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Costa Rica: Underdeveloped

Costa Rica: Underdeveloped

As an underdeveloped country, Costa Rica is challenged by low productivity, inflation, poverty, social inequalities, imbalances and more.  With odds not in their favor, Costa Rica has made amazing efforts to change the circumstances by improving education, public health and other social services.


For example, even if the per capita income of Costa Rica is lower than the most developed countries, it still has better life expectancy than countries like the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom.


Costa Rica´s exportations and tourism have increased in the last 20 years, becoming the most important economic activities. These industries produce a lot of jobs. Now more than ever, commerce is the economic activity that creates more jobs but not the one that’s making the most revenue.


The focus has been to create a high quality workforce that can be appealing to international industries to base their operations in Costa Rica and the most important factors to accomplish this is to develop a skilled, quick learner, educated, productive, multi language, creative, knowledgeable workforce that’s not as expensive with schedules availability.


Costa Rica Underdevelopment

These policies have indirectly pushed people to work informally, without being registered or paying taxes.


However, Costa Rica is still in great debt, even if the income has improved and multinational companies open branch offices. The country is working with obsolete financial mechanisms and cannot afford to change the system. On the other hand, the taxes are predatory and the levels of production, growth and life conditions don’t justify them.


Social inequalities are unbelievable. Since 1990, only the 20% most rich families have raised their household income, while the other 80% have decreased their household income. It doesn’t matter how educated or  how many incomes they have, the economy just don´t get better. The majority of the country’s workforce is condemned to spend all their lives being underpaid. So, you could see great progress in Costa Rica´s statistics but that’s not the reality of living in the country.


In 2020, former president Carlos Alvarado achieved to make the country a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the first Central American and the fourth Latin American country to be included in this important world organization.


Covid-19 pandemic was devastating for Costa Rica. A lot of sacrifices were made to preserve public health but the country still lost more than 8000 persons. To this day, 9.5 million covid-19 shots have been given. An operation committee was established to make the hard technical, scientific, economic and sanitary decisions.


Costa Rica proved that it can be very organized in times of need in some areas but almost 3 years have passed, economic and unemployment consequences are still a very huge problem to fix.


In 2022, Costa Rica faced an extortive cyberattack directed at the government and its institutions. The hackers got sensitive information from every person in the databases and were asking for 10 million dollars. The government was forced to shut everything down, provoking lots of money and resources loss. The United States, Israel, Spain and Microsoft helped to restore the services.


With all the setbacks Costa Rica had to break through, it seems possible to keep going forward into development.


Karen Ebanks

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