The Vice President oversees programs aimed at combating the root causes of migration from the region.
US Vice President Kamala Harris is meeting on Thursday with senior representatives of 12 companies and organizations, including Microsoft, Mastercard, and the World Economic Forum, to discuss expanding economic opportunities in the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America, the White House said.
President Joe Biden assigned Harris to oversee a joint effort with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) to address the increased migration to the United States. Harris has already taken a number of steps to improve conditions and reduce migration from the region.
Earlier, an anonymous White House source said that during the meeting on Thursday, Harris intends to encourage businesses to make “new and important commitments” to expand economic opportunities in the region.
Among the participants of the meeting are the heads of the yogurt company Chobani, the Nespresso division of the food giant Nestle, the financial companies Bancolombia and Davivienda, the Duolingo website, as well as representatives of the non-profit organizations Accion, Pro Mujer and Tent Partnership for Refugees and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
According to the source, 12 companies are announcing initiatives to support these efforts. For example, Microsoft has agreed to expand Internet access to three million people in the region by July 2022, and Nespresso plans to start buying coffee in El Salvador and Honduras with a regional investment of $ 150 million by 2025.
Chobani has agreed to move its incubator program for local entrepreneurs to Guatemala, and Mastercard will try to engage the five million people in the region who currently do not have access to banking services, and provide one million micro and small businesses with access to electronic banking.
The Vice President’s efforts to boost economic growth in the region will focus on six areas, such as expanding Internet access, addressing food shortages by increasing farm productivity and supporting regional efforts to combat climate change and transition to clean energy.
It is also planned to expand vocational training programs and access to health care.
In April, Harris announced $ 310 million in additional aid to Central America. She is expected to visit Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8. This will be her first trip abroad as a vice president.
US authorities believe that one of the main reasons for the increase in the region is corruption, along with organized crime and natural disasters. These problems create obstacles for companies investing in the region. Some Central American leaders have recently come out against the Biden administration’s anti-corruption strategy, which included a list of corrupt regional politicians.