Skip to main content

Why Latin America Is the New India

Business 2.0 has a great story on how Central and South America are becoming the next India for American corporations. This is great news. This should spur the Latin communities to improve their undergraduate and graduate education, specially in technology and sciences.

economically, it will have a great impact, as is evident in India. What I look forward to is Latinos being on the cutting edge of innovation in their home countries.
With its beaches, golf courses, cuba libres, and rock-solid social-security system, it's no wonder that Costa Rica is luring American executives who want an alternative to Indian outsourcing. After sending thousands of technology and call-center jobs to India and the Philippines, major U.S. companies including Dell (DELL) and Procter & Gamble (PG) are now looking to Latin America to meet their outsourcing -- or rather, "nearsourcing" -- needs. Like India before them, Brazil, Nicaragua, Panama, and especially Costa Rica are embracing the trend with business-friendly policies and aggressive marketing. "Costa Rica is moving up very fast," says Ram Mohan, IT manager for P&G, which operates a 1,000-employee center in San José, Costa Rica, to handle financial and infrastructure systems support.

Currently, 24,500 Costa Ricans work in call-center and IT jobs, doing everything from fielding complaints about shampoo to answering questions about insurance. The number of call-center positions alone is expected to double in the next two years, says Federico Cartín, executive director of the nonprofit Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technology. In Latin America as a whole, the number of call-center workstations will hit 730,000 in 2008, up from 336,000 in 2004, according to market-research firm Datamonitor. Brazil is expected to get a big slice of that business, thanks to some of the lowest labor costs in South America. Business promotion agency ProNicaragua expects its homeland to create 3,000 new jobs in the next few years, while Dell already employs 2,000 workers at its Panama call center.

It helps that the scenic shores of Central America are just a five-hour flight from the East Coast, but that's not the only appeal. The region also shares two time zones with the United States -- the better for handling phone calls -- and Costa Rica, in particular, is full of well-educated workers, having abolished its army more than 50 years ago and rechanneled the funds into education, including mandatory English training. Though its progressive labor codes translate into relatively high wages, the "Switzerland of Central America" also boasts an extensive social-security system that makes it easy to perform background checks.


Popular posts from this blog

Communism: Good Money for the "El Viejo"

I guess Fidel Castro is doing ok. Forbes lists Castro as one of the richest in the world, right up there with the Queen of England. I bet he didn't like the attention. It was hard to figure it out, but it seems they managed to throw some numbers together.
In the past, we have relied on a percentage of Cuba's gross domestic product to estimate Fidel Castro's fortune. This year we have used more traditional valuation methods, comparing state-owned assets Castro is assumed to control with comparable publicly traded companies. A reasonable discount was then applied to compensate for the obvious disclosure issues.

Hispanic Trending: Leave your name at the border

Most people miss the fact that Hispanics do not consist of a single ethnic group. Besides that, the heritage that each one of the many nationalities represented in our immigrant population is diverse in itself. As I read Manuel Muñoz's post on his assimilation experience, I can tell you mine was nothing like his. But I can relate to this paragraph. My niece's name is Katie Belle (Sierra). It's intriguing to watch "American" names begin to dominate among my nieces and nephews and second cousins, as well as with the children of my hometown friends. I am not surprised to meet 5-year-old Brandon or Kaitlyn. Hardly anyone questions the incongruity of matching these names with last names like Trujillo or Zepeda. The English-only way of life partly explains the quiet erasure of cultural difference that assimilation has attempted to accomplish. A name like Kaitlyn Zepeda doesn't completely obscure her ethnicity, but the half-step of her nam…

Podcast: Talking GOP Debate and No Child Left Behind

Click here to listen to the MP3 audio of the discussion between Michel Martin, Stephen Henderson and myself on the GOP debate, and Bush's push for No Child Left Behind. The segment on the new gospel music competition reality show is a great segment -- check it out as well. Tell Me More, October 12, 2007 · This week, GOP presidential contenders met for a debate in Dearborn, Michigan. Meanwhile, President Bush was stumping for reauthorization of the education bill, "No Child Left Behind." In this week's Political Chat, hear insights from political blogger Josue Sierra and Stephen Henderson, Deputy Editorial Page Editor at the Detroit Free Press.

You can listen on the NPR website right here.

Related Posts:
- On Air: Talking GOP Debate and No Child Left Behind
- GOP Economy Debate

Other Posts of Interest:
- Conference for Minority Journalists of Faith Cross posted at: