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Economic Opportunities

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Over the past decade, El Salvador has experienced low economic growth relative to other countries in the region.  Lack of competitiveness has been driven by burdensome commercial regulations, and widespread violent crime. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has declined significantly over the past few years. Reflecting these challenging economic conditions, El Salvador has fallen sharply in major global economic rankings in the past years. 


USAID’s economic activities in El Salvador focus on two core areas – human capital development and targeted job creation that provide vulnerable populations sufficient incomes to lead prosperous lives. USAID enhances education services at all levels so children and youth have the skills necessary for future learning and success. Higher education and job training programs align workforce skills with productive sector needs and promote innovative business expansion. In particular, USAID links vulnerable youth to improved employment opportunities. USAID programs address key impediments to trade and investment, innovation, ICT adoption, and access to credit to help Salvadoran businesses grow and generate employment.    Programs help create a favorable business environment that encourages investment and growth, improves the ability to take advantage of market opportunities and increases the production of exports - particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

USAID actively builds public-private alliances with civil society, community organizations and the private business sector to sustain economic growth program efforts.

Finally, to address the causes of illegal immigration by youth, USAID projects are promoting new economic opportunities in future growth sectors of the economy and increasing workforce readiness as well as vocational opportunities.  

USAID assistance:

  • Improves effectiveness of business and export development services and helps Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) become more productive and competitive.
  • Increases access to market information, business management, and technical skills training
  • Encourages increased investment by the private sector which will foster broad-based economic growth
  • Promotes trade facilitation 
  • Promotes transport and border/customs integration
  • Improves workforce training and professional education to develop industry standards in the skills and competencies needed by private industry
  • Strengthens the ability of higher education Institutions to develop a workforce that is responsive to private sector needs with relevant, high quality educational programs that contribute to economic growth.


Development Credit Authority

El Salvador Cacao Alliance

Bridges to Employment

Economic Competitiveness