Estrategia & Negocios magazine dedicated its September-October issue to the post-pandemic economic recovery of Central America. For the occasion, they interviewed leaders from the region such as businessman and sociologist, Dionisio Gutiérrez; former president of Costa Rica, José María Figueres; and the president of INCAE, Enrique Bolaños.
In his interview, Dionisio Gutiérrez emphasized that the real challenge for Central America is to address the political framework: "we have very weak institutions, small fiscal flexibility, and absent citizens. That’s why the culture of «every man for himself» prevails".
Regarding the challenges of the region to achieve development, with the accumulated negative balance that the country had dragged even before the pandemic, the businessman pointed out: “Central America is vulnerable to real threats such as organized crime associated with government institutions. In the face of the pandemic, these threats should force the elites to take brave actions, to achieve, on the one hand, economic reactivation and, on the other, give people the opportunity to survive. The accumulated negative balance that we have in social and economic issues is enormous and it is the cause of our political underdevelopment”.
Concerning the negative impacts that the crisis will have on the isthmus, the president of Fundación Libertad y Desarrollo commented: "This crisis will leave us exposed to social conflict and political instability. In 2020 and all of 2021 we will experience a drop in economic activity throughout the region and very severe damage, with serious social consequences. Sadly, we will have to live with this reality. There will be unemployment, higher public debt, and deficit. Many people have lost their jobs and it is sad to see the number of small businesses that simply have disappeared".
Finally, he commented on the performances of the Central American countries in handling the pandemic and the results of these strategies: “We closed early, weakening our economies even more. When the time to face contagion finally came, we simply didn’t have the resources nor the capacity to organize the hospitals. This crisis is of such magnitude, that the storm will have to be navigated in the best possible way. It is the responsibility of the elites of the region to articulate a plan for the economic recovery and a development model that responds to the most evident needs”.
To read the full interview, click here.