One of the most relevant points of the Alvarado administration is the importance of education as an engine of social mobility, economy, sustainable development, and knowledge. Education is also key to close gaps in human rights to generate equality in access to both goods and services and opportunities, and achieve sustainable development. The plans Costa Rica has for 2050 require certain profiles in certain places and geographic regions. We must engage young women to achieve economic expectations, and we must work articulately and incorporate cooperation into our agenda. We will work on science and technology programs to reflect the results in the highest priorities of the National Development Plan of Public Investment as well as in the efforts made under the sectoral plans and strategy areas. One of the president's clearest mandates has been to simplify procedures and make regulatory improvements to encourage the business climate to improve because it is one of the key points in the global competitiveness index.
Apr. 28, 2019
María Del Pilar Garrido
Minister , National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN)
Luis Adrián Salazar
Minister , Science, Technology, and Telecommunications (MICITT)
Communications is highly important to develop infrastructure. We must improve our efforts to grow our broadband penetration, and we have to connect the education sector and other institutions with new technologies. The private sector needs more incentives to invest, and we are trying to do this in the telecommunications area. We want to develop the best way to facilitate investment, and we want to see more development. To achieve all that, MICITT is defining the roadmap for the next four years. Moreover, we need to increase the capacity of the government to develop infrastructure. MICITT has several initiatives aimed at improving innovation activities across many different layers and including many different stakeholders. Another focus area is e-government; we are trying to define the e-government governance model for Costa Rica. We have strong telecommunications skills, good penetration in mobile service, and strong SME participation; however, we have to consider innovation as the main tool for development in the next 10 years. We want to use technology to utterly transform the lives of all Costa Ricans.
Minister , Housing and Human Settlements
A study by the Inter-American Development Bank shows that Costa Rica has the lowest deficit print of approximately 13-14%. We have implemented a successful housing policy called the National Financial System for Housing through a PPP. The state, through an institution, makes the corresponding analysis and ultimately approves or rejects projects. Of all the funds designated to housing, 60% is applied to individual bonds, meaning families who find their own solution, while the other 40% is allocated to projects. Families earning over CRC400,000 per month also benefit from a housing subsidy, albeit a relatively low one. We are working on ways to provide greater assistance through access to credit. In terms of speeding up construction permits for investors, Executive Decree 36550 has tasked the Ministry of Housing with the coordination of all procedures. For the past five years, all mid-stage permits have been digitalized and dispensed through a single window. Also, there are deadlines in place, which if exceeded automatically mean project approval. Of the 82 municipalities, 30 already operate on the same platform.
María Amalia Revelo
My priority is the development of small and medium tourist companies. 94% of the accommodation distributed by the country has less than 40 rooms, and this allows welfare to reach different communities. The National Tourism Development Plan determines 31 development centers that we manage in a way that allows us to work with various institutions and ministries. We make a diagnosis of the opportunities that exist in those zones of tourist development and study the opinions of tourists. Later, during a two-day workshop, we analyze the place, its lodgings, tourist offerings, the opinions of local operators, and the obstacles and opportunities. Finally, we make a five-year projection and the strategy, in which we include local partners, committed chambers, and mayors. At the end of my mandate, I want to see areas that have reached their potential and managed to develop even more through the value of authentic experiences and biodiversity. We seek to complement the current tourism development with wellness tourism, which has enormous potential. In the same way, we are forming alliances with the Ministry of Culture to include cultural and gastronomic aspects in the experience.
Minister , Economy, Industry, and Trade (MEIC)
The simplification of procedures is the main focus under the economic reactivation plan. We have started regulatory improvements on two fronts: institutional support and regulatory analysis. We have already recognized over 2,900 different procedures that could be cut down to 2,500. Second, we have initiated an intervention with the Ministry of Labor to reduce the time to start high-risk businesses from 91 to 30 days and to reduce this number to one for low-risk businesses. Third, we are working on citizen consultation processes at the sectoral and general level with the University of Costa Rica. Fourth, we started with the municipal agenda because the directive obliges the executive power but not the autonomous dependencies. There is interaction in a business model that works with the policy of productive development through support to SMEs, given that only 6.5% of entrepreneurial ventures reach maturity and less than 1% focus on exports. We put in place an inter-institutional plan with other stakeholders to tackle the challenges through financial education and ease of funding. We have consolidated seven integral centers of business development: two in San José and the rest outside.
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez
Minister , Environment and Energy (Minae)
The greatest challenge for Costa Rica is the current model for food, energy, and water production, and the consumption of goods and services. Currently, we consume natural resources faster than nature's capacity for recovery. The largest challenge, then, is to change the economic model so we don't generate an environmental deficit but rather capitalize on mechanisms and technologies that don't generate environmental damage. In that context, we have 10 issues to address, and we are going to focus on creating the institutional conditions to transition toward a green or circular economic model. This change has to be incremental, and the effects will be seen in the future. We have both a carbonized economy and fiscal system as a large amount of fiscal income depends on activities that generate carbon. We want zero-emission vehicles, including both electric cars and hydrogen cars. Having such a strong electrical grid and installed infrastructure, it makes sense to electrify the transport sector, too. We need to change the transport paradigm as our economy is based on the individual use and purchase of vehicles. We want cities to be more sustainable and greener.
Minister , Foreign Trade (COMEX)
President Alvarado's administration is results driven, and fully aware that economic development is not a matter of individual action, but of collaborative engagement. Working with public- and private-sector groups, the government is advancing an aggressive agenda to boost the economy. One of the agenda's key items is the Alliance for Bilingualism, a program launched to scale the mastery of English as a second language. The second point is the work undertaken to tackle the challenge of skilling for tomorrow's workplace. The third objective relates to connectivity. Operations in a technologically driven world demand robust, efficient, and secure networks, and we are investing to ensure they are readily available. The fourth program relates to administrative simplification and the implementation of a single window for investment. The fifth aim of the agenda is to improve road infrastructure network. The sixth point is more sector related. For example, we are working on a program to “discover" competitive advantages in the agricultural sector. Moreover, under Costa Rica's accession process to the OECD, further structural reforms are taking place in areas such as public governance, innovation, and investment policy.