Washington, DC – Over 100 high-ranking private, public, and civil society leaders from Honduras, USA, Guatemala, and El Salvador reported on the significant progress achieved towards making the region a dynamic platform for nearshoring during the ThinkHUGE Business and Investment Council’s 3rd Annual Meeting. The participants included several senior Biden Administration appointees, members of the U.S. Congress, Northern Triangle government officials, as well as business and development bank executives.
Minister of Investment of Honduras, Miguel Medina, Secretary Miguel Kattán of El Salvador, and Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez of Guatemala coincided in stating that the 3 countries are open for business. They highlighted new legislation that enables the ease of doing business and expressed their readiness to facilitate access and provide predictability in an open and transparent way to all those companies moving their operations from Asia to Central America. HUGE Founders and Sponsors presented bold new investments they are making and their initiatives to support social and environmental sustainability in the region, including in highly sophisticated renewable energy systems, manufacturing, logistics and aeronautics. The discussion included partnerships with development banks to further enhance the relationship of the Central American Northern Triangle private sector with key players in the USA.
“I want to commend the ThinkHUGE team for the invaluable work you are doing to address the main challenges facing Central America. Your dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to the region have not gone unnoticed and I am truly inspired by the impact you are making. I have met many ThinkHUGE member companies, and I am impressed by the scope and scale of their projects that are employing people in Central America, generating renewable energy, building infrastructure, and integrating supply chains. These projects generated over $4.6 billion in investment and will create nearly 130,000 jobs,” said José W. Fernández, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, during his keynote remarks.
“Central America continues to face tremendous obstacles to economic prosperity, and it’s time the United States lead in building relationships with businesses such as the members of HUGE to reverse this trend,” said Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (R-FL). “My groundbreaking Americas Act will provide Central America with the U.S. private sector-led development it needs and lift millions of people in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador out of poverty.”
Dr. Juan José Daboub, President of HUGE, described one of the major obstacles to economic prosperity, “a truck in Central America travels at the same speed that the caravels of Christopher Columbus did when coming to America over 500 years ago. This needs to change!”. The event was a great opportunity to build on major ongoing infrastructure projects developed by HUGE Founders.
Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) gave an example of how the two major political parties in the United States can work together on the potential of a more secure and prosperous future for the Northern Triangle and how the Americas Act will help make that happen. Key C-Suite level private sector leaders from Target Corporation, Millicom, AT&T Services Inc, Walmart Mexico & Central America, and Crowley Logistics engaged in a panel discussion on how to make the Northern Triangle a dynamic platform for nearshoring.
“I want to highlight the strategy of establishing a robust digital infrastructure to position Central America as a nearshoring hub. Despite significant investments and a 96% connectivity rate, there’s a need to address the usage and access gap to bridge the digital divide. Through collaboration with the public sector, the private industry can become a significant agent of change in developing the talent of Central America for the progress of the region. Nearshoring, with its potential for economic growth and job creation, plays a pivotal role in this strategic vision,” said Karim Lesina, EVP, and Chief External Affairs Officer at Millicom. Connectivity and access to knowledge and technology, including the use of AI to help companies leapfrog the competition were discussed by McKinsey & Co. Partner, Larry Lerner during the event.
Inter-American Development Bank Executive Vice President and COO, Jordan Schwartz and US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) COO, Agnes Dasewicz, reaffirmed their commitment to the region in a panel where HUGE Founder Bernardo Yurrita Tabush, of Banco Industrial also described the importance of efficient and timely support from developmental organizations to make things happen faster. “We are inspired by the power of the private and public 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 of time, the organization has delivered remarkable results for the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, in areas including investment, jobs, and impact, creating ancillary benefits for the United States,” said Kristie Pellecchia of Pellecchia International and former DFC official.
“Today, the 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-win. A win for the workers of the Northern Triangle countries, who would rather be with their families at home. A win for the private sector of the USA, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador because business from China will be done in their territories. And a national security win for the Governments of the four countries because there will be less incentives for people to immigrate. We want to pursue economic growth and development that benefits all stakeholders in society. These include, workforce development, health and education, social and environmentally conscious efforts, including housing to name a few. We have the ability and the responsibility to create jobs, well paid jobs that make people achieve the American dream at home,” said Dr. Juan Jose Daboub, President of ThinkHUGE.
The HUGE (Honduras, USA, Guatemala, El Salvador) Business & Investment Council is a nonprofit business association 501(c)(6) established by private sectors leaders from the Northern Triangle of Central America and the United States. HUGE represents the first joint effort of private sector job creators from the region to drive massive job creation in all four countries. The Founders and Sponsors of HUGE have extensive experience in generating sustainable opportunities through their own entrepreneurial endeavors and are strongly committed to engaging others to join this effort.
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