GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Central America 2030: Political, Economic and Security Outlook

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Introduction from Report:

The countries of Central America—Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama— face many of the same challenges. The most obvious and publicly discussed of these challenges is crime and insecurity, stemming both from the subregion’s unfortunate geographic location between cocaine producing countries to its south and cocaine consuming countries to the north—primarily the United States— and domestic gang violence and corruption.

But these threats are embedded in an already fertile environment, fed by weak state capacity, economic underperformance, challenging demographics, and rising voter rejection of the political class. Even once secure, democratic Costa Rica is confronting challenges of insecurity and growing citizen disenchantment. To better understand and analyze these issues, their interrelationships and likely impact in the future, we have untangled them into five separate themes: 1) security and violence; 2) weak institutional capacity; 3) economic growth; 4) demography; and 5) technology. In addition, we discuss two cross cutting themes: popular opinion and the likely impact of extreme weather on many of these factors and the region’s future.