Costa Rica Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022
Basic data
Capital San Jose
Population 5.16 million (2020)
Language Spanish
Religion 52% Catholic
State system presidential republic
Head of State Carlos Alvarado Quesada
Head of government Carlos Alvarado Quesada
Currency name Costa Rica Colon (CRC)

Costa Rica Basic Information

Travel
Time shift -5 hours (in summer – 6 hours)
Economy
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 61.9
Economic growth (%) 3.4
Inflation (%) 2.5
Unemployment (%) 16.2

Costa Rica has a long tradition of political stability in the generally troubled region of Central America. A brief civil war in 1948 paved the way for institutional reforms that led to a long period of rapid economic growth and led to significant improvements in human development indicators. Over the past two decades, the country has attracted investment in high-tech industries, but income inequality and social tensions have also grown. In May 2021, the country became the newest member of the OECD.

It is a presidential republic, where the president is also the head of the executive, but the unicameral Legislative Assembly has a relatively strong position vis-à-vis the executive power. Costa Rica has long been billed as the “Switzerland of Central America” ​​thanks to its economic success and standard of living. However, the economic slump caused by the pandemic revealed the unsustainable dynamics of public finances in the future. During 2021, the government will be forced to implement reforms that are a condition for receiving a loan from the IMF in the amount of USD billion. Taming the public debt will be absolutely essential for the further economic development of Costa Rica

The Costa Rican economy fell by -5.1% last year. The key sector of tourism was most severely affected. Growth of 3.4% is expected for 2021, however, assuming a positive development of the epidemiological situation in the country. In Costa Rica, the most attractive sectors for exports are new technologies, water management, clean-tech and healthcare.

This Summary Territorial Information is processed for a country that is so-called accredited. The information is provided in an abbreviated form.

Basic information about the territory

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

The Republic of Costa Rica has a long tradition of political stability in the generally troubled region of Central America. It is a presidential republic, where the president is also the head of the executive. He is elected for a four-year term. He may run for re-election, but cannot do so for two consecutive terms. The unicameral Legislative Assembly is composed of 57 directly elected members and has a relatively strong position vis-à-vis the executive. Check diseaseslearning to learn more about Costa Rica political system.

The political system was dominated in the past by the centrist Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) and the center-right Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC). However, the political landscape has fragmented in recent years, and in 2014 the centre-left Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC) achieved electoral victory – the first party to break the dominance of the PLN and PUSC since 1949. In 2018, the PAC repeated its victory. The government of President Carlos Alvarado currently has to face not only the COIV-19 pandemic, but also deteriorating fiscal dynamics. A partial success of the current cabinet is the accession to the OECD, which the country has been striving for for a long time.

During 2021, the government will be forced to implement reforms that are a condition for receiving a loan from the IMF in the amount of USD billion. At the same time, he will have to proceed in close cooperation with the Congress, where he holds only 10 of the 57 parliamentary mandates. The program of economic reforms contains a number of politically sensitive topics, such as the law on employment in the public sector. With elections scheduled for February 2022, it can be assumed that the terms of the IMF loan will completely dominate the political debate in the country.

Foreign policy of the country

Costa Rica’s foreign policy is aimed at strengthening human rights and environmental protection, and at the same time strengthening the country’s influence in international organizations, primarily at the UN, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In May 2021, Costa Rica officially became the newest member of the “elite club” of OECD countries. As part of his presidency of the System of Central American Integration (SICA) in the first half of 2021, he intends to focus on the promotion of human rights, sustainable economic and social recovery in the post-coronavirus era, health and food security, and the support of science, research and development, with a special focus on prevention natural hazards and climate change. Although Costa Rica is an observer in the Pacific Alliance, it has not made any efforts for full membership for a long time. The likely reason is the protectionist policy towards the domestic agricultural and food industry. Costa Rica has traditionally had the most complicated bilateral relations with neighboring Nicaragua, including disputes over maritime territory. Check themotorcyclers for Costa Rica defense and foreign policy.

Population

The population of Costa Rica is currently estimated at 5.14 million. The proportion of the white and mestizo population is estimated at 83.4%, followed by the black population (including mulattoes) with 7% and indigenous Indians with 2.4%. There is a relatively large community of retirees from the USA, Canada, EU and Australia settled in the country. Costa Rica is a temporary haven for many immigrants hoping to live in the US, and is also a destination for immigration from nearby Central American countries. Costa Rica is the only country on the American continent where the Catholic faith is declared as the state religion. However, the Constitution also guarantees religious freedom. In addition to dominant Catholicism, the popularity of Protestant churches has recently been increasing.