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Matthew Rooney Talks to CNN About U.S. Businesses’ Role in Central America

In an interview with CNN, Matthew Rooney, Managing Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, points out the challenges businesses are experiencing when attempting to invest in Central America.

Article by Ioanna Papas October 15, 2021 //   2 minute read

Earlier this year, Vice President Kamala Harris was tasked with addressing the reasons people migrate from Central America to the U.S. The administration outlined key areas of focus: addressing economic insecurity and inequality, combating corruption, promoting respect for human rights, countering and preventing violence, and tackling sexual, gender-based and domestic violence.

Matthew Rooney, Managing Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, spoke with CNN about the importance of government buy-in to achieve success. He stated such agreements can be challenging given the issues plaguing the region.

“Why are there companies in the United States who operate in industries that…could [do] business in Central America, why aren't they doing business in Central America?” Rooney stated. “…there are dysfunctions in the investment environment."

Rooney pointed to the limited checks and balances of El Salvador’s government, the recent implications that Honduras’ president was involved in a drug trafficking case, and concerns of corruption in Guatemala as examples of investment environment challenges. 

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The Bush Institute believes that stronger economies in Central America will reduce immigration pressures on our borders and expand markets for U.S. exports. Learn more about our work and the recommendations we’ve put forth to encourage business investment in the region.