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What's New? Creating Economic Opportunities in Guatemala

Photo credit: Pixnio

What’s new?
Guatemala is experiencing unprecedented rates of outward migration. USAID has awarded us with its five-year, $70 million flagship economic growth program: Creating Economic Opportunities (CEO).

Creating Economic Opportunities will create local economic opportunities with the goal of reducing irregular outward migration from the Western Highlands region and Guatemala City. We will promote investment, financial mobilization, productive infrastructure development, workforce solutions, and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth to create jobs and economic opportunities for Guatemalans.

Where will you be based?
Our main office will be based in Guatemala City, with satellite offices in the Western Highlands, where outward migration is most substantial.

Who will you be working with?

  • The Government of Guatemala, particularly the Ministry of Economy, to develop a national investment promotion entity alongside private sector stakeholders.
  • Guatemalan SMEs that are eager to improve their competitiveness, improve product quality, create jobs, expand earnings, and become better linked to their buyers.
  • Guatemalan service providers who need help developing and providing targeted, in-demand services for SMEs – services for which the SMEs are willing to pay.
  • Guatemalan and international anchor firms (lead firms) with buying power and local sources of supply who are actively investing in local economic development activities in the Western Highlands.
  • Guatemalan municipalities and other regional entities to build their capacity to develop high potential local development plans, attract investment for infrastructure, and pursue regional economic development priorities.

What’s your goal?
Our goal is to create 50,000 jobs and improve the livelihoods of at least 300,000 Guatemalans—especially in the Western Highlands—by stimulating the growth of SMEs and catalysing $75 million in investment and $60 million in financing to SMEs. By creating jobs and skills development opportunities in the region where outward migration is the worst, we can best reduce the overall outward migration.

How will you deliver enduring Positive Impact?
Palladium will bring transformative change to Guatemala not just through the targets we achieve but through the system that we will leave behind, which are scalable after the end of CEO. We will harness drivers of economic growth: domestic and international businesses in priority sectors and infrastructure developers that will invest in the targeted region. A strong pipeline of investment-ready start-ups and SMEs will be built as well as cultivating sources of investment and credit to support SME growth and job creation. We will also boost the skills of Guatemala’s workforce, improve the quality of physical infrastructure in target regions, and streamline laws and regulations that make up the business environment and which currently deter investment and credit.

At the end of five years, success will be evident in new Economic Corridors and Special Economic Zones that become platforms to attract investors, with connected infrastructure, associated services, and a competitive workforce. We will strengthen linkages between larger firms and their many smaller suppliers, distributors, and service providers in the region. Stakeholders—municipalities, civil society, anchor firms, and citizens—will see a comprehensive approach to transform their regions with and new opportunities for Guatemalans, thereby reducing outward migration.