Twelve private companies and groups, including Microsoft, Mastercard and Nestle’s Nespresso, pledged to invest in Central America on Thursday. The pledge is a victory for Vice President Kamala Harris in her efforts to combat the problems that fuel the population’s departure from the area towards the US.
President Joe Biden has asked Ms. Harris to lead U.S. government initiatives to coordinate efforts with Mexico and Central American countries: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Vice President Harris has taken a number of steps to bring about improved conditions in the hope that this would reduce the impetus for immigration.
Ms Harris, who met with officials from these countries on Thursday, said economic opportunities in the region could be boosted through co-operation with the private sector.
“In order for us as an administration to increase the potential of our work for success, we need to work with the private sector,” Ms. Harris said in a press release at the opening of the meeting.
At the meeting, the companies offered commitment commitments. Microsoft said it would expand internet access to 3 million people in the region by July 2022. Nespresso announced plans to buy coffee from El Salvador and Honduras, investing $ 150 million by 2025, a House official said. of White.
The food company Chobani has promised to open a program in Guatemala to support entrepreneurial initiatives, while the financial firm Mastercard promises to help 5 million people in the region access the financial system, as well as provide small loans to 1 million companies and t enable them to access banking in digital form.
Vice President Harris has focused on five areas for economic growth: expanding Internet access, initiatives in response to food shortages by increasing agricultural productivity, efforts to combat climate change and support for the green energy transition, and programs to qualify the arm work as well as to expand access to health systems.
In April, Ms. Harris unveiled a $ 310 million program to help Central America. She is expected to visit Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8, on her first trip abroad in the role of vice president.
US officials say corruption is one of the main factors fueling mass migration from the region. Other factors include gang violence and natural disasters that hinder investment by powerful companies in these countries.