Foreign direct investment is booming in Costa Rica, as international companies continue to establish or expand existing operations in tariff-reduced free-trade zones. Convergys, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based relationship management firm, inaugurated its third service center in Costa Rica on Thursday. The center, which is located in Ultra Park II free-trade zone in Heredia, northwest of San José, is expected to employ about 500 people. Convergys currently employs 1,100 at its two other Costa Rican sites. The company opened its first Costa Rican service center in March 2009.
“The growth of the service sector in our country has had a significant impact in terms of the arrival of businesses, the generation of new employment and the diversification of operations of the companies that exist in Costa Rica, which continue to integrate more complex and specialized processes,” said Gabriela Llobet, the general director of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Board (CINDE). “As of last year, the service sector had created 5,000 new jobs in our country.”
The new Convergys center has six training centers where employees will learn to provide technical support to clients in the areas of telecommunications, financial services, health, and electronic business and purchases. The training will teach employees how to take calls and handle transactions in English. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, who attended the inauguration of the Convergys center, took the opportunity to announce a lofty goal for English-language education in Costa Rica.
“Our goal is that 100 percent of high school students master the English language by the year 2017,” said Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla at the inauguration of the new Convergys service center. “Thus far, 85 percent of our public schools have labs that provide education in information technology.”
Chinchilla has also stated that she hopes to attract $9 billion in foreign direct investment during her four-year presidential term.