U.S. BRIDGE Initiative Commitments with El Salvador and Honduras

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 22, 2010

On September 22, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed separate Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez outlining the United States’ commitment to the Building Remittance Investment for Development Growth and Entrepreneurship (BRIDGE) Initiative in Honduras and El Salvador.

Led by the Department of State’s Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, the United States has committed through the BRIDGE Initiative to work with El Salvador and Honduras to develop and support partnerships with strong and reliable in-country financial institutions to maximize the development impact of remittance flows from the U.S. and to help establish strong foundations for sustainable, inclusive, and transformational economic growth.

Remittances have the potential to be a transformational asset in meeting the development goals of the Latin America region as they can enable greater access to the types of long-term capital required for the multi-year investments that will sustain growth. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimates that U.S. $50 billion in worker remittances flow from the U.S. to Latin America and the Caribbean annually.

Under the BRIDGE Initiative, strong in-country financial institutions in Honduras and El Salvador will be able to partner with the United States and multilateral partners to help explore options to use their remittance flows safely and soundly as an asset to raise lower-cost and longer-term financing for infrastructure, public works, and commercial development initiatives that are currently lacking in these countries. USAID-supported market assessments confirmed the feasibility of BRIDGE’s goals in Honduras and El Salvador.

Based on previous successful efforts in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, BRIDGE will not impact the basic transfer of remittances. The millions of households in El Salvador and Honduras that depend on remittances as income and for basic daily living expenses will not see their regular payments disrupted by this effort.

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PRN: 2010/1317