El Salvador is making strides to recover from the global crisis, and the country is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent this year. This has in no small part been attributable to President Funes’ technical advisor Dr. Alexander Segovia, an Oxford-trained economist.
Dr Segovia oversees President Funes’ five-year social and economic plan, which includes a strategic outlook to 2024. “The priorities are poverty, equality, and all the other social issues. These will make up 43 per cent of the programs and projects, which will exceed $4.5 billion,” said Dr. Segovia. The administration is now addressing fiscal issues as well as maintaining control over public finance.
The last assessment by the International Money Fund reveals that El Salvador has met 100 per cent of all indicators. The Anti Crisis goals have been met, the government have established a Universal Social Protection System, and will spend 4 per cent of GDP on social programs.
The government is also making active moves to increase private investment, namely: the creation of a system to foster development, including the establishment of a State Bank, to help address the lack of capital to finance strategic investments; the establishment of Public-Private Partnerships where infrastructure, energy, ports, airports, transport systems are concerned; development of the port of La Union; and a new Free Trade Zone law.
Most significantly, El Salvador is one of the first countries to participate in the Partnership for Growth program with the United States, putting into practice the principles of the new Policy Directive – to drive economic progress in the region and achieve sustainable economic growth.
President Funes and President Obama underscored the importance of working together on global climate change, green growth, and clean energy, and also discussed the importance of Central American economic integration efforts. President Obama pledged support to a new Crossroads Fund in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank to foster more efficient and secure regional transport networks throughout Central America.
The program also includes technical assistance from agro development to exploiting maritime resources, and the transfer of technology and innovative know-how in order to attract big IT companies.
With the Bridge initiative, the government will use remittances from Salvadorans living in the U.S. to create a fund to finance development projects, while the US will also help reposition El Salvador’s image in the world .
However, international cooperation is not a substitute for El Salvador’s obligations as a nation, and the country knows it has to work hard in order to grow and develop in every way.