while growing has all eyes on it as narco border control and gang issues continue. Nicaragua is still dealing with the dinosaur Ortega, but pressure from the North and fear of further isolation and sanctions like with Nicaragua’s “friends” Chaves and Ahmadinejad will continue to push Ortega in line. Panama, after Noriega, stayed under the radar and reaped tremendous rewards from the Canal as well as becoming one of true world leaders in off-shore banking. And of course Costa Rica leads the way in terms of forward movement, industry growth and investment, middle and upper class, and Central America small business growth.
Costa Rica is suffering an exodus of what we call “old school” expatriates. These are first generation expats, the kind of expats that sit around the bar and reminisce of the days of old when a beer was 40 cents, rent was $100 per month for a nice place, and the police could be bought off for $2, with unpaved roads and when Tico’s were expected to slave for a $1/hour. Well, sorry to say for you old school expats, those days are gone, new regulation and oversight has changed all that which is good because the new waves of expat baby boomers have a much higher expectation of life and living abroad. And while some current residence cry about the changes brought on by Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and in some cases for good reason, the $2 – 3 billion in foreign investment has upgraded infrastructure, opportunity and standards of living across the board in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has gone on a PR marketing spree in North America and as result the wealthy, new wave baby boomer expats, business developers and investors large and small are going to reap huge rewards and have a tremendous impact and help shape this emerging region over the next decade.
This will truly be the Century of Latin America.
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