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REGIONSAMERICAS


US GOVERNMENT STEPS UP COLLABORATION TO ADDRESS ROOT CAUSES OF CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATION


Harris’sLatam calltoaction


US


US vice president Kamala Harris announced a “call to action” for American and Latin American businesses and non-profits on May 27, asking for commitments on inclusive economic development in the so-called ‘Northern Triangle’ of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In a bid to “address the root


causes of migration” from the Northern Triangle into the US, the White House said in a statement that it will make significant contributions to “foster economic opportunity, strengthen governance, combat corruption and improve security”. However, it added, “supporting


the long-termdevelopment of the region, and in the Western Hemisphere more broadly, will require more than just the resources of the US government”. “The administration looks


forward to increased collaboration with private companies — US, foreign, and local in the Northern Triangle and Latin America more broadly — to build upon this ‘call to action’ in the months and years to come,” the statement continues. According to a model developed


by academics at the University of Texas at Austin, an estimated average 311,000 people left the Northern Triangle annually between 2014 and 2020, with the majority bound for the US. The collaboration between the


US government and the private sector will reportedly target six focus areas: reformagenda; digital and financial inclusion; food security and climate-smart agriculture; climate adaptation and clean energy; education and workforce development; and public health access. Arun Pillai-Essex, US lead


analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, says that such a move fromthe US government has revealed the inefficacy of direct aid.


50


General Motors bets $1bn on EV


The US automotive giant General Motors (GM) announced on April 29 that it was investing more than $1bn to expand a plant in Mexico for the production of electric vehicles (EVs) and GPS positioning systems. GMhas already started to upgrade


its existing plant in Ramos Arizpe, where production of its own electric vehicles will start from 2023. It will also produce batteries and electrical components for commercial use, starting with the manufacturing of EV powertrains this year. Francisco Garza, president and


Building better: Kamala Harris has called for help driving economic development in the Northern Triangle


“Marshalling the resources of


the federal government to encourage foreign investment is an acknowledgement that direct aid to regional governments and support for civil society alone has done little to improve baseline socio-economic conditions that continue to drive people north,” he says. The Covid-19 pandemic has


only exacerbated the economic plight of these three Central American countries, particularly Honduras and El Salvador, which fell 8% and 8.6% in terms of real gross domestic product growth, according to the IMF. But, Mr Pillai-Essex adds, the


eventual success of this move — which is part of a long-termstrategy to help foster the conditions for business investment — “hinges more on regional governments making necessary reforms to improve long- standing impediments to private sector growth”. The 12 companies and


organisations cited in the official statement are: Accion, Bancolombia, Chobani, Davivienda, Duolingo, The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Mastercard, Microsoft, Nespresso, Pro Mujer, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, and the World Economic Forum.■ SETHO’FARRELL


chief executive ofGMMexico, said in a statement in April:“We are very proud to contribute to the realisation of GM’s vision of zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion, by contributing to the production of EVs.” He added thatGMhas operated in Mexico for more than 85 years. But not everyone was celebrating


success. North American labour union of automotive workers United AutoWorkers’s vice president Terry Dittes called the investment a “slap in the face”. “GMautomobiles made in Mexico


are sold in the US and should be made right here,employing American workers,” he said. “This is not the America any of us signed on for. Frankly, it is unseemly.”■ SETHO’FARRELL


Samsung’s sunny future


Korean conglomerate Samsung is looking at developing solar power plants worth $673m in Texas, US, in a bid to sell the electricity generated from December 2023, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. Construction of the solar plants


will begin in June 2022 and will bring about a combined capacity of roughly 700MW. A Samsung official told Reuters


that subsidiary Samsung Renewable Energy is “proceeding with approval procedures with the state”. The plants will be located in


Milam county, less than two hours’ drive fromAustin where Samsung Electronics has a chip factory.■ SETHO’FARRELL


www.fDiIntelligence.com June/July 2021


8.6%


ELSALVADOR’SGROSSDOMESTIC PRODUCTSHRANKBY8.6%IN 2020, INPARTDUETOCOVID-19


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