Gabriela Llobet Leaves Costa Rica’s Investment Promotion Agency

Gabriela Llobet, director general of CINDE, has resigned seven years after she took charge of leading the agency assigned with the task of bringing foreign investment into Costa …

Gabriela Llobet, director general of CINDE.

Gabriela Llobet, director general of CINDE, has resigned seven years after she took charge of leading the agency assigned with the task of bringing foreign investment into Costa Rica.

“I have been honored to have been part of this organization,” Llobet told the CINDE board of management on Tuesday. She will, however, stay in her seat until 30 September.

CINDE has had many ups and downs in recent years:  global companies such as Intel and Hewlett Packard have scaled down their operations, laying off hundreds of employees; while Infosys and VMware expanded operations, raising employment prospects.

Today, more than 50 foreign multinationals are operating in Costa Rica. Since 2013 alone, six international firms, including Citi, Cargill, Pfizer, Kimberly Clark and UST Global, have expanded their operations in the Central American country.

Foreign multinationals have generated a lot of jobs here. According to Costa Rican newspaper Nacion, 10 large companies in the global services sector employ 16,000 people in the country.

However, expensive electricity costs and rising wages have remained the primary obstacles when it comes to attracting foreign investment.

In an interview with another Spanish-language newspaper, El Financiero, Llobet urged the country to improve the investment climate by improving infrastructure, the education system and human capital. “We must invest in human capital to meet the demands of the labor market,” she said.

A few years ago, Stream Global Services and Teletech left Costa Rica. Stream cited rising wages and the lack of English-speaking workers for its departure. But things have since changed in Costa Rica’s favor. Convergys acquired Stream earlier this year and has now expanded its operations in Costa Rica.

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