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German Vice-Minister Visits

Erich Stather, Germany’s Vice-Minister of Cooperation and Development, was in Costa Rica this week to visit areas benefiting from donations from Germany, as well as to consider region-wide aid to Central America as a whole.

Stather, who arrived Saturday and left Wednesday, told wire service ACAN-EFE he hopes a relationship similar to existing German-Costa Rican cooperation can take place with other Central American countries to promote regional development to overcome “the social and development differences” that exist between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, for example.

The visit also served as preparation for the bilateral meetings scheduled for the end of the year in Germany regarding cultural, financial and technical cooperation between the two countries.

Germany has donated 170 million euros ($201.6 million) through the German Cooperation Agency (GTZ) to Costa Rica during the past 40 years. The agency – which has been working in Costa Rica for more than 20 years on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the agency’s Web site, – has funded projects in the areas of environment, institutional and government development, infrastructure and small and medium businesses, among others.

GTZ director Wolfgang Schmitt was among the German leaders who accompanied Stather during his visit.

On Saturday, Stather visited the Northern Huetar Forest Project, which received a donation from the German organization Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), according to a statement from the German Embassy. The project is managed by Costa Rica’s National Fund for Financing Forests (FONAFIFO), under its Payments for Environmental Services (PSA) program.

KfW donated 10.2 million euros ($12.1 million) to finance 70% of the PSA contracts in the Northern Huetar and Sarapiquí areas, in northern Costa Rica.

Stather also met with Minister of the Environment and Energy Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Public Works and Transportation Randall Quirós, Minister of Foreign Relations Roberto Tovar and ex-President Oscar Arias, National Liberation Party presidential candidate and unofficial victor of the recent elections (TT, Feb. 24).

Tovar said his meeting with Stather provided a chance “to express the gratitude of our country for the broad cooperation with Germany” and to strengthen political and trade relations.

The vice-minister paid visits to Costa Rican companies including Dos Pinos, Techshop and the Heredia Public Services Company (ESPH), which have been advised by German visitors to the country through a program called Integrated Experts in the InternationalCenter for Migration and Development.



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