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On May 31 while in El Salvador, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in the Pathways to Prosperity ministerial.
Launched in September 2008, Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas brings the United States and 13 partner nations together in an effort to promote inclusive prosperity in the Western Hemisphere by ensuring that the benefits of economic growth and open markets reach all sectors of society, including the most vulnerable and marginalized.
Secretary Clinton said the U.S. is focused on new partnerships that improve lives, advance democratic principles, and promote the common good.
“To achieve the shared prosperity we seek,” said Secretary Clinton, “we must integrate our commitment to democracy and open markets with an equal commitment to social inclusion.” Pathways to Prosperity will help spread the benefits of economic engagement and trade to women, small farmers and rural communities, small businesses, Afro-descendants, and indigenous communities, among others.
The 14 Pathways countries represent 34 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. We already have examples of cooperation producing real progress for our citizens: In Honduras, the Food for Progress program found new markets for the potatoes grown by 1,400 small farmers. As a result, the farmers’ sales doubled, and they increased their average annual income from less than $800 to $2,100.
In Peru, the Micro and Small Enterprise Facilitation Program has helped more than 80 municipalities implement new regulations for business creation. And in Chile, collaborative work to satisfy trade and sanitary regulations allowed small farmers to take advantage of the seasonal difference between the northern and southern hemispheres, and secure new markets for strawberries and other summer crops in the U.S. and Canada.
Pathways should be open to working with new partners, said Secretary Clinton, including other countries and sub-regional banks that share a commitment to open markets and greater social inclusion.
“The Americas are becoming more connected and more dynamic,” said Secretary of State Clinton. “As this trend continues, our region will need to provide greater leadership on a broad array of global issues. Pathways,” said Secretary Clinton, “is one example of the kind of multilateral partnership that can help address the complex challenges of the 21st century.”