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Addressing Insecurity, Creating Opportunity in El Salvador

Samantha Power, USAID
Samantha Power, USAID

USAID Administrator Samantha Power stressed that the United States is committed to finding new and effective ways to generate hope in El Salvador.

Addressing Insecurity, Creating Opportunity in El Salvador
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Foreign assistance is not the solution to all global problems. On its own, such assistance can only support any given country’s efforts to solve systemic issues or correct structural problems. By working with partner governments, civil society organizations, and local private sector partners, foreign assistance helps create the conditions for change and expands opportunities for young people.

Through foreign assistance, we can work with local populations to help them weather and recover from shocks like hurricanes and pandemics.

Foreign assistance can also support access to legal migration pathways for people seeking work opportunities.

Speaking at the Central American University in San Salvador, USAID Administrator Samantha Power stressed that the United States is committed to finding new and effective ways to generate hope and address the issues that drive some people to leave the region and attempt the dangerous journey to the United States.

As part of this effort, USAID introduced several new regional and bilateral initiatives meant to empower marginalized populations, support small businesses, curb endemic violence, and create opportunity for the people of El Salvador and the region.

In addition to the work carried out by the State Department, USAID, is providing nearly $12 million to entrepreneurs and small business owners for COVID-19 pandemic recovery. In addition, USAID will invite applications for up to $115 million in new initiatives to address the conditions that are driving Salvadorans out from their communities, including gender-based violence and violet crime, extortion, and human rights abuses.

In addition, USAID Administrator Power also introduced a $5-million regional challenge to encourage new approaches to empower and enable greater economic access for women. “If we’re honest, women don’t always [have] the same kind of economic opportunity that men do throughout the region,” said Administrator Power.

“Fundamentally, the United States believes that governments everywhere must earn the trust and goodwill of their people. If corruption is allowed to run rampant,” said Administrator Power, “if judicial independence is not respected, if anti-corruption institutions are dismantled, as we have seen too often in Honduras, Guatemala, and here in El Salvador, then local governments will end up stymieing the aspirations and the potential of their own people.

“Corruption is not the cost of doing business—it is in fact what keeps foreign direct investment away. … The rule of law is not a nicety—it is what gives businesses confidence, it’s also what gives citizens confidence that when they are wronged, they have the ability to seek amends. Democracy—a free press, an unrestrained civil society, the separation of powers, free and transparent elections, basic human rights are what guarantees long-term prosperity and stability.”