Business

U.S. VP Harris to meet companies, groups to push Central America economic growth

Harris will urge businesses to make "new and significant commitments" to boost economic opportunities in the region

Kamala Harris Central America
Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
  • The U.S. vice president’s push to spur regional economic growth will focus on six areas;
  • These include expanding affordable internet access, combating food shortages by boosting farm productivity and backing regional efforts to fight climate change and make a transition to clean energy.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet top officials from 12 companies and groups including Microsoft, Mastercard and the World Economic Forum on Thursday to promote economic opportunity in Central America’s Northern Triangle countries, a White House official told Reuters.

President Joe Biden has tasked Harris with leading U.S. efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to deal with an increase in migration into the United States. Since then, Harris has taken a series of steps to improve conditions and lower migration from the region.

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During the meeting on Thursday, Harris will urge businesses to make “new and significant commitments” to boost economic opportunities in the region, said the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The 12 companies will announce measures to support such efforts, the official said. The U.S. vice president’s push to spur regional economic growth will focus on six areas.

These include expanding affordable internet access, combating food shortages by boosting farm productivity and backing regional efforts to fight climate change and make a transition to clean energy.

READ ALSO: How confusion around Biden policies birthed a new refugee camp on the U.S. border

It will also aim to expand job training programs and improve public health access.

The meeting will be attended by top executives from yogurt maker Chobani, food giant Nestle‘s Nespresso unit, financial companies Bancolombia and Davivienda as well as language-learning website Duolingo.

Non-profits Accion and Pro Mujer, along with the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Harvard University‘s T.H. Chan School of Public Health will also attend.

In April, Harris unveiled an additional $310 million in U.S. aid to Central America. She is expected to visit Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8 – her first overseas trip as vice president.

READ ALSO: JPMorgan development arm seeks to fund vaccine supply chain in Central America

U.S. officials see corruption as a major contributor to a migrant exodus from the region, along with gang violence and natural disasters, issues that represent hurdles for companies investing in the region.

Some Central American leaders recently pushed back on the Biden administration’s anti-corruption strategy, which included releasing a list labeling 17 regional politicians as corrupt.

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