Thursday 9 February 2023

Increase in Internet connections boosts levels of competitiveness in Costa Rica

In the general ranking, 12 cantons obtained a highly competent performance.

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8 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA  (Revista Summa) The increase in fixed and mobile Internet connections, in a large part of 82 cantons, boosts the levels of competitiveness in Costa Rica, as revealed by the second National Competitiveness Index (ICN) study, prepared by experts from the Council for the Promotion of Competitiveness (CPC).

According to the study, there are two reasons for the connectivity indicator to stand out in the final results: the increase in the number of fixed broadband Internet subscriptions and the improvement in the performance of 3G mobile services, given the number of providers that the Costa Rican market has.

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For example, the number of fixed Internet connections grew by more than 66,000 connections, between 2020 and 2021, which translated into a growth of 6.7%. This growth benefited 49 of the country’s 82 cantons.

The report was presented on Monday, November 28, at an event attended by Costa Rica’s Vice President, Stephan Brunner, and the Secretary General of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

The president of the Promotion Council, Mónica Segnini, explained that the “National Competitiveness Index responds to a latent need on the part of many actors, who required robust, reliable, and at the same time practical data, in order to make investment decisions, execution of projects and other types in the territories of the country. As a CPC we are pleased to be able to offer this index to all sectors, both in the report that we prepare and the data that we make available to everyone through the index website”.

This year, the ICN included 123 indicators, which were combined to briefly show the level of competitiveness of the different territories that make up the country. The indicator has measurements in six pillars: institutions, infrastructure, adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), health, skills and competencies, and market dynamism.

The transport infrastructure dimension – on the infrastructure pillar – is the one that shows the lowest relative results. This implies that the cantonal road network is in poor condition and requires more investment for its proper maintenance.

The ICN points out that the degree to which a municipality verifies the quality of the works carried out on the cantonal road network under its responsibility increases competitiveness. For example, the investment amount is higher for highly competitive cantons (¢3.5 million) than for cantons with emerging, limited, or poor performance (¢2.8 million, on average).

Recognition of cantons outside the GAM

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In this second Competitiveness Index, the performance of five cantons that presented an improvement in competitiveness, influenced by important values ​​such as health, connectivity and education, stands out.

These are the cantons of Osa, Río Cuarto, Poás, Carrillo and Liberia, which increased their levels of competitiveness between 1% and 3.3%. These are the only cantons with positive variations, since, for the remaining 77 cantons, the change due to competitiveness was null or negative.

In the general ranking, 12 cantons obtained a highly competent level of performance. The first canton is Montes de Oca (San Pedro) with 68.2, which for the second consecutive year remains in that position; followed by Heredia with 68.1; and Belén with 67.9.

The canton of Flores (Heredia) placed 65.6, Cartago 65.3; Santa Ana 64.9 and Escazú  64.6. In the case of Moravia, which was ranked 8th, the score was 64.6 and for San Pablo de Heredia 64.3; while for San Isidro it was 63.4; the same for Curridabat, while Santo Domingo was the last with a score of 63.3.

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Another 22 cantons are classified within the emerging state, that is, they have a good level of performance in some pillars and dimensions, but a low level in many others, which gives them a large window of possibilities for growth and improvement.

Finally, 18 cantons were classified in the category of limited performance, because they exhibit low levels of competitiveness in most of their dimensions, and another 6 are located in the lowest part of the ranking, with poor performance or very low scores obtained. in all its dimensions and pillars.

Border cantons such as Talamanca, Los Chiles and La Cruz stand out for their poor performance in competitiveness. But in addition to these, the ICN showed that there is a geographical region with low scores that links the bordering cantons; Turrubares, Garabito and Parrita.

Important tool

The National Competitiveness Index is developed and published annually, since 2021, and the instrument is so versatile that it not only qualifies and compares the different cantons with each other, but also details the strengths and weaknesses of each canton, in each area evaluated.

For the implementation of this study prepared by the Council for the Promotion of Competitiveness, with the sponsorship and commitment of the Coca-Cola Company, the Banco Nacional Financial Conglomerate and the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica (ULatina), as well as the support from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei).

William Segura, Manager of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for Coca-Cola Central America, said “the National Competitiveness Index to be published by the Council for the Promotion of Competitiveness is not limited to traditional indicators, but rather incorporates a dimension on the commitment of the cantons with sustainability, a crucial issue to guarantee that our territories not only make an effort to produce more, but also to do it in ways that are friendly to the environment, despite the fact that today only 12% of the waste is recovered for its valuation. For this reason, from Coca Cola, we join the effort to develop this valuable index”.

María Brenes, Director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability of Banco Nacional, considers “the National Competitiveness Index valuable, because it allows communities, and the country in general, to focus on policies and actions to improve their quality of life, and consequently have with better investment and business opportunities for the generation of ventures and employment. With these initiatives and with our business model “Together we are Close, Human, Sustainable”, from the Financial Conglomerate we maintain our decisive role in working to support the development of the country, generating economic value, caring for the environment and leaving a positive mark on the entire Costa Rican society.

The rector of the ULatina, Rosa Monge, highlighted being part of the CPC, “because we find that it is an ideal space for discussion, for analysis, for the study of all those issues that directly impact economic growth, the development and competitiveness of our country. The CPC bases its management on fundamental pillars such as education, business growth, government management, and also social development, and we know that the academy can make very important contributions and we are making very important contributions so that we have the inputs and information necessary so that the CPC can make impact proposals for that development and for that growth of our country”.

Read the original, in Spanish, at Revista Summa.

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