Challenges for Costa Rica of our new normal

We live in times that three months ago we could not imagine. We are having to redefine our lifestyles, rethink our jobs, restructure our businesses, and rethink our future as people and as a country. The challenges posed by COVID-19, global geopolitics and Costa Rica's competitiveness are enormous, and we must be absolutely clear about where we stand and where we want to go.

The pandemic that has knocked us down shows inequalities that Costa Rica could have avoided a long time ago. Although in terms of health and health management we are setting an example to the world, thanks to our decision as a country to resign from the army seventy years ago and invest these resources in health and education, it is precisely in education where these inequalities take their toll on us today. . Costa Rica is polarizing between those who do or do not have Internet access, computer equipment, space privacy and good food to take advantage of the new reality of online education in schools, colleges and universities. Our public education system is having to race to implement online courses, widening the gap between public and private education. Additionally, the poor execution capacity of the Costa Rican state in the investment of public resources for national connectivity exposes Fonatel and the ideological bias that our state paternalism maintains over our society.

UNITING ALL SECTORS: KEY TO SUCCESS

Our main trading partner accelerated its geopolitical turn towards deglobalization since Donald Trump took office in November 2016. The United States has been clear that globalization no longer serves its interests, and that global value chains must return to their countries. . The US priority of returning sources of employment to its population should make us reflect in Costa Rica on what are the bases of our competitiveness to generate our own employment. We must transition from being a country of employees to becoming a country of employers, and this can only be achieved through entrepreneurship based on innovation, scientific and technological research and development created in Costa Rica, and the product of teamwork between academia , private sector and government. How difficult it is for us to work as a team as a country! Only by overcoming the distrust and selfishness that inhibit us from working together can we become a competitive country based on knowledge.

The current global debate between confining the population to their homes or reopening the economy to prevent economic deterioration of individuals and their families, leads us in Costa Rica to reflect on the state of our finances as a country and the distribution of state spending. The tsunami we face today seizes us with little financial maneuverability given a high deficit, a high public debt as a percentage of GDP, and spending that seems to be inflexible from a constitutional point of view. The time has come for us to redistribute public spending to promote research and development in the health area, increase the funds available to innovate in science and technology, and strengthen the development of job skills that allow our population to specialize and differentiate world for their knowledge.

Although we are a small country, and we benefit from international trade and investment, let us take strategic measures that will allow us to overcome both this crisis and others that will come in the not too distant future. The world changes, and Costa Rica should not be the exception.

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