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Costa Rica’s President starts talks with Silicon Valley to boost the country’s tech industry

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – The President of Costa Rica is on a mission to attract more U.S. enterprises to the Central American country. To achieve this, Carlos Alvarado and members of his administration will personally tour technology centers in California and Washington from March 10 to 15.

“Next week I will be traveling to California and Seattle to meet with several very important companies that already have big operations in Costa Rica or that want to come to the country,” said Alvarado. “The objective will be the attraction of investment, welfare and employment to Costa Rica.”

What’s Alvarado’s goal?

You guessed it – Alvarado aspires to entice foreign investment to his country known for its R&D and thriving MedTech industry. Besides being a major IT software developer and electronic manufacturing leader, Costa Rica just so happens to be the number one industrial exporter of medical devices.

With that said, the center-left politician hopes to fortify Costa Rica as a beacon for cutting edge business practices. It has a major advantage considering that nearly 300 high-tech companies already operate in the business-friendly nation. Out of these, 24 percent are Fortune 100 ventures.

What sets Costa Rica apart even more, however, is the government’s devotion to sustainability. Simply take a look at Costa Rica’s proposed fossil fuel ban in hopes of becoming the world’s first decarbonized country.

Keeping this in mind, reformative environmental politics finally seem to be aligned with healthy business interests. Rather than investing in extractive companies like Nestle or Barrick Gold, Alvarado aims to attract multinational tech firms. This way, Costa Rica can continue expanding its innovative economy.

What’s the itinerary like?

On Alvarado’s itinerary are visits to various tech companies in Seattle as well as Silicon Valley. Also on the agenda is a speech at Stanford University to discuss Costa Rica’s divestment projects, such as generating 99 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources.

In California, Alvarado will visit the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum in San Francisco. Down south in San Jose, he’s also going to hit up the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) research center.

Fresh ideas and opportunities to strengthen Costa Rica’s revised economy are bound to pop up.

“The priority is economic reactivation,” said Alvarado. “Our main challenge is to provide links to generate more and better employment opportunities throughout the country, especially in the most vulnerable areas.

We are encouraging investment to establish industrial, productive and service centers that enhance the advantages of different regions.

Conclusion

Similar to how a company alters its corporate structure, Costa Rica is doing the same but with its economy. As a country, it has come up with an innovative model that others can surely replicate. At least I hope that more societies decide to do the same.

More tech business, on top of additional corporate services and technological manufacturing, will certainly yield positive results for the people and economy. One way or another, they will inevitably create more skilled jobs and boost Costa Rica’s human development index.

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

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