Rule of law needs strengthening
All the fiscal and commercial incentives which a country offers are often of little use without the rule of law, which gives investors confidence that their rights will be respected.
In the isthmus and and neighboring parts of Latin America, the security of investments would for that reason seem to vary significantly, with respect for the rule of law ranging from fairly high levels in Costa Rica, to questionable values in the rest of Central America, as well as Colombia and Mexico.
In the region, Costa Rica with 0.68 points out of a maximum of 1.00, is tied with Chile in 25th place worldwide, according to the Rule of Law Index calculated by the World Justice Project.
Panama is in 62d place with 0.52 points, ahead of Colombia in 71st position and a score of 0.51.
The rest of Central America and its neighbors all fall into the bottom half of the points scale: El Salvador at 0.49, Mexico at 0.46, Guatemala at 0.44, and Nicaragua and Honduras each at 0.42.
Uruguay is the leading Latin American country in the Index, at number 20 and 0.72 points.
The United States is number 18 with 0.74 points.
Of the 113 countries in the list, Venezuela comes last with a score of 0.28.
Denmark placed first in the world with 0.89 points, followed by the three other Scandinavian countries.