More than $950 million announced today will create economic opportunity in the region, help address root causes of migration.
Vice President Kamala Harris and the Partnership for Central America today announced more than $950 million in new private sector commitments in response to her Call to Action for Northern Central America, bringing the overall total to more than $4.2 billion since May 2021. These investments will help address the root causes of migration by creating economic opportunity in the region. The Partnership for Central America, which was launched with Vice President Harris in May 2021, has played a crucial role in mobilizing these new commitments. As part of this public-private partnership, approximately 47 companies and organizations are collaborating across financial services, textiles and apparel, agriculture, technology, telecommunications and nonprofit sectors to strengthen the region’s economic security. These investments are creating jobs, connecting people to the digital economy, expanding access to financing for small businesses, providing training and education for youth and workers, and improving economic livelihoods for people in the region.
As part of her role leading U.S. government efforts to address the root causes of migration from northern Central America, in May 2021, the Vice President launched the Call to Action for businesses and social enterprises to make significant commitments to promote economic opportunity for people in the region. This is in support of the U.S. Strategy to Address the Root Causes of Migration, which the Vice President launched in July 2021.
The following companies and organizations announced major new commitments today:
- Chegg, an online-learning platform providing support to students who either cannot access the formal education system or have limited opportunity to benefit from such a structure, has committed to certifying 100,000 young adult learners with its online learning platform and technical skilling certification programs in Honduras by 2030, with a particular focus on underserved women. Additionally, Chegg and the Partnership for Central America will collaborate on bringing academic support and language learning tools to over 10,000 learners annually looking to upskill and access jobs in the modern digital economy.
- Columbia Sportswear Company has committed to purchase up to $200 million in products, which will create more than 6,900 jobs in the region over the next five years, in an industry where these jobs are primarily held by women.
- Microwd, which offers microloans to female entrepreneurs, has committed to issue $20 million in debt to continue expansion in El Salvador and Honduras and reach 10,000 additional female entrepreneurs in Northern Central America by 2024, paving the path to impact 1 million people by 2030.
- Millicom has committed to invest an additional $350 million by 2025 to expand and maintain its mobile and broadband networks in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, adding to its initial $700 million commitment for 2023 and 2024.
- Nestle, Nespresso’s parent company, and Nescafé have committed to support more than 7,500 coffee producers in implementing regenerative agriculture practices, strengthening and further developing a supply chain of responsibly grown coffee, and training coffee producers to create and establish productive businesses in collaboration with USAID and fellow Call to Action partner, CoHonducafé.
- Nextil has committed to invest $40 million in two new state-of-the art production facilities in Guatemala to produce garments and elastic fabrics for the shapewear and sportswear markets. The facilities are estimated to create over 1,300 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs.
- Protela-Colombia has committed to invest $45 million in the construction of a vertically integrated textile manufacturing facility in Guatemala to supply fabric for garment manufacturers in Central America, which is expected to directly employ 400 people.
- Root Capital has committed to lend an additional $1.4 million to small businesses in Guatemala in partnership with USAID as part of the Guatemala Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation (GEDI) Initiative, which will help these businesses grow and access capital. In partnership with USAID, Root Capital has also committed to channel a minimum of $80 million in loans to agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises with high-growth potential in Honduras.
- Target has committed to increase its spending by $300 million in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras by 2023. They will deepen existing relationships with vendors and intend to expand vendor relationships who have a presence in all three countries in the region.
- Viamericas, a U.S. company offering international money transfers, Viamericas has committed to increase by 20 percentage points over 5 years the number of remittances that are deposited into accounts instead of paid out directly in cash in Northern Central America, resulting in increased digital financial inclusion on the receiving end.
Specific highlights of previous commitments include:
- The Honduran Coffee Company (CoHonducafe) and Grupo Cadelga committed $2.9 million and $850,000, respectively, to partner with the U.S. Agency for International; Development (USAID) to improve incomes for coffee farmers. To date, their support to nearly 10,800 coffee farmer households has led to $78.6 million in sales.
- CrossBoundary, in partnership with USAID, committed to support eight small and medium businesses to attract $20 to $30 million of total capital investment to El Salvador. To date, CrossBoundary has closed two transactions and mobilized more than $1.5 million for El Salvador and expects to close at least four deals totaling $10 million by 2024.
- Deetken Impact, in partnership with USAID, committed to support at least 10 investments and closing investment transactions totaling at least $20 million, in addition to investing at least $5 million of its own capital in El Salvador. To date, they have closed two transactions, and mobilized more than $17 million, of which $2.2 million were dedicated to renewable energy.
- Heifer International committed $1 million in grant and investment funds to support small and medium businesses in Guatemala through USAID’s GEDI Initiative and committed $4 million in partnership with USAID to improve incomes for 15,000 dairy farmers in Honduras. To date, Heifer has awarded $625,000 to the Red Global de Empresarios Indígenas to support businesses with high growth potential in Guatemala.
- Argidius Foundation committed $3 million to USAID’s GEDI Initiative. To date, Argidius has awarded $1 million to Multiverse and Earth University to assist in their entrepreneurial support services.
- Fundación Rafael Meza Ayau (FRMA), together with private sector partnerships, committed over $2.7 million to a project with USAID to improve the lives of residents of Soyapango, El Salvador. To date, FRMA has strengthened 44 institutions that provide social services; established math, science, and technology labs in 6 public schools; improved math, science, and technology skills of 1,404 public school teachers and 105 students; placed 153 people in vacant job positions; and trained 122 micro businesses to help them grow.
- PriceSmart committed to support USAID’s GEDI Initiative to help entrepreneurs grow and create jobs in areas of high out-migration. Connected to that initiative, PriceSmart, along with its philanthropic partners Price Philanthropies and PriceSmart Foundation, contributed $428,000 to help 120 women in Honduras and Guatemala grow their small and medium enterprises through business management training, connecting them to new markets, and helping them access financing. They also have committed over $800,000 to provide thousands of Honduran youth training and workforce development opportunities.
How to Respond to the Call
The Call to Action is facilitated through a public-private partnership between the State Department and the independent organization the Partnership for Central America, in close coordination with USAID. The Call to Action’s six focus areas are intended to support long-term development of the region, including: promoting a reform agenda; digital and financial inclusion; food security and climate-smart agriculture; climate adaptation and clean energy; education and workforce development; and public health access; strengthening democratic governance, combatting corruption, and improving security. The Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to increased collaboration with private companies from around the world to build upon this Call to Action in the months and years to come. The Administration welcomes additional commitments to participate in this initiative and promote economic opportunity in northern Central America. Vice President Harris invites interested parties to visit the State Department’s website at www.state.gov/jointhecall