Last week, Laura Chinchilla, went on a whirlwind sales trip, ringing the opening bell on Wall Street, Rick’s List CNN, United Nations General Assembly, courting business investors, and trying to do damage control after Obama put Cost Rica on a top bad list as a major transit point for drug trafficking.
All in all it was a good trip, the kind she should do more often.
The best news for us locals and foreign investor is the economy is expected to post solid growth of 4.5 percent this year and 5 percent in 2011 as it continues to invest in infrastructure and open up the telecommunications industry.
At the UN General Assembly Chinchilla said “We are efforting this push into Asian markets to increase the rate of growth. We have a very ambitious program…”
Costa Rica, known for its stunning beauty, boosting 5% of the worlds biodiversity, attracting eco-tourism adventurers from around the world and it’s coffee production, is stimulating the projected growth by improving infrastructure such as ports, roads, and hydro-electric projects and alternative energy projects, and by opening and promoting markets such as electricity and telecommunications.
Costa Rica continues is free trade agreement collection, starting negotiations with South Korea. CAFTA, China, European Union, Singapore, to name a few of the 42 agreements already signed.
Already touting young, highly educated work force Chinchilla is increasing competiveness by continuing to educate and train its population of more than 4.6 million.
While many Costa Ricans pride in the fact that they are the only country in the Americas without an army, it has in a very short period of time established free education.
The Costa Rican governments’ goal to capture $9 billion in foreign direct investment over the next four years is ambitious, but with political and social stability as well as a highly skilled work force, Chinchilla and her team seem to be on track.
Most of the iinbound of FDI go to manufacturing, real estate, services, and tourism and reached $1.3 billion in 2009, of which 57 percent were from the United States.
Imports have reached $11.4 billion in 2009 and total exports have increased over 60 percent in the last decade.
With $1.25 billion in outstanding debt, Costa Rica’s credit rating was raised to investment grade earlier this month by Moody’s.