Drive through the congested streets of Costa
Rica’s lively capital, San José, and you
get a feel for both the buoyancy and vulnerabilities of the
Costa Rica | Overview: Work in progress
Costa Rica is seen as a beacon of stability in a troubled region. But it must confront a range of challenges if it’s to build on more than half a century of economic progress
A rash of American malls and fast food joints rub shoulders
with makeshift street markets. Apartment blocks, many
foreign-owned, have sprung up in brand new suburbs, but still
look down on gullies populated by shanties. Car registrations
have soared, reflecting the strength of the emerging middle
class, but the streets are often gridlocked with
Costa Rica is a sterling success story in its challenging
neighborhood of Mesoamerica. Alongside Panama, it has long been
the darling of investors in Central America.
The country’s GDP growth has averaged 5%
consistently over the last 60 years, says its finance minister
Edgar Ayales. There have been only fleeting episodes of crisis,
most notably in 1980 to 1981, following a debt explosion, he
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