Five Development Projects in El SalvadorThe country of El Salvador is known for being the smallest and most densely populated country in Latin America. Despite having the 12th highest GDP in the Americas, 32.7 percent of its citizens live in poverty. Certain foreign organizations and aid missions continue to create development projects in El Salvador that attempt to address the high poverty rate.

Here are five development projects in El Salvador designed to help in all facets from economic to social.

El Salvador Competitive Project 

The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) is giving specialized help to districts in El Salvador as a feature of a five-year venture with the essential target of increasing the competitiveness of key economic sectors. The venture is financed by the U.S. Organization for International Development (USAID) and expands on lessons gained from improvements in previous activities.

The project will enhance the national and subnational business conditions to support private-segment speculation, development and business extension to encourage financial development and employment creation. 

El Salvador Cacao Alliance  

Despite the significance of the cacao harvest in pre-provincial Mesoamerica, cacao bean harvest is practically non-existent today in El Salvador.

A $29.4 million Cacao Alliance, with $10 million provided by USAID and the Howard Buffett Establishment, seeks to help roughly 6,000 little ranchers reactivate the cacao harvest in El Salvador. 

The movement hopes to support the horticulture economy and financial development in 83 districts by situating El Salvador as a net maker and exporter of cacao. The reactivation of cacao will improve the livelihoods of agriculturists and create up to 13,000 occupations within the cacao production chain.

USAID Bridges to Employment

Presently, Salvadoran youth living in regions with high crime rates have double the possibility of being unemployed than the rest of the population. Through training and effectively incorporating youth into the workforce, there is a chance to utilize the untapped potential of youth to support financial development in El Salvador.

USAID’s $42.2 million Bridges to Employment Project will enhance frameworks and organizations in order to connect at-risk youth, between the ages of 16 and 29, to employment opportunities. 

USAID Higher Education for Economic Growth

USAID created the Higher Education for Economic Growth program in order to increase the education of Salvadoran youth. It plans to create partnerships between industries and academics, so students will be trained to contribute to economic and industrial growth. The program will also train faculty members to create educational programs that will implement these plans. 

USAID plans to give scholarships to 1,000 Salvadoran students in priority academic programs, like STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Universities will receive support through a scholarship seed fund to develop student financial aid.

SME Development Program

Census statistics show that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) generate 99 percent of business and 36 percent of jobs in El Salvador. The SME Development Program seeks to partner with the government and the private sector to help SMEs have greater success through increased access to business services and expansion into newer markets. 

Since 2012, USAID has helped fund over 9,000 SMEs in El Salvador. These SMEs have gone on to generate over $140 million in domestic sales and exports and have created 21,000 new jobs. In 2015 alone, USAID has helped provide $5.2 million in financing to 185 SMEs. 

El Salvador is currently addressing the issue of poverty in all parts of its country. With the help of these five development projects, El Salvador will create growth in its economy, effectively providing opportunities for people, and bettering the country. 

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr