Salvadorans Abroad Invest $577 Million in the Country.
El Salvador’s favorable security climate has facilitated the execution of new projects with foreign capital in various sectors such as tourism, agribusiness, urban development, and commercial infrastructure, among others.
Salvadorans residing abroad have significantly contributed to the country’s economic development by executing over 194 projects, amounting to a total investment of $577 million during President Nayib Bukele’s administration, according to Salvador Gómez Góchez, the head of El Salvador’s Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Proesa).
According to the institution, there has never been such a substantial investment from Salvadorans abroad (Salex) in the country’s history as during this government. Proesa predicts that by the end of President Bukele’s administration, the total investment will reach $1 billion.
“The investments from Salvadorans abroad have been growing due to the impetus given by President Bukele to security and tourism in the country, prompting many of our fellow countrymen to decide to invest in El Salvador,” highlighted Gómez Góchez.
The official explained that in recent years, investments have experienced an increase of around 50%, indicating the interest of compatriots in revitalizing the national economy and creating employment opportunities.
The sectors that attract Salvadoran entrepreneurs the most for investment include tourism, urban development, agribusiness, energy, and infrastructure. In the infrastructure sector, projects such as shopping centers and service stations are being executed.
Gómez Góchez also mentioned that the majority of projects were developed by Salvadorans living in the United States, particularly in California, where 40% of the investors reside. Additionally, projects by entrepreneurs based in Canada, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and some European countries have also been registered.
Furthermore, he stated that 90% of the projects are being executed in the interior of the country. Specifically, there are eight projects in Ahuachapán with a total investment of $37 million, nine in Cabañas with $9 million, 14 in Chalatenango with $20 million, and three in Cuscatlán with $4.5 million.
Moreover, in La Libertad, considered one of the most attractive tourist zones in the country, 30 projects have been executed with an investment of approximately $130 million. Meanwhile, in La Unión, 27 projects have been established with an investment of $88 million.
The influx of investment from Salvadorans living abroad is a testament to their confidence in the country’s current security situation and the government’s efforts to promote economic growth. These investments are expected to have a significant impact on job creation and the overall development of El Salvador. With the continued support and favorable conditions, the country aims to attract even more investment from its diaspora, further boosting its economy and improving the lives of its citizens.
Native Women’s Association of Canada Shows Interest in Salvadoran Handcrafted Products and Coffee.
A delegation from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) recently visited El Salvador to explore the commercial opportunities offered by the country. They were captivated by the country’s handcrafted products and Salvadoran coffee, resulting in purchases totaling over $10,000.
The NWAC delegation expressed great interest in Salvadoran handcrafted products and coffee during their visit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Embassy of El Salvador in Canada, organized a meeting where local entrepreneurs showcased a variety of handmade items. These products, created using traditional techniques and local materials, included clothing and accessories, handbags and purses, jewelry, utensils, decorations, toys, as well as chocolate bars and beverage ingredients.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exhibition led to immediate sales of merchandise from each exhibitor, as well as from other local businesses. The total value of the purchases exceeded $10,000.
“We were impressed by the quality of the products. As an association of Indigenous women, artisanal items hold great importance for our community in Canada. Additionally, we run a café, which makes us particularly interested in the excellent chocolate and coffee,” stated Lynne Groulx, the NWAC’s General Director.
Groulx engaged in conversations with local talents to learn about the production processes and the stories behind the 10 micro-businesses that participated in the event.
As part of the delegation’s agenda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported their participation in a coffee tasting session supported by the Salvadoran Coffee Council (CSC). During the tasting, the NWAC members experienced the flavors, aromas, production methods, and other aspects of interest involved in producing high-quality coffee.
Furthermore, the delegation also met with female coffee farmers, aiming to establish connections for both business opportunities and the promotion of productive initiatives.
“We want to foster the growth of businesses and exchanges between Indigenous women and artisans. There is significant potential for commercial exchange,” expressed Groulx.
Ricardo Cisneros, the Salvadoran Ambassador to Canada, who accompanied the mission, highlighted that this initial purchase aims to open doors for local artisans and producers, with the goal of positioning their catalog and maintaining sales in the Canadian market.
“We will assess which products resonate in Canada. This is a long-term relationship, and we return home with samples that will help us expand the volume of purchases and sales,” said the diplomat.
The visit of the NWAC delegation and their interest in Salvadoran handcrafted products and coffee not only provides a boost to the local economy but also establishes a foundation for fruitful collaborations between Canadian Indigenous women and Salvadoran artisans. It is a promising opportunity to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations, paving the way for future success in the international marketplace.
ISA World Surfing Games 2023: El Salvador Anticipates Over 500 Athletes and Accompanying Guests.
In a recent interview with Radio YSKL, Morena Valdez, the Minister of Tourism, shed light on the various initiatives undertaken by her ministry to promote tourism and enhance the country’s growth in this sector. One of the key highlights discussed was the highly anticipated ISA World Surfing Games 2023, which is set to bring together more than 500 athletes and accompanying guests.
Addressing the event, Minister Valdez expressed her pride in hosting 64 delegations for the Surf City El Salvador tournament. “Salvadorans should feel proud,” she emphasized. With excitement in her voice, she disclosed that the estimated attendance for the event is expected to surpass a thousand participants.
Additionally, Minister Valdez reiterated the significance of El Salvador as the host country for the pre-Olympic surfing qualifier, scheduled to take place from May 30th to June 7th. With 64 delegations participating, the tournament promises to be a momentous occasion for the sport.
“Many surfers have already arrived with their complete teams. Each delegation consists of approximately 12 individuals,” explained Minister Valdez, who eagerly shared, “We are expecting over 500 people, including athletes and their accompanying guests.”
Highlighting the positive impact of these surfing events on tourism, Minister Valdez underscored the importance of the United States and Canada as key markets. “Thanks to these tournaments, we are witnessing an influx of tourists from various countries. Everyone wants to come to El Salvador due to the certainty and confidence that we offer as a premier surf destination,” she asserted.
Furthermore, Minister Valdez revealed the optimistic projections for tourist visits to the country this year. El Salvador anticipates welcoming approximately 2.9 million visitors, translating to more than $2.9 billion in foreign currency earnings.
“We have already achieved a record-breaking figure of one million visitors in the first four months of this year. We have exceeded our estimations,” Minister Valdez proudly declared.
The ISA World Surfing Games 2023, coupled with the pre-Olympic qualifier, presents a remarkable opportunity for El Salvador to showcase its natural beauty, waves, and hospitality on a global stage. With an enthusiastic Minister of Tourism leading the charge, the nation eagerly awaits the arrival of athletes and their supporters from around the world, ready to celebrate the spirit of surfing and the allure of El Salvador’s coastal treasures.
Palestinian Bitcoin Expert Trains Salvadoran Programmers.
Renowned economist Saifedean Ammous delivered a lecture to students at CUBO+, a project supported by the Bitcoin Office, where he shared his expertise on Bitcoin with aspiring programmers in El Salvador.
Saifedean Ammous, a Palestinian economist and author of the book “The Bitcoin Standard,” visited El Salvador on Monday to impart principles of economics to 55 students participating in CUBO+. This training project, initiated by the National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC), aims to equip young Salvadorans with programming skills.
Ammous began his lecture by discussing the definition of money, its historical uses, and the role of Bitcoin in the modern economy.
“Gold was the strongest form of money we knew before Bitcoin. Strong money always wins. The only money that will endure is strong money. If you invest in fiat, your money will lose half of its value in five years,” he said.
“Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer software that operates on a payment network with its native currency, protected against unexpected inflation. It is the strongest form of money ever discovered or invented. It is the only alternative that works against central banks and their international payment systems,” he added.
He also addressed the influence of the cryptocurrency on individuals’ time perspective.
“Bitcoin reduces uncertainty about the future, prompting people to shift their time preference and start thinking more about their future because they are not concerned about the devaluation of their money in the present. When you use fiat money, you spend it because you know your money will lose value,” he pointed out.
CUBO+: An Initiative for the Future
Following the lecture, Mario Flamenco, the person in charge of CUBO+ and a member of ONBTC, explained that Ammous’ conference was part of a preparatory phase for participants in the educational project. During this phase, students from the National University (UES), Don Bosco University (UDB), and Technological University (Utec), as well as professionals already working in the field, were provided with programming and economic fundamentals.
“With this preparatory phase, we will filter those who have more technical skills and interest, so that 25 of them can enter an intensive Bitcoin and Lightning programming period that will conclude in July,” he stated.
The vision is for these young individuals to be able to join technology companies that are coming to El Salvador, encouraged by the new regulations such as the Bitcoin Law and the Digital Assets Law.
“There are numerous Bitcoin and cryptography-related companies with a keen interest in entering El Salvador, and their greatest need is human capital. CUBO+ is the first direct action to specialize potential workers in the Bitcoin programming world,” he mentioned.
This initiative not only provides young Salvadorans with valuable skills but also positions the country as a hub for Bitcoin and digital asset technology, attracting innovative companies and fostering economic growth.
The collaboration between renowned experts like Saifedean Ammous and local educational projects demonstrates El Salvador’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies and shaping a prosperous future for its citizens.
Fintech Ecosystem in El Salvador: 80% of Companies Experience Growth and Expansion.
El Salvador has emerged as a favorable environment for financial technology (fintech) companies, with 80% of local fintech firms experiencing growth and expansion, according to a study conducted by Torres Legal, a legal company with expertise in new technologies. The research highlights the role of the government in driving the growth of the fintech ecosystem.
The study conducted by Torres Legal, which specializes in areas such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, and fintech, concludes that El Salvador provides a conducive environment for financial enterprises.
The research highlights that the Superintendence of the Financial System (SSF) has identified 25 fintech companies currently operating in the country. Out of these, 80% are in a phase of growth and expansion, 12% are in the developmental stage, and 8% are ready for launch.
Additionally, data from the Fintech Association of El Salvador (Asafintech) reveals that out of its 27 member companies, 25% offer services related to buying and selling bitcoin.
“While still in its early stages, the fintech ecosystem in El Salvador shows significant potential for growth and development in the coming years. The government and industry stakeholders are working to create a favorable environment for innovation and investment in financial technology, which will contribute to the sector’s growth,” notes the research.
The study, titled “Fintech Business Guide in El Salvador,” serves as a practical tool for entrepreneurs and provides insights into key legal, regulatory, and financial aspects that should be considered when investing in the country’s fintech sector.
Torres Legal points out that although El Salvador does not have specialized fintech legislation, laws, regulations, and norms have been incorporated to regulate a significant portion of the technological segment. These include the Bitcoin Law, Digital Asset Emission Law, Innovation and Technological Manufacturing Promotion Law (approved a few weeks ago), and the Financial Inclusion Facilitation Law, among others.
Technology Ecosystem in the Country
According to the research, 80% of fintech startups in El Salvador specialize in financial inclusion.
Out of the 25 fintech companies identified by the SSF, 60% focus on payment solutions, 20% are technology companies serving financial institutions, 8% are alternative financing platforms, and the rest are involved in personal and business finance management.
Many of these companies have established their presence in the country under the new laws passed during the current government administration. The study addresses the requirements for initiating investments in the territory, such as company formation and the implementation of anti-money laundering programs.
The document also delves into emerging trends in cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the role of neobanks in the digital transformation of financial services, and financial inclusion initiatives in the country.
To access this guide, please visit https://torres.legal/area/.
Forbes Highlights the Importance of Cruises for El Salvador in 5 Key Points.
El Salvador has emerged as a safe and enticing destination for international tourists, attracting cruise ships with thousands of visitors, with 90% of them stopping to explore the country’s tourist destinations, according to Forbes.
Forbes magazine has outlined the five key points that emphasize the significance of cruises for El Salvador, as the country has established itself as a secure and appealing option for foreign tourists, thanks to the recent advancements in safety measures.
One of the main highlights, as detailed by the Autonomous Executive Port Commission (CEPA), is the arrival of 10 cruises in El Salvador by 2023.
The international magazine also emphasizes the closure of the previous year with the arrival of the Norwegian Jewel on December 17th at the Port of Acajutla, which brought over 2,000 tourists to the country.
These foreign visitors often disembark from the cruises to explore the country’s interior, as 90% of them visit tourist destinations in El Salvador during their stay, according to CEPA.
“The arrival of these types of vessels is proof that El Salvador is positioning itself as a safe destination,” quotes Forbes from the Ministry of Tourism.
Furthermore, Forbes cites the global president of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), stating that this alternative form of tourism is estimated to attract between 27 and 33 million people worldwide.
The cruise season in El Salvador commenced on October 8th, 2022, with the docking of the Scenic Cruise Lines, and will conclude in May of the current year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Achieves $1.75 Million in Exports and Investments.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has successfully facilitated $1.75 million in exports and investments, signaling a thriving business environment in El Salvador. In the first four months of 2023 alone, the institution supported the implementation of business projects worth $940,000, specifically focusing on real estate tourism and the importation of electric vehicles.
El Salvador continues to be an attractive destination for international investments and trade. In line with this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its economic diplomacy strategy, remains dedicated to seeking more and better opportunities for various sectors and productive actors in the country.
This initiative aims to position El Salvador’s exportable offerings in foreign markets, attract investments from other countries, promote tourism, and drive other development projects.
Thanks to these efforts, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with its network of embassies, consulates, and economic advisors, directly facilitated export sales exceeding $812,000 in the first four months of 2023.
The opened markets include agro-industrial products, textiles and clothing, food and beverages, plastics, rubber, and more.
Furthermore, in the field of investments, the institution achieved the launch of businesses amounting to $940,000, particularly in the areas of real estate tourism and the importation of electric vehicles, among others.
“These results are very significant, considering that we are an institution that supports economic and commercial activities. It reflects the importance of the coordinated work that the Government of President Nayib Bukele is driving for the growth of the economy, the advancement of El Salvador, and the benefit of our people,” commented Adriana Mira, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
She added that they have successfully connected with customers and partners in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Eurasian region—strategic areas for the interests and economic relations promoted by El Salvador.
Throughout the year, the ministry, through its embassies and consulates, has participated in 45 in-person and virtual fairs and events across 24 key countries for trade promotion, investment stimulation, and tourist attraction.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also revealed that it has coordinated and facilitated the visits of 30 international delegations interested in firsthand knowledge of El Salvador’s potential for entrepreneurial projects, commercial ideas, and other productive endeavors.
“This is just the beginning. For the remainder of the year, we will continue with our roadmap for economic diplomacy, aiming to expand the business agenda with major global markets, as well as our trade contacts, with a focus on project diversification and the growth of micro and small enterprises,” stated the Vice Chancellor.
In 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enabled effective exports totaling $2.2 million. Regarding investments, $43 million was realized in infrastructure projects, manufacturing, renewable energy, and other sectors.
Energy Companies from the US and Europe Explore Investment Opportunities in El Salvador.
El Salvador has emerged as a prime destination for energy investments, attracting the attention of several US and European companies interested in investing in the national electricity sector. The arrival of five or six companies keen on making investments would enhance the capacity to supply Salvadoran households, according to Edwin Núñez, the president of Etesal.
President Núñez further revealed that he plans to meet with various international companies seeking to invest in the country and connect to Etesal’s power grid. However, any such connection would require approval from Etesal to link up with the substations across the country. The level of investment interest in the sector is significant and steadily increasing, prompting preparations to receive these potential investors.
The influx of new investment projects not only boosts the capacity for electricity generation but also benefits Salvadorans by ensuring stable energy prices. Núñez emphasized the importance of any participating company in the market, stating, “Every player in the market is a significant actor.”
He affirmed Etesal’s commitment to pursuing excellence in the national electricity market, aligning with President Nayib Bukele’s vision to benefit the people of El Salvador.
Furthermore, Núñez highlighted El Salvador’s substantial installed generation capacity, which allows the country not only to meet domestic demand but also to engage in energy exports. Recent energy transactions serve as confirmation of this capacity enhancement.
According to the official, the country’s energy consumption hovers around 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh). However, thanks to the actions implemented by state-owned energy companies and private energy projects, the generation capacity has now increased to approximately 2,400 to 2,500 MWh.
Núñez also shared that efforts are underway to construct new energy substations, enabling greater transmission of energy and benefiting more Salvadorans.
“We are working on an aggressive plan to provide quality energy to businesses and the people of El Salvador. Currently, we are constructing substations in Morazán and Tamanique, La Libertad, to enhance the quality of service,” explained the official.
He added that while the coastal areas already have access to electricity, the purpose of these substations is to improve the service and unlock the potential for investment projects in different parts of the country. To date, the institution has established 26 substations nationwide.
Furthermore, Núñez outlined plans to expand the areas where energy is distributed, enabling companies to have electricity for their projects.
As part of their modernization strategy, the institution conducts annual maintenance plans for various electrical substations.
The surge of interest from US and European energy companies in investing in El Salvador’s energy sector presents an exciting opportunity for the country’s development. With increased capacity for energy generation, improved services, and a focus on providing stable electricity prices, El Salvador is positioning itself as an attractive destination for international energy investment.
Fold Inc., a Bitcoin company, expands its operations in El Salvador.
Bitcoin company Fold has announced its plans to expand in El Salvador, including the establishment of a new office that will serve as its base for operations in Latin America.
Fold is renowned for introducing the first Bitcoin debit card in the United States, making Bitcoin accessible and user-friendly. Currently, it processes $1 billion in transactions.
In a statement, Fold’s CEO, Will Reeves, expressed enthusiasm about the project, stating, “As a country that promotes Bitcoin and has been a pioneer in adopting new monetary technology, we believe El Salvador is the perfect place for Fold to expand its presence in Latin America.”
Reeves also highlighted three reasons for choosing El Salvador. Firstly, they aim to establish a regional operations center. Secondly, they hope to recruit local talent with expertise in technology and support. Lastly, they seek to operate in a favorable commercial and cultural environment for Bitcoin.
“At Fold, we process $1 trillion in transactions and distribute over 50 trillion satoshis in Bitcoin rewards to our community in the United States. Now, we are going global, and our first stop is the Bitcoin country: El Salvador,” Reeves emphasized. “We are not the first to move to El Salvador, and we won’t be the last. This is just the beginning. Onward!”
Stacy Herbert from El Salvador’s National Bitcoin Office commented on Fold’s expansion, stating that it is a significant milestone for the company, which continues to foster a global Bitcoin community. “Fold certainly aligns with the description El Salvador aims to attract, and we are excited to welcome them to the Bitcoin country,” Herbert said.
This new investment adds to others that have arrived in the country, attracted by the Bitcoin Law and the Digital Assets Law. According to government data, there are currently 80 Bitcoin service providers and three digital asset service providers operating in the country.
Third Edition of Adopting Bitcoin to Take Place in El Salvador this November.
The third edition of Adopting Bitcoin, an event that promotes knowledge about the digital asset ecosystem and showcases El Salvador as an ideal investment destination, will be held in November. This year, the event will be organized in collaboration with the coordinators of the Pacific Bitcoin conference based in Los Angeles.
Galoy and Bitfinex, the Bitcoin companies organizing the event, recently announced that the initiative will take place from November 7th to 9th, 2023, in the capital city.
“In 2021, El Salvador made history as the first nation in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. This decision set the stage for a new era of financial innovation and inclusion. Now, for the third consecutive year, Adopting Bitcoin continues to support and promote the Bitcoin adoption process in El Salvador,” the firms emphasized in a statement.
This year, the project will be carried out in collaboration with Swan Bitcoin, the coordinators of the Pacific Bitcoin conference based in Los Angeles.
“Join us in celebrating the Bitcoin month, a series of unprecedented events starting with Pacific Bitcoin and culminating with Adopting Bitcoin 2023,” they elaborated.
Last year, over 1,000 renowned speakers, foreign investors, and Bitcoin enthusiasts participated in Adopting Bitcoin, where topics such as identity protocols, custody solutions, and transaction speed on the blockchain were discussed.
Noor El Bawab, co-organizer of the initiative, explained during the previous edition that the project responds to the impact Bitcoin adoption has had in El Salvador and around the world, as an increasing number of people gain access to cryptocurrencies.
“Education is a fundamental part of the adoption process. That’s why events like Adopting Bitcoin aim to showcase the full potential behind this technology,” she stated.