COSTA RICA: A DEVELOPING NATION 6
CostaRica: A Developing Nation
CostaRica, a small developing country is located in Central America. Witha population of approximately 4.5 million people, Costa Rica isconsidered as having the most stable and democratic government.Before Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica in the year 1502,humans had occupied the nation for thousands of years. This paperwill analyze Costa Rica as one of the developing countries in theworld.
1.Historical and settlement characteristics
Accordingto Greenspan (2012), the history of Costa Rica beforeSpanish-colonization is little known. Indians who lived in thisnation before Columbus discovered it made no development to theirhomes nor advanced its culture. The Spanish attempt to settlepermanently and rule Costa Rica proved hard and was met withresistance. In fact, they became reluctant to slavery, and manyvillagers had to flee to surrounding highlands to avoid Spanishcontrol. The Costa Rica indigenous population was small in numbersand lived in scatter villages. However, they became overpowered byEuropean diseases and firepower. The history of Costa Rica includescivil war, building of a banana exporting empire and abolition ofstanding army. The nation dissolved its standing military in the year1948 thereby avoiding political instability and violence that weigheddown other nations in Latin America. Consequently, this country playsa huge role as a stabilizing force in other conflict areas such asPanama and Honduras (Greenspan, 2012).
Thegrowth rate in Costa Rica’s population is estimated at 1.25%annually. Due to political stability and higher living standards, thecountry has become an attractive destination having the largestnumber of immigrants in Central America. A number of characteristicsboth historically and contemporary define the national identity ofthe Costa Rica population. First, unlike other Central Americancountries Costa Rica experienced a quite smooth and peacefuldevelopment in the twentieth century. The human development index(HDI) measures long-term progress in human development using threebasic dimensions that include a long and healthy life, standard ofliving and access to education. Costa Rica ranks 69th according tothe UN with an entirely high life expectancy and an infant mortalityrate that is relatively low. Overall, the nation ranks high inrelation to its health and standard of living. However, healthchallenges include malaria a risk factor particularly in wet seasonsand insect avoidance is highly recommended. Additionally, otherhazards such as alligators and bull sharks are predominant in rivermounts, coastlines and tourists are greatly cautioned againstswimming in lakes and waterways. The quality of education is high andabout 95% of the population is literate. The official religion isCatholicism a Spanish heritage reinforced by the government in theconstitution (Cruz, 2005).
3.Economic and resource characteristics
Theeconomy of Costa Rica has developed from agriculture production withits moderate climate favorable for cultivation of various foodstuffsto tourism and electronic exports. Initially after gainingindependence from Spanish, the landowners started to cultivate coffeethat became the first export commodity. As a result, this contributedto the beginning of national coffee elite responsible for controllingpolitics in the nation. However, other activities such as bananacultivation in Costa Rica dominated the export sector. Principally,Costa Rica became well-known for bananas and coffee export. Today,tourism is successful, and the nation boasts of over 2.4 millionforeign visitors annually, mostly for the U.S. and Canada. Tradeliberalization has hugely influenced the development of Costa Ricaeconomy through exports that surpass the 50% rate. Subsequently, thetrade liberalization has enhanced structural changes that haveresulted in productivity growth, higher level of investment andeconomy diversification (Howard, 2007).
Nowadays,the nation exports various distinct products globally and ranks topamong exporter of high-tech goods. Additionally, the country’s highlevel of education and political instability has attracted foreigninvestors at all levels. As a result, this has resulted insignificant social achievements: such as poverty reduction to lessthan 20%. Consequently, the government`s approach to economic growthinclude reducing tariffs, export promotion, and foreign directinvestment attraction. Despite foreign debt hindering economicdevelopment in Costa Rica, economic future in Costa Rica remainbright thanks to the successful tourism industry and continuedforeign investment (Mitchell & Pentzer, 2008).
4.Major internal issues
CostaRica is known for its peace history and democracy. Although thecountry lacks a national army, it has established protected regions.However, in the year 2012, Costa Rica faced border conflict with itsneighbor Nicaragua because of excavation of the canal leading todeteriorated relations between the two countries. On the other hand,the country has also faced environmental threats as a result ofpollution in addition to ranking high in deforestation practices(Molina & Palmer, 2004).
CostaRica and Netherlands have good bilateral relations. In fact, thenation ranks second among Netherland’s exporters. The two nationshave both political relations and economic ties where an agreementsigned in June 2012 includes encouraging cooperation on social,cultural, economic and financial issues. Costa Rica has also signedagreement with other nations such as Mexico. A free trade agreementbetween this two countries helps to create close political andeconomic links. Additionally, the nation also engages with the WorldTrade Organization to boost foreign trade and foster businessinvestment. The association agreement with the European Union is alsosignificant for Costa Rica because it became the main CentralAmerican exporter to the European market. As one of the UnitedNations founding members, Costa Rica contributes to the generalassembly through its works. In addition, its security councilmembership have been significant and centers on making priorities invarious topics such as justice, combating terrorism and impunity,disarmament and protection of civilians. Additionally, the nationplays a significant role in resource conservation and improvement ofclimate in Central America. This is demonstrated in initiatives putin place to preserve biodiversity and nature conservation areas, notforgetting its commitment to reduce harmful gas emissions. Overall,compared to other developing nations that focus on urbanization andrapid industrialization, the country economy has excelled due totourism. Additionally, the standard of living is high compared toother developing nations (Rankin, 2012).
Furthermore,Costa Rica has received both financial and political support fromWorld Bank, United States and World Bank to develop its ecotourismindustry. Costa Rica has received economic aid from the Americangovernment for over 50years. Obviously, the economic aid made asignificant difference reflected in improved standards of living,better education, and higher incomes. In conclusion, a research byLeicester University ranks that Costa Ricans among the happiestpeople globally. This is because of the satisfaction they have withtheir lives. Therefore, compared to other developing nations thiscountry can be ranked among the best (Streissguth, 2005).
Cruz,C. (2005). Politicalculture and institutional development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua:World making in the tropics.New York: Cambridge University Press.
Greenspan,E. (2012). CostaRica for dummies.Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Howard,C. (2007). Thenew golden door to retirement and living in Costa Rica: A guide toinexpensive living, making money and finding love in a peacefultropical paradise.Miami, Fla: Costa Rica Books.
Mitchell,M. T., & Pentzer, S. (2008). CostaRica: A global studies handbook.Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Molina,J. I., & Palmer, S. (2004). Thehistory of Costa Rica: Brief, up-to-date and illustrated.San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica.
Rankin,M. A. (2012). Thehistory of Costa Rica.Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Streissguth,T. (2005). CostaRica in pictures.Minneapolis, Minn: Lerner Publications Co.