Picking up steam in 1997 with Intel opening of a microchip factory and an $800 million USD investment, Costa Rica has since blossomed into a key tech hub in Latin America, according to an article from Nearshore Americas. But leaving the landmark Intel investment aside (the factory is now closed), the country is fostering growth through government spending in the space, high public funds devoted to education and tax-friendly technology parks that attract investors and talent from around the globe. With a population of five million inhabitants and 51,000 square kilometers, the number of companies in the country has reached over 546 IT companies, 3,447 manufacturing (including medical components), and performed 12,281 various commercial activities by 2018. This activity generated over 300,000 jobs, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census. One of the major fields in the current technological revolution is artificial intelligence (AI), of which a high amount of development is occurring in Costa Rica.
Despite being a poor and unequal country, Costa Rica has managed to close the gap in access to technology for its citizens, and it is now leading the way in the region. The country started the process of admission for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) several years ago with reforms on laws, the creation of policies and the use of Computer Technologies to improve education, information access, financial markets, competitiveness, and a more open government. In May 2020, Costa Rica became the first Central American or Caribbean country invited to become an OECD member. The OECD has almost 60 years of existence, and its members are many of the world's more developed countries that work together to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being for their citizens. Costa Rica will become the 38th member, the fourth of Latin America.
Costa Rica's electric grid ran exclusively on renewable energy for 150 days so far this year, the country's power operator said late last week. Half of those days were achieved in only the last few months. The Central American nation was powered for 76 straight days on carbon-free electricity from June 16 to Sept. 2, according to the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE). SEE ALSO: The U.S. finally has its first offshore wind energy farm, after a decade of trying It's easy to point to Costa Rica's clean energy success as a model for fossil fuel-dependent nations to follow. However, it's not an example that the big polluters of the world can easily emulate anytime soon.
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