Trading across borders in Central America has been a severe problem for many years. In 2017, cargo trucks used to spend 10 hours to travel less than one kilometer across the borders between Guatemala and Honduras. Such delays at border crossings made trade throughout the region slow and expensive.
Four years ago, Juan Angel Sandoval, a resident of Barrio Buenos Aires in the Honduran municipality of Siguatepeque, received water at home only three times a week. His was not an isolated reality. Most of his neighbors, were in the same situation. "It was annoying because the water was not enough," says Juan Angel.
A couple of months ago, during one of my first visits to Central America as the World Bank Country Director, I had the opportunity of hearing the testimony of a young student from the municipality of San Dionisio, in the department of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She said a small phrase with huge implications: "You know? In school I do not only learn, but here I feel part of a community.”
“When the company let us down, we only imposed a fine. We must be firm with companies and with vendors, otherwise they fail to fulfill their end. This is how to move the project forward”. This testimony impressed me a lot when I heard it from an indigenous woman in Bolivia, who was proud to be part of the steering committee and defend the interests of the community in the project.
Bolivia has a terrific success story to tell about encouraging rural women to take the lead in their communities and organizations and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
The world is watching Argentina these days. As the leader of the G20 meetings this year, with visits from countless numbers of VIPs from around the world, Argentina is regaining the role of a regional leader. While expectations fly high for the country’s future potential, one essential input is lagging behind: the necessary infrastructure to facilitate investment and future growth.
Disaster risk management is a priority for many countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.