A few days ago, it was known that a Ranking carried out by ADEN Business School places Costa Rica as the number 1 country in Latin America in the Human Capital Index. ADEN Business School also highlights the economy of Costa Rica as the second most competitive in Latin America, surpassed only by that of Chile.
It is worth mentioning that the organization’s index considers aspects such as the quality of formal education, health indicators, environment and access to technology.
Out of 10 points, Costa Rica obtained 8.48
Due to the subject of the index, The Costa Rica News interviewed the economist Gerardo Corrales Brenes, to find out if his point of view coincides with the ranking, in addition to knowing part of his trajectory and the competitiveness of the Costa Rican economy today.
With more than 25 years of banking experience
Gerardo Corrales Brenes, a Costa Rican by birth, has been a banker in Central America for more than 25 years, occupying senior executive positions, his most recent being Executive Vice President of the financial group BAC Credimatic for Costa Rica, he held that position for 16 years.
He is an economist graduated from the University of Costa Rica, with a master’s degree in Banking and Finance with distinction from INCAE, part of his career has been to promote the development of private banking and the competitiveness of banking in Central America, particularly in Costa Rica, in addition was part of a revolution in digitizing banking financial services from 1998 to 2016.
For Corrales, “Costa Rica is a privileged economy in the sense that it has a series of competitive advantages in terms of diversity, biology, proximity, its central location and close relationship with the United States, which is the main trading partner.”
In his opinion, the country changed its growth strategy due to a serious crisis in the 1980s and from an agro-export approach and an openly paid import substitution model to a commercial, competitive model open to the rest of the world, promoting the non-traditional export apparatus, sustainable tourism and free zone regimes, basically tax incentives to bring in foreign direct investment.
“The pandemic crisis, the container crisis and now the War crisis have impacted the country like the rest of the world, the year 2020 was of economic growth of 4%, unemployment shot up at the worst moment 24%, to date the economy has recovered, the growth rate is acceptable, the country is growing 3.4% this year, but yes, the phenomenon of international inflation has affected interest rates, the exchange rate and eventually if the world enters a recession, with Costa Rica being an economy open to Europe, Central America, the United States, because we would have a recessive effect,” said the renowned Costa Rican economist.
The new government
Gerardo Corrales said that Costa Rica has a new government, there is a lot of expectation and enthusiasm from the people for being a new party and for having a president who comes from the World Bank and who comes with a vision of change, “let’s see if he can accomplish”.
“With its proposals to fight corruption, the cost of living and the reactivation of the economic apparatus, which is perhaps the greatest challenge, we have an advantage, an opportunity, regarding the relocation of US companies from Asia to closer places to the United States, where Costa Rica, together with Uruguay, has a competitive advantage”.
About the most desired resources in Costa Rica
It is no secret to anyone that one of the great distinctive elements of Costa Rica is its democratic system, for many years, it does not have an army and also free primary, secondary and university education, that has made the quality of the resource human capital in the country, for access, for its attributes, for its skills and abilities, one of the most coveted resources.
“And three types of clusters have been developed in the country: the industry cluster of free zones, where the manufacture of high-precision medical supplies such as catheters, heart valves, prostheses stands out; a second element that has to do with a shared service center, where American or world companies are located in Costa Rica, the back office centers, regarding what is administrative, accounting, financial, human resources services for the rest of the world and, finally, we have the call center cluster, services start to the client that operate from the country, this has generated a high demand for bilingual resources in English, Spanish and even companies like Amazon and Microsoft are also looking for Costa Rican human resources that are trilingual with Portuguese, due to the high demand for services that Brazil needs”.
Does it coincide with the Human Capital Index?
We asked the economist and specialist in the banking area, Gerardo Corrales, if he coincided with the Ranking carried out by ADEN Business School, which shows Costa Rica with the first place in Latin America in the Human Capital Index, he replied, that he coincides, since “it is an element that has brought a lot of foreign direct investment to the country, entering per year almost 4 billion dollars of fixed, permanent investment and what they are looking for is that human capital that is more productive and that practically has a cost advantage with those developed countries”.
A trajectory, anecdotes to tell….
Gerardo Corrales, has a respectable career and as a human being, of course he has anecdotes to tell, one of which he shared with our team of journalists, and it was that in 2004, the bank that Corrales managed the BAC of Costa Rica, “had a run on deposits based on an unfounded rumor – that the superintendence of banks was not going to intervene.
And although it was a false, ill-intentioned rumor, the public bought it, believed it and a massive outflow of deposits was generated that made the bank put into practice crisis management with the media, authorities, clients, as well as logistics management to deliver constant and sound liquidity to depositors who lost confidence and credibility in the entity. But comparatively with other banks in the world, it is one of the few banks that can argue that they were saved, from a massive run of deposits thanks to conservative risk policies for aligned human capital and a consistent competitive strategy that ultimately made people accept that it was a rumor without any basis”.
Through his words, this Costa Rican economist gives us evidence of what the country contains as human capital, which is seen by other countries as one of the best and that, of course, are advantages for the competitiveness of the Costa Rican economy, although much remains to be done, to contribute, to manage in such a way that optimal results can be seen. Of course, education, training is essential for all purposes and to move any nation forward, we thank Gerardo Corrales for his knowledge.