A microloan facility enabling small and medium enterprises in Central America to weather the effects of COVID-19 and prepare for post-pandemic economic recovery was announced Sept. 15 by Taiwan, the U.S. and Central American Bank for Economic Integration.
Involving Taipei City-based International Cooperation Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), Washington-headquartered U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) and Honduras-based CABEI, the financing is expected to assist in quarantining the economic impact of the pandemic and stimulating regional growth.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the announcement was made during a virtual seminar on devising innovative fiscal solutions amid coronavirus—first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Staged by Washington-headquartered public policy think tank American Enterprise Institute, the event featured TaiwanICDF Secretary General Timothy T. Y. Hsiang and other development experts such as Dante Mossi, executive president of CABEI; Mauricio Claver-Carone, newly elected president of Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank and senior director of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. National Security Council; John Barsa, acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Andrew Herscowitz, director of DFC Development Programs.
The MOFA said the timing of the facility is particularly auspicious as it coincides with 199th Central American Independence Day. Celebrations in Taipei were attended by President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as representatives from Taiwan’s three allies in the region: Guatemala Ambassador Willy Alberto Gomez Tirado, Honduras Ambassador Eny Yamileth Bautista Guevara and Nicaragua Charge d’Affaires Mirna Rivera.
TaiwanICDF and DFC are long-standing partners. One recent collaboration involves a US$350,000 sponsorship supporting women’s entrepreneurship and advancing gender-aware investments in the developing world. It will assist DFC in realizing an additional US$6 billion of private sector investment via the 2X Women’s Initiative, part of the U.S. government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.
Established in 1996, TaiwanICDF is dedicated to boosting socioeconomic development, enhancing human resources and promoting economic relations in developing partner countries. It also offers humanitarian assistance and provides aid in the event of natural disasters or international refugee crises.
Taiwan joined CABEI in 1992 as one of the bank’s first extra-regional partners. Collaboration focuses on poverty reduction via programs spanning agriculture, education, food security, and micro, small and medium enterprises. (TYT-E)
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