• CEL seeks investments to expand the country’s geothermal fields

    CEL seeks investments to expand the country’s geothermal fields

    Daniel lvarez, president of the Lempa River Hydroelectric Executive Commission (CEL), toured the LAGEO plant in Berlin, in the department of Usulutan, as part of the High Level Meeting of the Global Geothermal Alliance of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), which is taking place in the country.

    The delegations learned in detail the processes used to generate clean energy. This plant generates 13% of the energy consumed by Salvadorans.

    «Today we end up showing you what we do in a geothermal plant, how we maintain it and how we use the resources. We are looking at what we can collaborate with other countries on and how they can collaborate with us,» Álvarez said.

    The visit concluded the High Level Meeting of the Global Geothermal Alliance, which for the first time in history was held in El Salvador.

    The general director of Irena, Francesco La Camera, recognized the geothermal leadership that El Salvador has in the region: «El Salvador must continue betting on the generation of geothermal energy and its leadership is evident, since I must say that the conference and its logistics were excellent».

    During the summit, CEL authorities exchanged experience and knowledge; In addition, they signed important cooperation agreements. «There are funds that will serve as financing to continue expanding the geothermal field, taking advantage of our resources,» Álvarez added.

    He added that these activities attract investors and financial resources to establish more production plants and stabilize the price of tariffs.

    CEL intends to invest nearly $620 million in clean energy production, including two expansion projects: one in the Chinameca volcano in San Miguel and the other in San Vicente, according to lvarez. With both, 60% of this type of energy would be injected into the national market; in addition to hydroelectric power and natural gas sources, it would stop depending on fossil fuels and cover almost 100% of the demand with renewable and inexhaustible green energy.

  • Salvadoran coffee and sugar exports revive the markets

    Salvadoran coffee and sugar exports revive the markets

    The metrics of the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) between January and August of this year indicate that the agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fishing sectors reported international sales of $221 million, a 40% growth compared to the first eight months of 2021.

    Of this figure, the two national products that stand out in this sector are coffee, with sales of $174 million, and sugar, which sold for $144 million, the entity said.

    Regarding the grain of gold, the country reported sales of $174 million between January and August of this year, that is, 60% of what was sold in the same period last year, when accumulated sales were $109 million, a difference of $65 million, said the president of the BCR, Douglas Rodríguez.

    «The favorable conditions and the fact that more countries are demanding Salvadoran coffee have contributed to obtaining an additional $65 million, so much so that last year a quintal of coffee was priced at $173, and this year, between January and August, it was sold for $241, an increase in price of 15%,» he explained.

    He added that in the first eight months of this year, the country exported a total of 629,000 quintals of coffee that reached more than 40 countries around the world, and that the most demanding aromatics are the United States, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, UK, Italy, and South Korea.

    As for sugar, Rodríguez explained that from January to August of this year, exports were reported at $144 million, which means a growth of 13%, when compared to the same period in 2021, when international sales accumulated $128 million, a difference of $16 million.

    The official explained that this growth is also related to the price per quintal, which last year was sold for $17, and now has a price of $21.

    In the case of the Salvadoran sweetener, there are 16 destinations that buy this product. Among them, the main consumers are: the United States, Canada, Haiti, Spain, Peru, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan, among others.

    According to the BCR, El Salvador’s total export basket is made up of 847 products and maintains trade relations with 120 countries around the world. Thanks to these figures, foreign sales reported up to August were $5,091 million, that is, 16.7% more than the $4,362 registered in the same period of 2021.

  • Actions under the Zero Waste Plan continue on a national scale

    Actions under the Zero Waste Plan continue on a national scale

    In order to provide clean spaces to Salvadorans and prevent contamination of rivers, streams, lakes, beaches and tourist sites—in addition to preventing floods—various institutions continue with the Zero Waste plan on a national scale.

    Yesterday it was up to the department of Sonsonate to carry out the cleaning day in conjunction with the municipality.

    «We are working in an articulated way with different institutions such as the Ministry of Public Works, the National Civil Police, the Armed Forces, those deprived of liberty in Penal Centers and the Ministry of the Environment,» said the mayor of Rafael Arévalo.

    In addition to collecting solid waste, the teams cut down trees that are a danger to citizens and also clean all green areas and other public spaces.

    According to Arévalo, the municipality collects between 50 and 70 tons of garbage daily, but with the campaign they could reach up to 90.

    The mayor emphasized that the Zero Garbage plan is greatly supported by the central government, but it requires that citizens get involved, become aware of the care of the environment and, of course, avoid throwing garbage everywhere.

    Some of the points intervened in Sonsonate were the neighborhoods of El Progreso No. 1, Las Palmeras, and San Rafael, as well as the end of 18th avenue south, the Belén neighborhood, 7th street east, the community of El Progreso 2, and the highway that leads to Acajutla.

    During the cleaning day, residents of the areas joined the initiative.

    Today the cleaning tasks will continue at Los Cóbanos beach, Metalío canton and Costa Azul farmhouse, always in the department of Sonsonate.

    Since September 11, the Zero Waste plan has been under development. To date, different municipalities and areas have already been affected, such as Mejicanos (San Salvador), Santa Tecla (La Libertad), the Cerrón Grande reservoir (Potonico, Chalatenango) and Santa Cruz Michapa (Cuscatlán).

  • President Bukele to the gangs: «Surrender to justice and pay for the crimes you committed»

    President Bukele to the gangs: «Surrender to justice and pay for the crimes you committed»

    The President of the Republic, Nayib Bukele, responded forcefully to a video message circulating on social networks in which the gangs express their regret and promise to change: «No. Surrender to justice and pay the penalty for the crimes you committed. That is the only alternative you will have,» the president wrote on his Twitter account.

    «Look at us as humans, not as animals, because we also have families, we have children, and we don’t want to harm anyone,» thus begins the video in which a terrorist with multiple gang tattoos is seen showing an attitude of repentance.

    The member of the criminal structures goes on to say in the audiovisual: «We want to change. We only ask that you reach out your hand, not your elbow. Something to show you that, yes, we are different, that we can change this country. With love, everything is possible.

    This is the message issued on social networks by the criminal structures accused of causing thousands of homicides in the country for decades.

    The Salvadoran population has witnessed a change in security thanks to the strategies implemented by the government of El Salvador through the Security Cabinet, among which are the Territorial Control Plan and the emergency regime, which have allowed the capture of more than 53,000 terrorists who kept the Salvadoran population in anxiety.

  • S.C. Columbia Treasurer and Bitcoin supporter, Curtis M. Loftis, visited El Salvador and witnessed the positive and transformational impact of BTC

    S.C. Columbia Treasurer and Bitcoin supporter, Curtis M. Loftis, visited El Salvador and witnessed the positive and  transformational impact of BTC

    Loftis traveled to El Salvador with a group of business leaders, rural health officials, and individuals interested in the expansion of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. They saw a 10-week financial literacy program that included lessons on how to use bitcoin by Mi Primer Bitcoin NGO for daily transactions. Loftis stressed that he didn’t use state or SCETA funds to pay for his trip to El Salvador.

    On Oct. 5-7, Loftis and others will discuss El Salvador’s economy and other emerging digital technologies during the S.C. Blockchain Conference at the Indigo Inn in Mount Pleasant. Hester M. Peirce, a member of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is also scheduled to attend the conference.

    Loftis said he found it interesting that many Salvadorans who don’t have bank accounts use bitcoin as part of their small businesses one year after the Central American country adopted bitcoin.

    «After 100 years of modern banking, between 15% to 20% of the country uses bitcoin, and 80% of the people do not have bank accounts,» the treasurer said. He added that Bitcoin makes it easier and cheaper for Salvadorans abroad to send money home to their relatives.

    Loftis was among five South Carolinians who met with the country’s finance minister and other government officials.

    «They knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and they knew there were going to be missteps,» he said. «I feel confident they are going to do a fine job with it. Whether that is what (South Carolina) wants to do, I don’t know. What I’ve learned in El Salvador is that what the [critics] have been writing from New York, London, and Paris did not match what I saw in El Salvador. «

  • The Master Plan for cycle paths is committed to sustainable urban mobility

    The Master Plan for cycle paths is committed to sustainable urban mobility

    As part of the execution of the Master Plan for Bicycle Paths in the country, the director of the Road Conservation Fund (Fovial), Alexánder Beltrán, reported in an interview that it is planned to begin the adaptation of bicycle paths in the northern area of San Salvador, specifically on San Carlos Street, on the university boulevard and in the El Roble neighborhood.

    «Our goal in the end is for these three points to be connected, and later we would move to the east of the city, which would probably involve the Army Boulevard, and thus provide an option for all the inhabitants who are in this area. We are investing $2 million in the first stage and we are going to continue investing similar amounts in the other stages,» said Beltrán.

    The official commented that this project has been implemented for approximately three months in different sectors of the country. He stressed that it will also be developed in other locations with the aim of connecting them with the historic center of San Salvador.

    «It is planned to start a bicycle path in the south of the city, on Cuba Avenue and 10th Avenue, in the next few days. The objective will be to connect the Historic Center and not be considered an option to exercise, but also, in the future, an option to attend jobs or educational centers, «said the director.

    Beltrán also reported that the ordering of bike lanes on Hippodrome Boulevard has already been carried out, and the adaptation of these sections on Los Almendros Avenue, 87th Avenue, and 7th Street, in San Salvador, continues. In addition, he confirmed that preparations are being made to take this project to the eastern part of the country.

  • El Salvador has had two consecutive quarters of economic growth

    El Salvador has had two consecutive quarters of economic growth

    The economy of El Salvador grew by almost 3% during the second quarter of this year, according to data presented this Friday by the president of the Central Reserve Bank (BCR), Douglas Rodríguez.

    According to the financial institution, the Salvadoran economy grew a total of 2.8% in the second quarter of this year (2022), registering two consecutive quarters of growth and reflecting the positive effects of the measures implemented by the Government of El Salvador to counteract the effects of inflation and public safety issues.

    «Economic growth for the second quarter of 2022 is 2.8%. With this result, it could be confirmed that El Salvador will not have a recession this year. In addition, we also see how the measures implemented by President Nayib Bukele are becoming a determining factor in the economic growth of this second quarter, «Rodríguez commented.

    Similarly, the BCR pointed out that there has been growth in 15 of 19 economic activities in El Salvador, which represent 72% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Those with the highest growth have been: electricity, with 15.3%; administrative and support services, with 11%; the construction sector, registering an increase of 10.3%; personal services, with 6.6%; and the health and communications sectors, with more than 5%.

    Within its analysis, the BCR also points out that the main drivers of economic growth in El Salvador in the second quarter of 2022 have been the promotion of tourism, the war against gangs, the implementation of measures against inflation, and the impact of the global economic crisis on El Salvador. Public and private investment has also been a determining factor.

    In addition, growth has been boosted from the perspective of demand, thanks to exports, which have had a growth of 11.6%, together with investment, which has had a growth of 5.7%. The increase in private consumption and lower public consumption spending have also been key in this quarterly growth, revealing the good reorientation of expenditures that the government has made, directing them towards public investment.

    With these figures, the president of the BCR pointed out that El Salvador will not enter into a recession this year and an economic growth of 2.8% is projected for 2022, which will be achieved based on the aforementioned measures and the good management that has been made of the country’s finances together with the social approach.

  • El Salvador achieves historic tax collection

    El Salvador achieves historic tax collection

    The economist Carlos Acevedo, who also served as president of the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) during the administration of Mauricio Funes, considered in a morning interview that the government of President Nayib Bukele has developed a «good» tax management administration, which has led to reaching historical rates in the country.

    «For the first time in history, El Salvador had a collection of more than 20% of GDP in 2021. It was also the highest in Latin America, displacing Chile and Uruguay, which had the first two positions,» said Acevedo.

    The former official pointed out that this positive behavior in the collection of taxes has been maintained this year and even with better prospects. From January to July, the Ministry of Finance (MH) reported a year-on-year growth of 30% in the collection of Income Tax (ISR).

    Likewise, he highlighted the strong work that the Ministry of Finance carries out in auditing, especially with the policy against evasion.

    «In El Salvador we have an evasion of $2,000 million per year, but work is being done to recover that money. The Minister of Finance, Alejandro Zelaya, is tightening the control, with the famous Thursdays of evaders », he said.

    On the other hand, he praised the liability management carried out by the head of the Treasury, since it is being done «in a scenario where there is not much room for maneuver.»

    Acevedo even questioned the position of the risk rating agency, Fitch Ratings, which, despite the success of the government’s fiscal policies, continues to affirm that there is a possibility of «default» or implicit non-payment in the country.

    Fitch applied a second downgrade to the country’s sovereign rating on September 15, shortly after the announcement that the repurchase of the two closest bonds to maturity would be carried out. However, when the operation was carried out, the government achieved a savings of $275 million for the country, since 16.3% of the 2023 debt and 54% of the 2025 debt were acquired.

    «It strikes me how serious rating agencies like Fitch have said that there is a «default», an implicit non-payment, and I say: «default» why. There is no element that you are forcing creditors to accept your conditions, which is the typical case of a country that goes into default. This is not unpaid,» said the former official.

    In addition, he claimed to agree with the recent report by the investment bank, Bank of America, which disagreed with the report by the rating agency, Moody’s, which stated that the buyback was a «worrying exchange.» The financial institution also stated that El Salvador has the capacity to meet its obligations.

    «For the first time I see in a report from an investment bank of the caliber of Bank of America to say that it does not agree with the report of the rating agencies. I agree with Bank of America in this specific case », he concluded.

  • El Salvador is among the 16 countries with the greatest post-pandemic recovery worldwide

    El Salvador is among the 16 countries with the greatest post-pandemic recovery worldwide

    During a television interview, the Minister of Tourism, Morena Valdez, highlighted that El Salvador is one of the countries with the highest post-pandemic recovery, with 92%, and that the country has exceeded $1.6 billion in foreign exchange earnings, for which it has exceeded the 2022 goal.

    The official assured that improvements in security have been key to making El Salvador an attractive tourist destination. «We are one of the 16 countries that have recovered the most worldwide, it is not even at the regional level, of the Latin American countries, of the destinations that are being visited the most together with the Dominican Republic, that says how well we are doing », said the minister.

    On the other hand, the Minister of Tourism emphasized the «historical fact,» with which she referred to the $106 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), «since it had never given such an amount on loan,» assured the minister.

    The official emphasized the negotiation efforts with the IDB for a historic loan that has been approved unanimously and added that «they congratulated us as a country because we are definitely making history.»

    «Of the $106 million, 90% is designated for the 4 departments in the eastern part of the country to strengthen basic tourism infrastructure, human resources, and strengthen the productive sector with non-reimbursable funds,» explained Minister Morena Valdez.

    In addition, the minister indicated that a surfing competition will be held on the eastern beaches of El Salvador in November that will boost tourism in the sector and highlighted that the amusement park, Sunset Park, in La Libertad, has attracted more than 300,000 visitors since it opened.

  • El Salvador will host the world summit of geothermal countries

    El Salvador will host the world summit of geothermal countries

    El Salvador will host on September 30 the High-Level Meeting of the Global Geothermal Alliance, organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Government of El Salvador, through the Lempa River Hydroelectric Executive Commission (CEL).

    Since the beginning of this week, several delegations from geothermal countries have arrived, including the United States, Mexico, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Japan, Africa, and Pakistan, among other Central American countries, interested in knowing what our country is doing to transform the energy matrix and make a true transition towards renewable energies.

    The Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA, for its acronym in English) is a space to strengthen dialogue, cooperation between countries and coordinate efforts to increase the participation of geothermal energy generation in the world. This year, the meeting of said entity will be held in our country, thanks to the leadership of the government of President Nayib Bukele.

    «This is a unique opportunity to show not only geothermal countries but also the world what we are doing with our geothermal energy, which is our white gold. There are expansion plans that we have at the door to advance on this issue and ensure that El Salvador very soon depends less on hydrocarbons and is 100% renewable, in addition to allowing the country significant savings on the electricity bill,» said Daniel Álvarez, president of CEL.

    Currently, geothermal energy in El Salvador represents 25% of the daily consumption of Salvadorans, a figure that positions us as a benchmark in the world. We have 2 geothermal plants: The Ahuachapán Geothermal Power Plant and the Berlin Geothermal Power Plant, which together generate 190 Megawatts.

    The Ahuachapán Geothermal Plant has an installed capacity of 95 MW and has been in operation for 47 years, located 103 kilometers west of the country, in the department of Ahuachapán; while the Berlin Geothermal Power Plant, located 106 kilometers from the capital and with more than 22 years of productivity, supplies 13% of the energy consumed by El Salvador.