For Immediate Release
(MANAGUA, Nicaragua) During his April 4-6 visit to Nicaragua, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mark Lopes, helped celebrate the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement's (CAFTA-DR) 5th Anniversary. Over 300 business leaders, producers, small business owners and government officials attended the event, which was co-sponsored by USAID and the INCAE Business School.
In his keynote address, Lopes said that development assistance to Nicaragua, and elsewhere in the region, is not charity, but rather an investment that benefits the Americas, including the United States.
"When we help small farmers and small Nicaraguan businesses access new markets, we also help develop markets for our products. Because when businesses are more prosperous here they can buy the machinery and other supplies they need from the U.S. to invest and expand. This means more jobs in the U.S. and in Nicaragua and a population with greater purchasing power," Lopes said. "We are breaking the old donor-recipient development model and focusing instead on partnerships that promote prosperity and opportunity for all."
Lopes also called on the Nicaraguan private sector to join the Central American Citizen Security Partnership, announced by President Barack Obama during his recent trip to Latin America, to help confront the narcotics traffickers and gangs that threaten all countries of the hemisphere. "Citizen safety is a problem that affects everyone, therefore everyone needs to be involved in the solution," Lopes said.
During his visit, Lopes also met with government officials, civil society representatives and private sector leaders and visited a vocational and business training program for at-risk youth.
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Last updated: June 19, 2014