Costa Rica becomes the new member of the OECD

Flags of Costa Rica. / VCG

Flags of Costa Rica. / VCG

Costa Rica has joined the “club of rich nations”.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday welcomed the small Central American country as its 38th member.

The Paris-based organization, which has been accused of promoting European interests, is keen to showcase more regional diversity.

Colombia was admitted last year to join Chile and Mexico from Latin America as the OECD expands to what is now a group of “mostly wealthy” countries. It was established in 1961 when the United States and Canada partnered with a European entity executing the Marshall Plan, the American program to rebuild war-torn economies in Europe.

Two thirds of the members are still European. The United States remains a notable voice with Australia, Japan and South Korea, among others. Africa is the only continent not represented.

According to the World Bank’s classification system, Costa Rica is an upper middle income country, one step below high income, and clearly has higher ambitions.

Screenshot of a tweet from the US Secretary of State regarding Costa Rica’s membership in the OECD.

Screenshot of a tweet from the US Secretary of State regarding Costa Rica’s membership in the OECD.

“Once again, we are showing the world that Costa Rica strives to achieve excellence and meet challenges, no matter how difficult they may seem, to achieve greater prosperity for its people,” said President Carlos Alvarado in a statement.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said he was delighted to welcome Costa Rica, with a population of five million, to the group “at a time when multilateralism is more important than ever”.

COVID-19 hits hard

The Central American nation’s foreign minister, Andrés Valenciano, said membership would make it an attractive destination for foreign investment, having undergone a series of economic reforms over 11 years to qualify for membership in the OECD.

The country will need all the influxes it can get as its tourism-dependent economy has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 cases reached 306,899 and deaths reached 3,877 at 7:00 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

Observers say structural reforms Costa Rica undertook helped it land a pandemic $ 1.8 billion IMF loan in March.

Despite its small size, the country is “a world leader in its environmental policies and achievements,” says the World Bank.

The government estimates that up to 99% of Costa Rica’s electricity production comes from renewable energies – water, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar energy. It is also one of the most biodiverse nations in the world.

As for the OECD, The Economist says the most appropriate description would be a research and standards body, given that it is best known for its regular economic reports, work on international tax evasion, and analysis of tax evasion. global education standards.


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