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Project Aims to Diminish Poverty in Northern Zone

May 13, 2005

GREAT things are in store for CostaRica’s Northern Zone, according to a presentationTuesday at President AbelPacheco’s weekly Cabinet meeting –presided over this week by Vice-PresidentLineth Saborío because Pacheco was visitingthe United States.The Productive DevelopmentStrategy for the Special Economic Zoneof the Northern Huetar Region, whichseeks to facilitate investment, tourismand job creation in the area, is a projectthat involves the entire community,according to Economy, Industry andCommerce Minister Gilberto Barrantes.The municipality of the Northern-Zonecity of San Carlos is sponsoring the project.The development project will targetthe cantons of Upala, Los Chiles,Guatuso, San Carlos and Sarapiquí.Barrantes, who introduced the project,said it “represents all social sectors” ofthe region, “coordinated to reduce poverty.”He added the initiative has the supportof his ministry, the Foreign TradeMinistry and the Foreign Trade PromotionOffice (PROCOMER), as well as the governmentof Canada, which donated ¢250million ($531,915) to help jumpstart theproject.According to project representativeAlfredo Aguilar, the development strategyhas four pillars: infrastructure, production,education and financing. Improving inthese four areas will allow the region totake advantage of its privileged geographicposition and tourist offerings, he said.He said business and municipal leaders,public officials, church leaders andother residents are among those who havebeen meeting biweekly to discuss the project.The initiative seeks to promote investmentin projects such as improved mobilephone and Internet access, support forsustainable tourism, opening industrialparks for businesses, remodeling the SanCarlos Hospital and building the NorthAtlantic Corridor Highway, which wouldrun from the northwestern coast to theCaribbean port city of Limón, slicingthrough the Northern Zone.

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