The Guatemalan/spanish businessman and sociologist, Dionisio Gutiérrez, President of Fundación Libertad y Desarrollo, headed the July issue of Forbes Central America. In an exclusive interview, Gutiérrez reaffirmed that the economic integration of Central America would be the most effective formula for development in the region.
On the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 he noted: “The whole world was overwhelmed by the pandemic; the human species was not prepared. The fact that this virus has put us in this situation, speaks poorly of governments, elites, science and entities such as the World Health Organization. As of now, the data is insufficient, decisions have been taken on trial and error, and finally we are starting to see measures that allow people to live through a pandemic”.
About the recovery he stated: “The problem of governments is the low capacity to implement their resources. Confinement and curfews have affected economic activity and the pandemic has not been contained, the contagion will not be stopped until there is a cure or a vaccine. Reactivating the economy requires not only public programs, but also, the support of the developed world and multilateral financial institutions”.
On the Central American region, he pointed out: “In Guatemala, remittances represent almost 14% of the GDP, 6.2 million people use these resources for housing, construction, subsistence, education and health. The impact is even greater at El Salvador and Honduras. The human drama will be evident as many families depend on remittances. Costa Rica has special conditions; the government took important steps from the beginning, but the cases are rising again. The World Bank and the IMF agree that the most affected countries in the region will be Nicaragua and El Salvador, followed by Honduras”.
Finally, Dr. Gutiérrez commented: “In order to improve the interaction with the world and with our developed neighbors, it terms of articulation of chain supplies, the commercial relationships and negotiation capacity, it is necessary to have a common agenda through the economic integration of the region. Besides many other benefits, only joint exports could increase up to 11% of the regional GDP at the first phase of integration. This is by far the best route to enhance the development opportunities in the region. Without doubt the future of Central America depends on its economic integration”.
To read the full interview, click here.