The Government of the United States intends to promote private investment in the countries of Central America with the aim of achieving a much more prosperous region economically and thus avoiding the large migratory flows that have occurred in recent times.
This was expressed Thursday by Emily Mendrala, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the US Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, assuring that the private sector, through investment, can “create jobs, economic opportunities and address the economic drivers of the migration”.
This plan is part of the comprehensive strategy that President Joe Biden announced upon reaching the White House and that Vice President Kamala Harris has developed in different phases. On February 6, Harris announced the “Central America Forward” project, with which she wants to lay the foundations to achieve greater stability in the region by strengthening the private sector.
“‘Centroamérica Adelante’ goes beyond addressing only the economic drivers of migration and, instead, takes advantage of the private sector to achieve more comprehensive objectives such as good governance or labor rights,” he pointed out during an event held at the headquarters Inter-American Dialogue, in Washington DC.
On this, he recalled that the White House has launched an “investment facilitation team”, through which the State Department is “leading a new interagency effort to support investments in clean energy, infrastructure projects in that sector from concept to financing in Central America”.
“We are taking an interest in this because, in conversations with interested parties, with companies, with civil society, with potential investors, with governments, etc. we have found that the lack of clean energy infrastructure is a major constraint to economic growth in Central America,” he said.
Some federal agencies, such as the Department of State for Central American Affairs, the Department of Energy and the Economy, as well as the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and other international organizations have joined efforts to implement an investment plan in the region. .
“Together we will work to identify a pipeline of projects, develop technical assistance packages to support project preparation, identify a mechanism to vet local partners, showcase projects to potential investors, and facilitate access to finance for these projects,” he said. assured the senior US government official convinced that “the private sector plays a fundamental role and we must continue to collaborate with the private sector in the future.”
Commitment to “the rule of law” and “decent work” in Central America
On the other hand, he has also mentioned another project related to the “Central America Forward” plan and which is based on “promoting an environment in which the rule of law and decent work can flourish.”
“These include due diligence and the adoption of good practices, including meaningful stakeholder engagement, compliance with national and international laws, including work to eliminate corruption, freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, the effective abolition of child labor”, among other things, indicated Mandrala.
In this sense, he has stressed that the US executive “will not turn a blind eye to bad behavior that allows corruption or violates human rights as something apparently separate from economic objectives”, something that, in his opinion, must also be addressed to achieve prosperity in the region in all senses.
“We know that the private sector has significant influence and should be a force for good. And those who join us must be up for the task,” Mendrala said.
A multi-million dollar investment
According to official data, up to now an investment of 4,200 million dollars has been achieved in the north of Central America, but the plan is for the foreign economic injection to increase in the next decade through projects that include “financial inclusion, access digital, gender equality, education and training, access to capital and investment in infrastructure.
“Many of the financial commitments represent a term of 10 years, however, we are already seeing mobilization on the ground”, he commented, recalling that “since May 2021, companies have deployed more than 650 million dollars in investments, loans and acquisitions”. These funds have been distributed in El Salvador (100 million dollars), Guatemala (215 million dollars) and Honduras (337 million dollars).
“In addition, companies report that they have created more than 15,000 jobs across the region, connected 4 million people to the Internet, incorporated more than one million people into the formal financial economy, and trained more than 160 million people to improve the labor force”, stressed the Subsecretariat of the Department of State.
Republicans Defend Tougher Immigration Policies
The objective of these plans is to minimize migratory flows from Central America to the United States as much as possible. However, the Republican bench assures that the immigration policies of the United States must be toughened to avoid these flows of illegal migrants crossing the southern border of the country that has caused “an unprecedented crisis” and, according to what they say, a national security problem. .
“The security of our nation and our border is first and foremost the responsibility of our president,” Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has commented on more than one occasion.
Other Republican congressmen also admit to being concerned about the increase in irregular migration to the United States. The representative for Florida, Carlos Giménez, has criticized Joe Biden’s policies, considering that what they do “encourage” waves of immigrants to the United States, putting them in a situation of vulnerability under the control of organized groups dedicated to trafficking people.
“Incentives have to be stopped so that these children do not come alone, what happens with adults is also important because they also have incentives to come,” warned Giménez, alluding to the measures promoted by the administration.
Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our channel Youtube and activate notifications, or follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.