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Costa Rica Global Competitiveness Rankings 2012-2013

by Super User

Costa Rica Global Competitiveness Rankings

The World Economic Forum released its 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report. The World Economic Forum describes itself as an independent international organization which is committed to improving the condition of the world. Its members “represent the 1,000 leading companies and 200 smaller businesses – many from the developing world – that play a potent role in their industry or region.”

In this article I will review some of the findings of the 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report as it relates to Costa Rica. In general terms Costa Rica fairs well in the areas of Health, Education and Innovation and use of Technology. In overall Education Costa Rica ranked 21 out of 144 Countries worldwide. Costa Rica has always had a strong emphasis and commitment to public education and the rankings clearly show it. The educational rankings are set forth below.


It is in the areas of infrastructure, government efficiency and business competitiveness where Costa Rica ranks poorly when compared to other countries around the world. The top two complaints for business entities in Costa Rica are (1) Inefficient government bureacracy and (2) Inadequate supply of infrastructure. The graph below shows the most problematic factors for doing business in Costa Rica

For those of us that live in Costa Rica the findings as it relates to infrastructure comes as no surprise. Costa Rica ranks at the bottom of the list 95/144 for overall infrastructure next to countries such as Montenegro, Cape Verde, Dominican Republic and Honduras. Government after government has failed to address and invest in road and port infrastructure for years and the result is quite evident in Costa Rica.

When it comes to the quality of the roads in Costa Rica we rank 131/144 right along countries like Madagascar and the Kyrgyz Republic.

The port system fairs no better than the road infrastructure which is ranked 140/144 next to Haiti. Costa Rica has two major ports one in the Pacific, Caldera where 37% of the imports to Costa Rica arrive and the port on the Atlantic coast in Limon where the majority of imports are processed. The ports have been in the hands of the government and workers labor syndicates for many years. After much struggle and compromise the port on the Pacific was privatized and is slowly improving efficiency. The privatization of the port on the Atlantic has been a constant struggle between the government and the labor syndicates that are opposed to privatization.
Costa Rica had abandoned the use of its railway infrastructure in the 1990’s. Yes you are wondering why a country with one of the worst road infrastructures in the world would abandon its railway system and clog the roads with semi-trailers. It makes very little sense and many argue that there were vested interests to do so. Nevertheless Costa Rica has in the past couple of years made strides to bring the railway structure back. It has started by rebuilding passenger lines within the central valley. They still have a long way to go ranking 106 out of 144 in railroad infrastructure.



Despite the deficiencies indicated above Costa Rica was able to move up from 61 to 57 out of 144 in the 2012-2013 rankings. That move was in part due to the high quality of education (21) which in turn makes Costa Rica one of the best countries in the region for innovation potential. This factor contributed to a ranking of 39/144 for the countries capacity to innovate and use technology.

You can view the complete report at the Global Competitiveness report website which is http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2012-2013/


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