The quality of the country’s public services, skilled labor force, open economy, high rate of technology and business sophistication and innovation capacity are some of the factors that helped Costa Rica improve on the Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014, released this week by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The country ranked 54th among 148 countries, second-best in Central America behind Panama in 40th place.
But in order to get closer to the higher-income and more innovative countries Costa Rica must confront at least 16 problems, the report states. The most challenging are excessive bureaucracy, poor transport infrastructure, difficulty in accessing financing, excessive tax regulations and corruption.
Economy Minister Mayi Antillon described the deficiencies cited in the report as “little new,” particularly on issues such as bureaucratic procedures and business climate.
The results were presented locally by Lawrence Pratt, director of the Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development at INCAE Business School, who said that “this is the first time that Costa Rica is classified within the group of countries in transition to innovation.”
Progress allowed Costa Rica to rank fourth in Latin America, ahead of Mexico and Brazil, but behind Puerto Rico, Chile and Panama. In the 2012-2013 report the country was sixth in the region.
Globally, and for the fifth consecutive year, Switzerland leads the list, Singapore continues in second place and Finland is third. Germany moved up two positions and ranks fourth, and after having declined for four consecutive years in the ranking, the United States reversed its downward trend, climbing two positions to take 5th place.