Mexico and Central America Regional Program


Central American countries have made significant social and economic advances over the last two decades. Illiteracy rates and poverty have been reduced; infant, child and maternal mortality has decreased; and access to education has increased. Regional trade expanded at 9.5 percent per year from 2005 to 2012.  Despite these gains, Central America remains the least developed sub-region in the hemisphere. By far, the greatest threat impacting all Central American countries and Mexico is the violence and insecurity generated by gangs, narco-trafficking, and trafficking in persons.  Violence and insecurity inhibit investment and economic growth, driving illegal migration to the United States as people flee in search of security and economic opportunities.
Through its Central America and Mexico (CAM) Regional Program, USAID works with the governments of the region, the private sector and local organizations towards the shared goal of a prosperous, transparent and safe Central America region.  Programs focus on: citizen security; human rights; good governance; youth empowerment; regional economic integration; increased trade and job creation; clean energy; and migration prevention and returned migrant assistance.  Programs benefit the following countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Belize.


USAID works closely with governments in the region and with the private sector and civil society to reduce community crime and violence.  Programs share successful crime prevention models and justice sector practices across the region and support the gathering and dissemination of reliable data and crime statistics for effective prevention plans.  USAID also supports a regional youth advocacy network for crime and violence prevention.  A regional training academy provides civil society organizations, police, journalists, and other stakeholders with citizen security information and training.  Assistance also enhances the capacity for investigative journalism.  U.S. assistance improves the region’s ability to protect human rights.  Work includes: protection of vulnerable populations; strengthening advocacy for labor and human rights; and establishing early warning and monitoring systems of human rights violations to improve response.  Enhanced services for returning migrants and awareness campaigns help deter illegal migration.


Strong, stable economies in the region are in the direct interest of the United States to stem the flow of illegal migration.  USAID programs work with the private sector and governments to expand regional trade to create jobs and economic opportunities.  An efficient trading system, effective border control and harmonized customs administration across the region help increase regional economic integration.  Transparency and simplification of laws, regulations and procedures also allow businesses to formally comply with international best practices, improve economic competitiveness and promote increased access to regional and international markets.  USAID helps small-scale agricultural producers to increase production, meet quality standards and access regional agriculture markets.  This also helps increase food security for these farmers.  As a region highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, the loss of crops, homes, and livelihoods often force people to migrate illegally.  USAID programs help to build economic and environmental resilience through improved agricultural and land-use practices.  USAID also promotes investments in efficient and renewable energy for reliable, cleaner, and more affordable electricity that contributes to economic growth.  With expanded trade, more jobs and stronger growth, less people will migrate as they will be able to provide for their families at home.



Promoting Food Security and Trade in Central America ($10.2 million)—Improves trade and food security in the region through sanitary and phytosanitary measures and market information systems. 

Regional Trade and Market Alliances Project ($20.9 million)—Promotes inclusive economic growth in the region through improved markets for food and agriculture value chains and reduces the time and costs of trading goods across borders.

Central America Regional Agribusiness Trade Logistics Project ($2.0 million)—Streamlines, harmonizes, and automates procedures for sanitary registration for processed food and beverage in Central America. 

Better Coffee Harvest Project ($1.9 million)—Public-private partnership that works with 6,000 small farmers to increase coffee productivity and address coffee leaf rust.  Private enterprise matches USAID’s contribution. 

Regional Clean Energy Initiative ($13.7 million)—Improves the enabling environment for investment in renewable energy in Central America and reduces energy consumption by promoting energy efficiency practices. 

Regional Climate Change Program ($21.5 million)—Provides climate and environmental information and technologies through its Centro Clima platform to improve resilience to climate change; reduce deforestation and improve sustainable management of forests and other landscapes to reduce carbon pollution. 

CAFTA-DR Regional Environmental Program ($3.2 million)—Supports compliance with environmental commitments under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). 

Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment, and Resilience ($2.6 million)—Facilitates private and public investment in clean energy.      

Low Emissions Cattle Farming Project ($1.1 million)—Promotes a cattle sector that increases productivity while reducing carbon pollution. 

Partnership for Climate-Smart Agriculture ($4.5 million)—Provides technical assistance to businesses implementing climate-smart agriculture projects with loans from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Improved Coastal Watersheds and Livelihoods ($3.7 million)—Increases incomes through sustainable agriculture and fisheries practices that better conserve biodiversity in and around the Gulf of Fonseca.

InfoSegura ($12 million)—Strengthens evidence-based policy making, and increases regional coordination and collaboration on effective citizen security strategies. 
Youth and Community Development Program ($7.4 million)—Provides education and recreational opportunities for youth, promoting positive alternatives to crime and violence; builds Generation Now youth network that challenges Central American youth to become change agents within their communities.

Violence Against Children Survey ($1.8 million)—Measures physical, emotional, and sexual violence against girls and boys, and identifies risk and protective factors.

Regional Violence Interruption Training Academy ($1.9 million)—Provides training in evidence-based approaches to address citizen security challenges.
Social Science Research to Inform Citizen Security Policy ($2.5 million)—Policy recommendations and scalable models for citizen security and mitigation of internal displacement.

Regional Human Rights and Democracy ($24.9 million)—Facilitates strategic alliances among organizations involved in strengthening human rights; addresses human rights violations resulting from internal displacement and irregular migration; and informs policies and strengthens government response to this regional phenomenon.

Northern Triangle Migration Management Information Initiative ($2.5 million)—Strengthens the capacity to manage, collect, analyze and share migration information in support of humanitarian action and the protection of vulnerable populations in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Promoting Journalism and Freedom of Expression ($3 million)—Promotes safe investigative reporting skills and enhances journalists’ abilities to use innovative digital tools to diminish security vulnerabilities.    

Return and Reintegration in the Northern Triangle Program ($16.8 million)—Provides services to help returning migrants reintegrate into local communities, and to alert the public on the risks of irregular migration.  


Central America Regional Trilateral Cooperation Support ($5.6 million)—Supports trilateral cooperation efforts among the United States, Central American countries, and selected emerging donor countries primarily from Latin America.      

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning ($21.2 million)—Provides performance monitoring, verification, geographic information system services and evaluation support to measure program impact, results and achievements.



Last updated: May 23, 2019

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