SAN JOSE Nov 6 Costa Rica is negotiating a $400
million loan from the World Bank to pay back a debt with the
country's social security institute, President Laura Chinchilla
said on Tuesday.
Chinchilla made the announcement at a meeting with World
Bank officials to sign a smaller loan of $200 million to support
four public universities.
"Education and health have become top financing and debt
priorities for the administration", Chinchilla said.
Costa Rica has universal healthcare and the social security
institute runs many of the country's hospitals and provides
health services to those who are not privately insured.
Chinchilla said the institute use the debt payment to invest
in infrastructure and the improvement of services. The smaller
loan signed on Tuesday will help public universities invest in
technology, research, and boost enrolment.
Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million people known for its
tourist beaches and coffee exports, is struggling to contain a
ballooning fiscal deficit.
Last year the fiscal deficit reached 4.4 percent of gross
domestic product, one of the highest in Latin America and is
narrowly valued at more than 5 percent this year.