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George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Launches Central America Prosperity Project

Project aims to find a path to sustained economic growth for Central America.

Press Release by Sarah Gibbons September 5, 2018

DALLAS—Today, the initial session of the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative’s Central America Prosperity Project begins at the Bush Institute. The Project brings together experienced Central American leaders with the emerging generations of leaders for a series of focused discussions on the efforts the region has made over the past two decades, particularly in the context of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), to find a path to sustained economic growth.

“Economic competitiveness for countries in the Northern Triangle has been impacted because of bureaucracy, corruption, insecurity, and political instability,” said Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Director Matthew Rooney. “The region needs a long-term growth agenda that will have a direct impact on job creation in order to drain support for gangs, stop migration and family disintegration, and renew public support for the democratic, transparent, and competitive system. We look forward to discussing potential solutions for Central America and are delighted to facilitate these conversations at the Bush Institute.”

The initial session in Dallas will focus on reviewing past reform efforts in a global context, with a focus on the U.S. perspective. As the participants work to find solutions, they will have the opportunity to hear President George W. Bush discuss his administration’s efforts to transform U.S foreign assistance policy into one focused on opening opportunities rather than promoting dependency. The group will also hear from key players like Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Dr. Kevin Casas, former Vice President of Costa Rica, and Robert Zoellick, former United States Trade Representative and President of the World Bank.

At the conclusion of the working group cycle, the Bush Institute will issue a recommendation paper that encourages the Northern Triangle governments, private sectors, and civil societies to pursue the remaining needed reforms. The group will convene again in early 2019 in Washington, D.C. to lay out a strategy and agenda for the future.

For more information on the Central America Prosperity Project, please visit www.bushcenter.org/economicgrowth.

Central America Prosperity Project Participants:

  • Marcos Andrés Antil, Fellow, Central American Leadership Initiative (CALI); CEO of XumaK, Guatemala;
  • Alfredo Atanacio, Founder and CEO of Uassist.ME, El Salvador;
  • Maria Isabel Bonilla, Lawyer, National Economic Research Center (CIEN), Guatemala;
  • Miguel Calix, Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracies (NIMD), Honduras;
  • Albertina Candray, Trafficking of Migrants Unit, National Civilian Police, El Salvador;
  • Julieta Castellanos, Rector, National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), Honduras;
  • Marielos Chang, Founder, Red Ciudadana, Guatemala;
  • Marjorie Chorro de Trigueros, Senior Analyst, FUSADES, El Salvador;
  • Juan José Daboub, Chairman and CEO, The Daboub Partnership, El Salvador;
  • Johanna Hill, Founding Partner, CA Trade Consulting, El Salvador;
  • Mey Hung, AMCHAM Honduras President, Honduras;
  • Maria Kaltschmitt, General Manager and Co-Founder, Zen Interactive, Guatemala;
  • Yolanda Mayora de Gavidia, Executive Director, Carlos F. Novella Foundation, Guatemala;
  • Sofia Menchu, Reuters Correspondent (regional), Guatemala;
  • Karla Menocal de Mata, Vice President, CPS Logistics, Guatemala;
  • Guillermo Miranda, Editor of Content Strategy at El Diario de Hoy, El Salvador;
  • Jose Moran, Energy Market Expert, Honduras;
  • Juan Carlos Paiz, CEO Pani-Fresh, Guatemala;
  • Guillermo Peña Panting, Founder, Fundación Eléutera, Honduras;
  • Claudia Ramírez, Journalist, La Prensa Grafica, El Salvador;
  • Laura Rivera, Coordinator, Governability Unit, UNDP, El Salvador;
  • Miguel Ángel Simán, President, FUSADES, El Salvador;
  • Elena Toledo, Journalist, Honduras;
  • Carlos Ulbán, Labor lawyer, Guatemala;
  • Claudia Umaña, Co-founder, CA Trade Consulting Group, El Salvador;
  • Armando Urtecho, Executive Director, Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), Honduras;
  • Kathia Yacaman, Executive Vice President, Grupo Karims, Honduras;
  • Juan Carlos Zapata, Executive Director, FUNDESA, Guatemala.


About the George W. Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. Through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and an Engagement Agenda – the Bush Institute delivers measurable results that save and improve lives. To learn more, visit www.BushCenter.org.