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Oranjestad, 16 mei, 2012 - Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Central America rose by 24% last year (2011), to Usd. $7.7 billion. For 2012 this number is expected to increase to Usd. $8 billion, marking five consecutive years of strong growth. Costa Rica and Panama consolidated their positions as the largest recipients of this investment. Central America had a very large increase in FDI due to several bank consolidations (Banismo, Banagricola, Banco Uno, Cuscatlan and BancoSal).

A combination of strong regional growth and CAFTA free trade agreement led to the FDI upturn, especially in Costa Rica where many American companies have established new factories. Costa Rica is among the top 5 service locations in the Americas, based on an index that considers: people skills and availability, business environment and financial structure.

The Services Sector has been growing during the last 10 years, from 1 company in 1995, to a total of 113 companies and 31,747 employees in 2010. Costa Rica’s success in attracting foreign direct investments into the Advanced Manufacturing Sector relies on a combination of factors: well educated, multitask and productive workforce, positive cost/benefit relation, reliable infrastructure and friendly-business environment.

The industry stands today as the largest contributor to the country’s manufacturing output, capital investment and exports. There are currently 59 companies employing 15,159 people. Electronic components comprised 30% of total exports in 2010.

Life Sciences Sector in Costa Rica has grown 375% over the past 10 years and its 38 companies employ almost 12.000 people. The Medical Devices Sector is the 4th biggest exporter ($1,2 billion) in the country, its exports have grown 3 times faster than the rest of free trade zone exports.

In terms of GDP the main FDI recipients in Latin America were Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The main foreign investors in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011 were the United States, China, the Netherlands and Spain.

Source: Central America Newsflash - April 2012 -