With eco-tourism, agriculture and technological innovatión as the main motors, and prioritizing free enterprise along with top-notch bilingual education for all its citizens, Costa Rica keeps growing both socially and economically with the perfect synergy between the private and public sectors, making possible that this country small in size but yet big in productivity has converted itself into the main Tech center of Latin america, attracting foreign companies and investors to the region.
According to IMF and World Bank reports, since the beggining of the 90s, this nation has dedicated aproximately 0,5% of its GDP to R/D in the science and technolgy sectors and at the same time progressively increasing its investment for modern infrastucture and human resource optimization, becoming a magnet for private enterprise, with the creation during this period of more than 600 IT, 4000 manufactering and 13000 service sector companies and one billion dollars in technological export products and generating more than 500000 new jobs, data giving buy the National Statistics Institute (INEC).
Having a population of aproximately five million and 51,000 square kilometers and with less than 200km between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Costa Rica has two main ports with state-of-the-art terminals that move thousands of products to and from the country. Costa Rica has designed and already put into implementation the “Digital Transformation Strategy 2018-2022”, with six essential points focused on developing the use of technology for optimal productivity aimed towards an increase of the living standards for all citizens.
The development of “Technology Parks” as industrial spaces destined specifically for providing multiple services and tax benefits in the establishment of tech enterpreneurships have become one the most important contributors to the sector’s growth in Costa Rica. Top companies such as Intel, Vmware, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Amazon, Mckinsey, Sykes, DXC technology, Concentrix, Tek Experts, Experian, Procter & Gamble and many others have established themselves in the industrial parks. Space rentals, high speed internet services and fitness centers are part of the perks these companies have access to at the technology parks, well-known examples are: American Free Zone, UltraPark I, Ultrapark II, and Global Park.
The health and medical services sector has been one of the main driving force behind this exponential growth into tech-productivity. With an abundance of qualified professionals in science and technology, these large health companies have chosen Costa Rica as a hub for their manufacturing, IT and BPS operations. Just to name a few, SurMedical, Microvention-Terumo, Hologic and Phillips, GSK and Pfizer.
Technology has been considered an integral part of education in Costa Rica since 1987. Now, with basic technological exposure implemented in all schools, the government is pivoting towards a focus on preparing its citizens for tech-oriented jobs. And the private sector is backing this focus. Costa Rica has defined a clear way foward, that it to form its human resources with that vision towards the future that implies technological advances, as to take maximum advantage of the new world context in which digitilization and automation are ever expanding. This focus has sparked the interest of young professionals in the country, and is reflected in the ever increasing number of active engineering profesionals in recent years whose number currently stands at around 150000 bilingual and qualified personnel mostly formed in the country.
Currently Costa Rica is the top ranked country in Central America and among the first in Latin America with regards to financial technology or “fintech” startups growth. Foreign technology companies operating in the technology parks.
There’s no doubt Costa Rica today has a dinamic and ever growing economy, that is more than paradisiacal touristic options, it is also offering the optimal conditions for large and medium size technology companies to develop new ideas. This pro-business environment welcomes expats and investors looking to start operations and creating new opportunities for the region. Definitely it is the Central American country “to watch” as a cutting-edge technological hub