If every cloud carries a silver lining, the one on the dark cloud hanging over the Costa Rican economy may be foreign direct investment.
On Wednesday, the private Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) announced some encouraging figures for 2009, which was one of the toughest economic years for the country in decades.
According to CINDE, 29 new foreign investment projects came to Costa Rica during the past 12 months, generating 5,730 jobs and $304.6 million in investment.
Of those new projects, 21 are new companies that will initiate operations in the country, while eight are foreign companies that entered into contracts with companies already in Costa Rica.
For the fifth consecutive year, the service sector experienced the most significant growth, in both the number of new companies operating and jobs created. The service sector accounted for 17 of the new ventures and for 4,586 new jobs.
“The service sector has become consolidated as one of the largest employers in our country,” said Gabriela Llobet, director general of CINDE. “As a result of the growth and the good results achieved during the last decade by the companies already established … Costa Rica is placed on the world map as an extremely competitive destination for this industry.”
Some of the new entrants into the service sector in 2009 include United States companies Concentrix, McKinsey, Motif, Amway and Startek, all which set up contact centers or locations for “shared services.”
The medical services sector accounted for six new projects in Costa Rica, including Establishment Biotech, Bentec and Merrill’s Packaging.
Though positive signs of foreign direct investment continued in the down economic year, overall capital in the sector fell 30 percent, according to CINDE, and the Central Bank of Costa Rica reported that overall finances generated by foreign direct investment fell by 33 percent