Summary of USAID programs in Central America

Report
from US Agency for International Development
Published on 28 May 2003


FY 2002
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
C.A. Regional
Total
Total in US$ Million
$86.5*
$36.3
$43.1
$19.7
$245.1
*Includes funds for earthquake reconstruction.

USAID supports bilateral programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua and a regional Central American program based in Guatemala City. USAID also supports bilateral programs in Panama and Mexico in addition to non-presence activities in Belize and Costa Rica. With an annual population growth rate of 2.6 percent, the region's inhabitants require higher economic growth - accompanied by adequate investment in human and natural resources - to promote sustainable development. Approximately half of all Central Americans live in rural areas. Two-thirds live below the poverty line.

For the last decade, USAID has played a leading role in the establishment and strengthening of democratically-elected civilian governments that brought an end to the civil wars that convulsed the region. During the 1990s, USAID strove to consolidate peace, to modernize government institutions, to promote judicial reform, and to strengthen the electoral institutions in the region. USAID's timely and highly successful responses to Hurricane Mitch (1998), El Salvadoran earthquakes (2001), and the lingering drought underscore the importance of continued disaster prevention and mitigation programs in the region. President Bush's new Opportunity Alliance for Central America and Mexico, which began in 2002, engages the U.S. private sector and international financial institutions in strategic partnerships to strengthen the competitiveness of the region's rural economies, generate new business and investment, and build trade capacity within the region. USAID's bilateral and regional program highlights follow:

El Salvador. USAID supports the peace process and policies that reduce rural poverty and modernize the public sector. USAID works to increase government transparency, implement a new criminal code, increase rural access to the judicial system, and establish a new national registry system. USAID is also helping to improve water and sanitation facilities, the functioning of the health system, and protection of three major watersheds. USAID is reconstructing housing destroyed by two severe earthquakes in 2001.

Guatemala. USAID assistance to Guatemala supports the implementation of the Peace Accords, strengthens fragile democratic institutions, and promotes justice-sector reform and respect for human rights. USAID is also helping to increase income opportunities and access to education and health services for the rural poor, while encouraging sound environmental management. In December 2001, USAID completed a two-year, $28 million Hurricane Mitch reconstruction program.

Honduras. USAID supports reform of economic policies and small- and micro-enterprise development. The program also helps increase water resources, improves health and reproductive services, and provides emergency food assistance. USAID supports increased access to quality basic education for children and out-of-school youth and adults. Programs help improve the governments' response to citizens' needs and increase coverage of basic services. Hurricane Mitch reconstruction activities totaling $293.1 million support economic reactivation.

Nicaragua. USAID focuses on strengthening democracy, promoting economic growth, and improving health and education. The program helps strengthen the rule of law and citizen participation in public decision-making, increase jobs and income, and improve access to health services and basic education. USAID added a two-year, $103.6 million program for rapid reconstruction in 1999 in response to Hurricane Mitch. An additional $10.5 million, annually, in food aid promotes maternal child health activities and income-generation projects.

Central America Regional Program. USAID supports regional trade, environment, and HIV/AIDS programs. Under the new Opportunity Alliance, USAID will strengthen Central America-Mexico collaboration in areas of trade, agriculture diversification, environmental management, disaster mitigation, and poverty reduction.

PRESS OFFICE
WASHINGTON, DC 20523
(202) 712-4320