Mexico City, Dec 18 (EFE).– Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced Tuesday a collaborative effort with the United States to funnel billions of dollars of investment into southern Mexico and Central America to improve economic development and discourage migration.
“The United States and Mexico today commit to strengthen and expand our bilateral cooperation to foster development and increase investment in southern Mexico and in Central America to create a zone of prosperity,” he said, reading from a joint statement issued by both governments.
“We are committed to promoting strong regional economic growth, good jobs, and expanded opportunity for all of our citizens,” Ebrard said.
He said the statement represents a US endorsement of the development plan that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed hours after his Dec. 1 inauguration with the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Those nations, collectively known as the Northern Triangle, account for the lion’s share of US-bound Central American migrants.
“The United States and Mexico will lead in working with regional and international partners to build a more prosperous and secure Central America to address the underlying causes of migration, and so that citizens of the region can build better lives for themselves and their families at home,” he said.
He said that Washington is pledging “$5.8 billion in support of institutional reforms, development, and economic growth in the Northern Triangle from public and private sources.”
Concerning the south of Mexico, Ebrard said that the Lopez Obrador administration is planning to invest $25 billion in five years.
The foreign secretary said a meeting of senior officials from both governments by the end of January 2019 to evaluate the new project and create a strategy.