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IDB to chair Consultative Group meeting in Madrid to promote Integration and Investment in Central America

Spain invites government leaders from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama

The Inter-American Development Bank will chair a January 18-19 Regional Consultative Group meeting co-sponsored by Spain to promote integration and foreign investment in Central America.

The Spanish government has invited the presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama and the prime minister of Belize to attend the two-day meeting, which will bring together hundreds of delegates from beneficiary countries, donor nations, multilateral institutions, civil society groups, non governmental organizations and the private sector.

The Madrid meeting will follow up on the Consultative Group meeting held in Stockholm in May 1999 to address the plight of the Central American countries devastated by Hurricane Mitch. At that meeting donors pledged to provide more than $9 billion to support reconstruction and modernization efforts in the region.

In Stockholm the delegates also agreed to hold another Consultative Group meeting to discuss regional development and integration issues that are crucial to Central America’s economic progress and social transformation, as well as to its participation in the process of globalization.

After a brief review of the progress achieved in the reconstruction and modernization of the region, the Madrid meeting will focus on the challenges and opportunities linked to regional integration and the acceleration of growth, poverty reduction and improving the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment.

Delegates will also participate in six workshops on various aspects and actions of regional integration and development that could help Central America improve its living standards more rapidly, expand its trade and attract more foreign investment.

Participants will review several initiatives designed to consolidate Central America’s integration through regional infrastructure projects, the development of regional institutions and cooperation in the sustainable management of their shared natural resources.

Government leaders from Spain and Central America and IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias will take part in the Regional Consultative Group’s inaugural ceremony at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18 at Casa de América. That part of the event will be open to the media.

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