Costa Rica improves in competitivity

Costa Rica rose three places to 54th in the rankings of the the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

Although the competitiveness profile of the country remains fairly stable, slight improvements in its innovation capacity have driven this progress, said a summary of the index, placing Costa Rica in (37th) place in this subcategory. The data became public Tuesday.

The country was put in 44th place for what was called a fairly open economy and in 50th place for its strong institutions. But rising concerns about wasteful government spending dropped the country in this category to 114th place, said the index. There were 149 countries surveyed.

Crime and violence gave Costa Rica another black mark and put it in 106th place, according to the index.

The country got high marks and 20th place for its educational system, 36th place for its high rate of technological adoption. and 31st place for business sophistication.

“Notwithstanding these strengths, Costa Rica still suffers from poor transport infrastructure (110th); difficulty in accessing finance, either through equity (118th) or loans (106th), and from an only moderate capacity to innovate (37th), which will be crucial for the country’s economy to move up toward higher-value-added activities, the index said.

After three years of sharp rises in the competitiveness rankings, Panamá consolidates its position at 40tth place as the most competitive economy
in Central America, and second in Latin America, behind Chile, the index said.

For the fifth year in a row, Switzerland ranks as the most competitive country in the world. It is followed by Singapore, Finland, Germany and the United States, which this year reverses a four-year downward trend. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index finds three sub-Saharan African countries, Burundi, Guinea, and Chad, holding up the bottom of 148 countries surveyed.

The study provides grounds for optimism that the global economy may finally be stabilizing following the freefall of recent years.  The Global Competitiveness Index notes some of the southern European countries, in particular Greece and Spain, are moving up in the rankings after several years of decline.

The World Economic Forum chief economist, Jennifer Blanke, says this might indicate the reform process, which has been under way for the past couple of years, is starting to bear fruit.

She says a number of things that were of great concern a year ago have not come to pass. She notes, for example, the predicted breakup of the eurozone did not happen and the United States did not hit the debt ceiling.

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