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Bush Institute Hosts Spanish Conversation with U.S. Officials Regarding the Urgent Need for A Digital Strategy in Central America

Discussion highlights new Bush Institute report addressing economic growth in the region

June 22, 2020

DALLAS, TEXAS— Thursday at 11 a.m. CT, the George W. Bush Institute’s Central America Prosperity Project (CAPP) will host a virtual conversation in Spanish addressing the urgent need for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to promote broader use of mobile digital technologies to remove obstacles and create more robust economic growth. Mauricio Claver-Carone, deputy advisor to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Hugo F. Rodriguez Jr., deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, will join the discussion

In the wake of COVID-19, millions in the area remain disconnected, impeding the region’s economic recovery. The virtual event will conclude with a panel of CAPP thought leaders sharing how the region can create a path to sustained economic growth. To watch the live conversation register here:  https://forms.bushcenter.org/EG062520 

In conjunction with the discussion, the Bush Institute released a new report, A Digital Strategy For Competitiveness and Integration In The Northern Triangle, outlining five recommendations to drive forward a digital strategy designed to benefit all governments, citizens, and economies in the Northern Triangle. The region has taken important steps to achieve digital policy goals, but more action and regional coordination are needed to catch up with the rest of the world. 

A Digital Strategy For Competitiveness and Integration In The Northern Triangle urges the governments to work together to overcome setbacks from COVID-19 and put the region on a solid path to recovery and growth. It also outlines how the U.S. government can continue to support a digital evolution across the region in ways that constitute a logical extension to previous U.S. assistance programs. 

“Digitization holds the key to putting the Northern Triangle on the right footing to recover and thrive in the world after COVID-19,” said Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Managing Director Matthew Rooney. “We are calling on governments to work with civil society and the private sector to advance these strategies to improve quality of life and ensure the region’s businesses thrive.” 

Digitization offers cross-cutting benefits, including opportunities to curtail corruption, increase trust in government among the region’s citizens, improve access to critical social services in education and health, enable the region’s businesses to access new customers, create jobs, tap investment opportunities, and successfully compete in the global economy. The report calls on governments to work with civil society and the private sector to advance modern national digital strategies as a region. 

In 2018, the Bush Institute launched the CAPP program to develop action-oriented strategies for achieving inclusive growth in the Northern Triangle. The program 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 establish a positive economic trajectory. 

In May 2019, CAPP released an initial paper calling on the governments in the Northern Triangle to develop and implement a national and regional digitization strategy. The recommendations published today offer a prioritized policy agenda to facilitate digitization that the Bush Institute and our CAPP partners intend to work together to promote over the coming weeks and months. We believe that there are important opportunities in all three countries, and in the Central American region more broadly, to promote these reforms. 

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

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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 http://www.bushcenter.org.