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Costa Rica Sets Investment Projects Record for Second Year in a Row

Costa Rica Sets Investment Projects Record for Second Year in a Row

  • The Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency reported 103 investment projects in 2021 – 30% more than 2020.
  • 41% of new projects come from countries other than the United States and include investments from Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Israel, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Chile.
  • In 2021 companies such as Bayer, Amazon, Roche, Intel, Concentrix, Firestone, and Terumo announced expansions in Costa Rica.
San José, Costa Rica. December 13, 2021. Costa Rica closes 2021 with record figures on the number of investment projects attracted as well as jobs created.

For the second consecutive year, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) reached a record number – 103 investment projects that chose Costa Rica – which represents a growth of 30% over 2020. Of these, 32 are new companies that will establish operations in the country, and 71 are reinvestments, of which 48 were expansions and 23 represented diversifications of company services or products.

Of the 32 new companies, 13 represent non-traditional markets different from the United States and originate from 8 locations: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Spain, India, Israel, South Africa, and Switzerland.

Likewise, over the last five years, the total number of greenfield projects attracted by CINDE has grown at an average annual rate of 15%; in a global context where the number of greenfield projects has trended downward, particularly during 2019 and 2020.
Eric Scharf, President of the Board of Directors at CINDE, commented, “Results from 2021 show that Costa Rica continues to grow and consolidate internationally as a destination for sustainable investment, in line with our value proposition based on people, planet, and prosperity. Also, the country showcased its capacity to deploy a coordinated response amongst several government agencies to avoid shutdowns and ensure business continuity in support of the needs of the foreign trade sectors. Thus, it proved the resilience and response that Costa Rica can offer to investors, as a reliable destination for their global business strategies. That, and multiple other factors helped us, not only to exceed our goals for new projects and reinvestments in 2021 but also to reinforce Costa Rica's position as the best country in the world, concerning performance in attracting greenfield investments, according to fDi Intelligence."
The positive impacts of foreign direct investment are reflected throughout multiple areas of the country and are in line with strategies to bring more investment to rising cities outside the Greater Metropolitan Area (GMA). In 2021, CINDE confirmed five new companies and four reinvestments in these regions. New forms of virtual work further enhanced this impact; for example, Amazon doubled its 100% virtual payroll, which is comprised of people who work from remote areas outside the GMA, thanks to internet connectivity and Costa Rican talent in these regions.
Dynamism in Costa Rica. For the sixth year in a row, companies attracted by CINDE set a record on employment: 22,461 new formal jobs and a net job gain of 19,725 positions created this year. That marks an increase of 13.4% and 34%, respectively, compared to 2020. These companies provide direct employment to 162,238 people throughout the country on aggregate.
Jorge Sequeira, the Managing Director of CINDE, highlighted the year's performance and its positive impact in the second year of a pandemic that continues to be challenging. He mentioned, “We celebrate these results which, above all, create real impact through formal employment and greater opportunities for the country's most valuable resource: its people. That is a diverse job offering, available to all types of people from young to old, people inside or outside the GMA, and women, thus promoting equality. At CINDE, we have also committed to collaborating with multiple entities for ongoing talent development in line with the opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution presents. We will continue doing so, based on our robust 4.0 talent strategy."
Women's workplace participation also displayed a significant footprint on the new 2021 net employment numbers generated by companies supported by CINDE as reflected in a growth of 21.4% over 2020, which is 48% of the net new jobs created– that is, 9,393 women.
Currently, 71,042 women work in multinationals, and their 44% participation is higher in this sector than the national average of 41%. In the last five years, female employment has grown steadily by 14.2% year-on-year at multinational companies supported by CINDE.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution. In 2021, Costa Rica was also a stand-out for training human talent for employability in Industry 4.0. As proof – and through various training and certification programs between CINDE and other public-private entities – almost 9,000 people graduated from technical high schools with specialties in topics like data analysis, software development, cybersecurity, innovation, and artificial intelligence, among others.
Likewise, fAIrLAC announced its launch in Costa Rica to promote the responsible and equitable adoption of artificial intelligence. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) leads the initiative with the support of CINDE, academia, government, corporate parks, including America Free Zone, and companies like Microsoft and Intel.
CINDE's efforts to consolidate its impact on strategic sectors in the knowledge economy, such as life sciences, were recognized this year by UNCTAD, which named CINDE the Best FDI Strategy in Investment Promotion for the Life Sciences Sector.  
For more than 60 years, Costa Rica has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development, today reflected in a 99.8% renewable electricity matrix. CINDE shares the country's commitment: the agency is certified as Carbon Neutral, its facilities are also  LEED® certified, and it directs its efforts to impact 4 specific SDGs: Decent Work and Economic Growth; Gender Equality; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; and Quality Education