|As a country with a High Human Development Index (0.744) and that is ranked number 69, Costa Rica has set itself ambitious targets in most areas related with the Millennium Development Goals. With 4,658,887 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of $11,300 (adjusted by purchasing power parity), a stable economy and high level of public social expenditure, the country has long had solid results in health, education and other social realms, combined with one of the lowest poverty rates in the region. Nevertheless, it confronts challenges to close social gaps, strengthen public education, and achieve further reduction of the total poverty rates, which for nearly a decade have been around one fifth of the population. |
Having enjoyed more than two decades of economic stability and given its long history of democracy and solid political institutions, the country has been able to focus on the strengthening and diversification of its production and economy, including the development of eco-tourism as a way of combining the preservation of its rich biodiversity with the generation of incentives to do so. In the context of rapidly increasing prominence of the services sector and of high tech production, the country has struggled to keep pace in the provision of the highly-skilled workforce that those sectors demand. Thus, it has experienced limitations on its traditional ability to prevent differences in income and wealth from increasing, although its Gini Index was 50.31 in 2009 and Costa Rica keeps strong levels of investment in education, public health, and social security programs.
From this perspective, the targets set by the country in relation with the Millennium Development Goals are oriented to build on the strengths it has, especially by giving special attention to the reduction and/or elimination of the gaps on the access to the education and health systems, as well as improving policies related with gender equality and the conservation of natural resources, with the purpose of improving its competitiveness while at the same time reducing inequality and poverty rates.
Communities in Costa Rica