In Contrast to the region, Central America is growing


9th August 2016

Exclusive interview with Humberto López, director of the World Bank for Central America
By Élida Bustos
While Latin America tightens its belt and laments the end of the bonanza era, Central America is moving ahead strongly, with enviable growth projections.
This year, the World Bank is forecasting a 1.3 percent contraction for Latin America and 2.3 percent growth for North America.
But Central America is poised for an expansion of 3.8 percent which, broken down by country is 4.4 percent for Nicaragua, 3.5 percent for Honduras and Guatemala, 3.3 percent for Costa Rica and 6 percent for Panama. Only El Salvador is showing weak growth – 2.2 percent, which isn’t news, given the country’s intrinsic factors.
Where does this expansion come from? In Panama is it the broadening of the canal?
“It’s a combination of factors,” Humberto López, director of the World Bank for Central America, tells Latin Trade. “On one hand, Panama has its dynamic related to its program of public investment, the canal broadening and the logistics business that is being created with this work.”
And on the other, he adds, there are three common intrinsic factors that apply to all Central America: the fall of petroleum prices, not depending on the Asian market because they don’t export raw materials, and the recovery of the United States.
“Unlike South America, which benefitted from primary product prices until not long ago, Central America doesn’t produce these things and doesn’t depend on the Asian …

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