Silhouette of two men wearing hats in front of drying coffee beans (© Reza/Getty Images)
Coffee beans are spread out to dry in the sun after being picked at a farm in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in 2012. Some farms in the area are connected to the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program. (© Reza/Getty Images)

Encouraging the U.S. private sector to invest in Central America’s economy is a priority for the Biden-Harris administration.

“I have been convening American CEOs and corporations who have pledged to support this region,” Vice President Harris said January 27 during a visit to Honduras. “And right now, the pledge has reached $1.2 billion.”

The U.S. government’s plan to address the root causes of irregular migration involves, in part, creating greater economic opportunities in northern Central America, specifically Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Increased employment opportunities at home can help citizens from these countries seek out opportunities to work and prosper at home.

Children working at computers (Courtesy of Microsoft)
Children work on computers at a digital access training center supported by Microsoft in Santa Rosa Department, Guatemala. (Courtesy of Microsoft)

Harris’ Call to Action has resulted in investments from top U.S. companies — and more continue to roll in.

“When we talk about our attention to dealing with the economic support we can give countries in Central America, a lot of it includes partnerships with CEOs and with our private sector in the United States — with American corporations,” Harris said January 27 while in the region for a bilateral meeting with Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

According to the White House, since May 2021:

  • Microsoft has begun developing digital access training centers, clean off-grid energy and broadband access to reach 1.1 million people. The company also trained more than 100,000 workers in technical and digital skills.
  • Nespresso has announced its first coffee sourcing from Honduras and El Salvador, and expanded sourcing from Guatemala, with plans to increase activities in the region for the next harvest season. Nespresso will spend $150 million on coffee purchases, price premiums and technical assistance by 2025 to support the region’s economy.
  • Mastercard has signed a memorandum of understanding for a digital country partnership with the Ministry of the Economy of Guatemala to bring 5 million people across El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras into the formal financial economy and enable 1 million small businesses to access online payment systems.

In a virtual event, Harris encouraged an audience of more than 1,300 business, government and civil society leaders from across Central America and the United States to respond to the Call to Action.

“Together, we can work to overcome obstacles to investment, promote economic opportunity, and support long-term development in the region,” the State Department said.