Costa Rica stands out when it comes to countries looking to design national strategies to develop the ICT sector as a driver for long-term growth and competitiveness, according to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2010-11.
WEF credited the success to three main public policies - continuous public investment in education, the reduction of internal taxes and trade barriers to technological products, and solid foreign trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) platforms.
ICT has played a pivotal role in the national strategy to transform the country into an innovation-driven economy, thanks to ICT-friendly public policies implemented since the 1980s - including investment in human capital to create a pool of qualified laborers - as well as foreign trade liberalization and export promotion.
"All these, together with the country's political stability, favorable business climate and central geographical location, were crucial elements in attracting FDI, with consequent important knowledge spillovers and technology transfer to the domestic sector," according to the WEF.
The challenge is now to adopt a structured and coordinated strategy across government bodies to address pending shortcomings, according to the WEF - one of the issues that the presidential council on competitiveness and innovation, formed in 2010, will look to address.
Costa Rica scored 46th in the world's Networked Readiness Index, ahead of other Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Brazil (56th), Mexico (78th) and Argentina (96th), but behind Barbados (38th), Chile (39th), Puerto Rico (43rd) and Uruguay (45th).
Use this link to see the full 435-page report.