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Huge progress in the Northern Triangle: A dynamic platform for nearshoring in Central America

by | Nov 4, 2023

Leaders from Honduras, the US, Guatemala, and El Salvador recently gathered at the third annual meeting of the ThinkHUGE Business and Investment Council to discuss advances making the region a dynamic platform for nearshoring in Central America.

More than 100 executive-level private, public, and civil society leaders from Honduras, the US, Guatemala, and El Salvador reported on the significant progress made toward turning the region into a dynamic platform for nearshoring in Central America during the third annual ThinkHUGE Business and Investment Council meeting. Participants included several senior Biden administration appointees, members of the United States Congress, Northern Triangle government officials, and commercial and development bank executives.

The Minister of Investment of Honduras, Miguel Medina, Secretary Miguel Kattán of El Salvador, and Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez of Guatemala agreed to point out that the three countries are open for business for nearshoring in Central America. They highlighted new legislation that allows for ease of doing business and expressed their willingness to facilitate access and provide predictability openly and transparently to all those companies that move their operations from Asia to Central America.

HUGE founders and sponsors presented the bold new investments they are making and initiatives to support social and environmental sustainability in the region, including in highly sophisticated renewable energy, manufacturing, logistics, and aeronautics systems. The discussion included partnerships with development banks to further enhance the Northern Triangle of Central America’s private sector relationship with key players in the United States.

ThinkHUGE and its invaluable work

“ I want to thank the ThinkHUGE team for the invaluable work they are doing to address the main challenges facing Central America. Its dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to the region have not gone unnoticed, and I am truly inspired by the impact it is making. I have met many ThinkHUGE member companies and am impressed by the scope and scale of their projects that employ people in Central America, generate renewable energy, build infrastructure, and integrate global supply chains. These projects generated more than $4.6 billion in investment and will create nearly 130,000 jobs,” said José Fernández, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, during his opening remarks.

“Central America continues to face tremendous obstacles to economic prosperity, and it is time for the United States to lead in building relationships with companies like HUGE members to reverse this trend,” said Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (R-FL).

She added: “My innovative Law of the Americas will provide Central America with the development it needs to be led by the American private sector and will lift millions of people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador out of poverty.”

Dr. Juan José Daboub, president of HUGE, described one of the main obstacles to economic prosperity: “A truck in Central America travels at the same speed as Christopher Columbus when he arrived in America more than 500 years ago. This has to change!” The event was an excellent opportunity to learn about the significant ongoing infrastructure projects developed by the founders of HUGE to promote nearshoring in Central America.

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) set an example of how America’s two major political parties can work together on the potential for a more secure and prosperous future for the Northern Triangle and how The Americas Act will help make that happen. C-Suite level private sector leaders from Target Corporation, Millicom, AT&T Services Inc, Walmart México y Centroamérica, and Crowley Logistics participated in a panel discussion on how to make the Northern Triangle a dynamic platform for nearshoring in Central America.

Digital infrastructure

“I want to highlight the strategy of establishing a robust digital infrastructure to position Central America as a nearshoring center. Despite significant investments and a 96% connectivity rate, the usage and access gap must be addressed to close the digital divide. Through collaboration with the public sector, private industry can become an important change agent in developing Central American talent for the region’s progress. Nearshoring in Central America, with its potential for economic growth and job creation, plays a fundamental role in this strategic vision,” said Karim Lesina, executive vice president and head of external affairs at Millicom. Larry Lerner, partner at McKinsey & Co., discussed connectivity and access to knowledge and technology during the event, including using AI to help companies overcome the competition.

The executive vice president and director of operations of the Inter-American Development Bank, Jordan Schwartz, and the director of operations of US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Agnes Dasewicz, reaffirmed their commitment to the region in a panel where the founder of HUGE, Bernardo Yurrita Tabush, from Industrial Bank, also outlined the importance of efficient and timely support from development organizations to make things happen faster. “We are inspired by the power of the public and private sectors working together effectively to create sustainable development. It was an honor to participate in the HUGE Business & Investment Council Annual Conference. In a short period, the organization has achieved notable results for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in areas including investment, employment, and impact, creating ancillary benefits for the United States,” said Kristie Pellecchia of Pellecchia International and former DFC official.

Northern Triangle

“Today, people in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America want more security and a job to feed their families. They would like to achieve the American dream at home. ThinkHUGE offers a win-win situation. It was a victory for workers in the Northern Triangle countries, who would prefer to be with their families at home. A victory for the private sector of the US, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador because China’s business will be done in their territories. And a national security victory for the governments of the four countries because there will be fewer incentives for people to immigrate. We want to pursue economic growth and development that benefits all societal stakeholders. These include workforce development, health and education, and socially and environmentally conscious efforts, including housing, to name a few. We have the ability and responsibility to create jobs, good-paying jobs that make people achieve the American Dream at home,” said Dr. Juan José Daboub, president of ThinkHUGE.

The HUGE (Honduras, US, Guatemala, El Salvador) Business & Investment Council is a nonprofit business association established by private sector leaders from the Northern Triangle of Central America and the United States. HUGE represents the first joint effort by the region’s private sector job creators to drive massive job creation in all four countries. HUGE’s founders and sponsors have extensive experience generating sustainable opportunities through their entrepreneurial efforts and are firmly committed to engaging others to join this effort.

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