Costa Rica placed 48, among 177 nations, in the most recent issue of the Human Development Index, which is done by the United Nations Program for Development (UNPD). Even though it was the same position it had in last year’s ranking, the grade improved from 0.841 to 0.846. Iceland tops the list at 0.968, while Sierra Leone is at the bottom, with 0.336. In Latin America, Costa Rica places fifth, after Barbados, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. According to the UNPD, the Central American nation stands out because of the school enrollment, which reached 73 percent. It recommends making efforts to close the economy gap.
CAFTA and investment
The fact that the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) became law in Costa Rica has boosted the image of the nation in the eyes of international investors, Finance Minister Guillermo Zuniga said.
$1.4 billion in oil
The fuel bill for Costa Rica this year will reach a record $1.4 billion, $163.8 million more than last year, when it was $1,249 million. This year’s bill is 5.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, as compared to 2 percent ten years ago. The increase in the number of motor vehicles –which has almost doubled during the last decade– and of the use of fuels in the production of electricity are the major causes of the increase, according to the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE in Spanish).
Prospecting for oil
China plans to prospect Costa Rica for oil, as part of a bilateral alliance in the hydrocarbon sector. The state National Petroleum Corporation of China, the second largest in the world, will launch preliminary geological probes, RECOPE chairman Jose Desanti announced. Currently, oil prospecting in Costa Rica is frozen, because of a disagreement with U.S. firm Harken. He added that, generally speaking, the project depends on its economic, social, and environmental feasibility.
Lower rate of exchange
The Central Bank expanded the upper and lower levels of the rate of exchange, which immediately resulted in a 16-colon decrease in the dollar rate of exchange. The reference rate went from 521.25 colones per dollar to 505.15 when you buy. If you sell, the rate is closer to 497 colones. This step is part of the Central Bank’s steps to counter inflation. However, official sources said it is too early to forecast what will happen with the rate of exchange in the mid and long terms.
Boston Scientific expands
Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC), a manufacturer of medical supplies, announced that it is expanding its operations in Costa Rica. The firm will build a manufacturing plant in the Propark Free Industrial Zone, in El Coyol, Alajuela, not far from Juan Santamaria International Airport. BSC’s first plant is in Global Park, Heredia, where it will remain operating. The company plans a new facility almost three times de size of the first one in Costa Rica, a it also expects to offer 1,200 new jobs as of next year, when it will start operations.
Denver to Costa Rica
U.S. budget airline Frontier has started operating four non-stop flights a week linking Denver, Colorado, and Juan Santamaria International Airport. Flights are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, but a Saturday one is planned to start next January.
The first marina in the Costa Rica Caribbean will cost $40 million and will have 398 berths, according to Grupo Caribe Internacional. The facility will be located at Playa Negra, in Puerto Viejo. If the official permits are granted, construction will start in eight months, according to the firm’s attorney Walter Coto.
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