• El Salvador and Belgian company ASL Airlines Belgium sign memorandum of collaboration.

    El Salvador and Belgian company ASL Airlines Belgium sign memorandum of collaboration.

    The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adriana Mira, and the Commercial Director of the Belgian air transport company ASL Airlines Belgium, Todo Hildreth, signed a memorandum of collaboration on Friday.

    According to authorities, the objective of this agreement is to facilitate the company’s operations in El Salvador and establish a connection between the country and the European destination. Currently, ASL Airlines Belgium transports up to 5 million passengers and moves over 700,000 tons annually, as announced during the signing of the agreement.

    Authorities added that the government of President Nayib Bukele and its leadership have influenced the country’s progress in the global aviation sector.

    Furthermore, they emphasized that these types of actions open doors to increased tourism and the promotion of commercial relations.

  • Strike Expands Bitcoin Payments to 65 Countries and Establishes Global Headquarters in El Salvador.

    Strike Expands Bitcoin Payments to 65 Countries and Establishes Global Headquarters in El Salvador.

    Strike, the Bitcoin-powered payments app, has set its sights on becoming a global leader in crypto-based transactions, akin to Venmo or Cash App. In a recent announcement, led by 29-year-old entrepreneur Jack Mallers, the company revealed its expansion plans to cover 65 new markets around the world. This development is in addition to its existing operations in the United States, El Salvador, and Argentina.

    During an interview in Miami with Fortune, Mallers highlighted the consumer-oriented features of the Strike app, which facilitates seamless Bitcoin and Tether transfers through a frictionless onboarding process. He emphasized that billions of individuals are seeking a financial application with such attributes, as opposed to navigating the complex world of crypto exchanges and countless cryptocurrencies.

    Mallers also expressed confidence in Strike’s Bitcoin-first approach, particularly at a time when the U.S. crypto industry is grappling with regulatory uncertainties. He argued that Bitcoin’s distinct characteristics, including its decentralized nature and absence of a founding team or private token issuance, set it apart from other instruments in the industry that potentially fall under securities regulations.

    While Strike currently follows a regulation-first strategy in the U.S., the company is actively pursuing a BitLicense to expand its services in New York. Mallers attributed the company’s expansion into global markets partly to its relocation of the global headquarters to El Salvador. The country, which passed a digital assets law earlier in the year, has established a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Strike was among the first companies to receive a license under the new regime, along with Bitfinex.

    Mallers’ connection to El Salvador and its President, Nayib Bukele, who made Bitcoin legal tender in 2021, played a significant role in Strike’s decision to establish a presence in the country. Although Strike initially participated in the development of El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment, it later scaled back its involvement due to early challenges and slow adoption.

    Despite reports of limited Bitcoin usage among businesses and residents in El Salvador, Mallers pointed out alternative metrics, such as increased tourism, as indicators of the positive impact Bitcoin has had. He believes that Bitcoin has provided hope for the country, emphasizing that merchant adoption alone does not define its success.

    Strike’s future objectives include strengthening its connections to banking services that enable customers to exchange Bitcoin for fiat currency. Presently, customers in the new markets will only be able to receive Bitcoin from other users, but Mallers plans to introduce new features, including a debit card, later this year. Additionally, Strike faces challenges related to network congestion and higher fees for Bitcoin transactions due to increased demand for new products. Mallers, however, asserts that Bitcoin is functioning as intended and dismisses claims that congestion negatively affects emerging markets.

    Another noteworthy feature offered by Strike is “Send Globally,” which permits users to transfer between USD and other currencies using Bitcoin as an intermediary. Currently available in twelve countries across Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, this feature bridges the gap between different currencies.

    Notably, Strike holds dollar balances in Tether, a dollar-pegged stablecoin that has faced criticism for its opaque accounting practices. Mallers explained that the decision to use Tether was driven by demand from users in the Global South, who exhibit greater trust in Tether compared to alternatives like Circle and Coinbase’s USD Coin, which are perceived as catering primarily to American institutions.

    Strike’s expansion signifies a pioneering effort to build an app that enables individuals worldwide to transact with one another using Bitcoin. Mike Brock, CEO of TBD, a Bitcoin-focused division of Jack Dorsey’s financial technology company Block, expressed support for Strike’s endeavor. He emphasized the importance of a competitive marketplace and multiple companies striving to advance decentralized ecosystems.

  • Government of El Salvador and IDB Launch “Digital Economy” Platform.

    Government of El Salvador and IDB Launch “Digital Economy” Platform.

    The Ministry of Economy (Minec) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have launched the “Digital Economy” platform. This initiative aims to integrate and connect the various actors within El Salvador’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, while promoting the digital and technological services sector.

    The platform, which can be accessed at, consists of four sections, each addressing different aspects of the ecosystem.

    Under the “Tools” section, users can access resources such as electronic signature services, digital maturity diagnostics, and streamlined processes for investors. The “Digital Skills” section offers certifications and international courses platforms to strengthen knowledge in the field.

    The “Ecosystem 4.0” section is designed to bring together companies, startups, consultants, experts, freelancers, and all ecosystem actors in one space to facilitate networking and the sharing of experiences. Lastly, the “Library” section provides a repository of resources related to innovation and technology, including regulatory frameworks and success stories from the ecosystem.

    Alejandro Panameño, the Digital Innovation Manager at Minec, explained that the platform offers free courses such as augmented reality and certification with Microsoft. María Luisa Hayem, the Minister of Economy, emphasized that this project represents a significant step in positioning El Salvador as a regional hub for innovation, where both local and foreign companies can establish, operate, and grow within the territory.

    “This virtual space complements the efforts of President Nayib Bukele’s government to make El Salvador a regional reference in attracting investment and a center for the export of digital and technological services,” she said.

    “This portal brings the vibrant innovation ecosystem of our country into the virtual realm… We believe it will be a place where entrepreneurs can find solutions,” she added.

    César Falconi, the IDB representative in El Salvador, highlighted that this platform is a significant step toward enhancing the digital skills of local businesses.

    “It is an honor to have joined efforts between the Ministry of Economy and the IDB to launch this digital economy portal… SMEs that adopt technology grow faster and generate more jobs. With this platform, entrepreneurs will have valuable tools at their disposal,” he pointed out.

  • El Salvador Launches “Connecting El Salvador” Project to Promote Connectivity and Innovation.

    El Salvador Launches “Connecting El Salvador” Project to Promote Connectivity and Innovation.

    The Government of President Nayib Bukele has initiated the “Connecting El Salvador” project, aiming to promote connectivity and innovation in public spaces such as parks and squares across the country. As part of this initiative, free access to high-quality broadband internet will be provided in these areas. The project’s goals include fostering technological, social, educational, and economic development while also reducing the digital divide.

    “The government of President Nayib Bukele has made a strong commitment to digital transformation,” stated Daniel Méndez, the Secretary of Innovation.

    “We believe that parks and squares should be spaces where technology is readily available. People will have the ability to connect to high-speed internet, and we will be able to accommodate over 500 concurrent connections with bandwidth that exceeds the national average,” he added.

    The Secretary of Innovation further explained, “What we are implementing today is internet connectivity in parks using Starlink antennas and high-capacity Wi-Fi equipment.”

    This internet connection will provide unrestricted access for educational and entrepreneurial purposes. The aim is to create spaces that facilitate technological interaction and collaboration.

  • El Salvador’s Fuel Prices Among the Lowest in the Region.

    El Salvador’s Fuel Prices Among the Lowest in the Region.

    The latest fuel price references in El Salvador reflect significant decreases, making it one of the countries in Central America with the lowest gasoline and diesel prices. Compared to Costa Rica, where prices exceed $5.00, El Salvador stands out with considerably lower fuel costs.

    According to the General Directorate of Energy, Hydrocarbons, and Mines (DGEHM), the fuel price references from May 16 to 29 show a range between $0.18 and $0.29 per gallon at various service stations nationwide.

    The current prices for different fuel types in the country, as reported by the institution, are as follows: $4.42 per gallon for special gasoline, $4.17 for regular gasoline, and $3.65 for diesel.

    DGEHM’s statistics reveal that El Salvador is positioned as the second country with the lowest fuel prices, trailing only Guatemala, where special gasoline costs $4.40 per gallon.

    In neighboring Honduras, the price of superior gasoline is around $4.43 per gallon, while in Nicaragua, it is $5.09, and Costa Rica approximately $5.15, according to Hydrocarbons and Mines.

    “The second lowest prices for special gasoline and the third lowest for diesel place El Salvador in a favorable position. These prices will remain stable, showcasing a decrease for this fortnight,” explained Henry Müller, Director of Hydrocarbons and Mines at DGEHM.

    Müller further highlighted that as part of the benefits implemented by President Nayib Bukele’s government, inspections regarding fuel prices, quality, and quantity continue to be conducted nationwide.

    He stated that over 50,000 inspections of fuels and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have been carried out since last year, with more than 19,000 inspections specifically targeting service stations.

    “These inspections ensure that service stations sell products at fair and accurate prices while prominently displaying them to the public. This way, we are protecting the wallets of Salvadorans,” Müller assured.

    Additionally, he mentioned that they have identified 237 cases of non-compliance, which are subject to sanctioning processes, including two cases related to gas stations. Fines can amount to 280 minimum wages, reaching nearly $200,000.

    Müller emphasized that DGEHM representatives certify that service stations display prices on their boards that match those indicated on the dispensing pumps, ensuring transparency and fairness for consumers.

  • First Ibero-American Parks Congress Inaugurated in San Salvador.

    First Ibero-American Parks Congress Inaugurated in San Salvador.

    The 1st Ibero-American Parks Congress kicked off in San Salvador, showcasing the significance of public spaces for societal development. The event commenced with over 200 attendees gathering at Cuscatlán Park.

    The inaugural ceremony was graced by the presence of Mayor Mario Durán, who emphasized, “The Salvadoran capital opens its doors to bring together key stakeholders in the promotion, conservation, and development of urban parks throughout the region.”

    Over the course of two days, the congress will feature roundtable discussions, panel talks, and presentations by local and international speakers from cities such as Tegucigalpa, San José, Mexico City, Bogotá, Santiago, Asunción, San Juan, La Paz, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

    “This event will be highly enriching due to the exchange of experiences and knowledge among experts, who will share the latest trends and practices in the management of public, private, and community parks,” explained Mayor Durán.

    The opening ceremony also saw the presence of Spanish Ambassador Carlos de la Morena Casado, who highlighted that urban models “are a global trend that will continue to be emphasized in the coming years. The new urban agenda provides a roadmap for human settlements and sustainable human development.”

    The first day of the congress will delve into various topics, including the significance of public spaces, the changing perception of Cuscatlán Park among the population, and international experiences in park management. Some notable presentations include discussions on the environmental conservation of Chapultepec Forest (Mexico), the importance of community involvement in La Mexicana Park (Mexico), park administration in Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Buen Corazón’s City Program in Washington, D.C. (Mexico), and the role of local governments in the development of urban green areas (Costa Rica).

    The 1st Ibero-American Parks Congress is poised to serve as a platform for fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and promoting the vital role of parks in enhancing the quality of life in Ibero-American cities.

  • Bandesal to Inject $100 Million into Mipymes.

    Bandesal to Inject $100 Million into Mipymes.

    Bandesal, the state-owned bank, will channel $100 million in funds from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to benefit around 4,000 Mipymes (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises).

    The financing, which will benefit an estimated 4,000 Mipymes, will be offered on upcoming dates to be officially announced through Bandesal’s initiative called the “Credit Access Program for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises.”

    According to Bandesal’s President, Moisés Cabrera, this operation is expected to increase the sales revenues of the beneficiary Mipymes, projecting positive effects on the business fabric, as well as the generation of direct and indirect jobs.

    “Bandesal has always played a relevant role in supporting Mipymes, contributing to and managing sources of financing for the support of these business segments. Thanks to this financing, we will continue to strengthen the growth of Mipymes and promote the expansion of access to medium and long-term productive credit,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Minister Zelaya indicated that this exclusive credit line is “very likely” not available in the national banking system and is part of the government’s strategies to benefit the business sectors.

    “El Salvador has experienced a new revitalization of entrepreneurship since the arrival of President Nayib Bukele. The strategies to assist the business sectors in our country have changed positively,” highlighted the official.

    The IDB spokesperson in the country, César Falconi, confirmed that 4,000 companies will benefit from the $100 million financing.

    “We are improving lives in El Salvador. Today, we signed with Minister of Finance Alejandro Zelaya and the President of Bandesal the new Credit Access Program for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises for $100 million, which will benefit 4,000 companies,” he emphasized.

    According to official information, the only component of the program is productive credit, which will finance sub-loans to Mipymes through eligible Intermediary Financial Institutions (IFI) accessing Bandesal’s second-tier credit lines.

    These sub-loans can finance productive activities that enhance the operational capacity of businesses in this sector, including fixed assets and working capital, thus promoting their recovery and growth.

    The sectors that may be financed include commerce, services, manufacturing industry, small-scale construction, and agriculture. The sub-borrowers can be natural and legal persons from all sectors of the economy considered as Mipymes.

    As for the financing conditions, it offers a term of up to 25 years (including up to 5.5 years of grace period) at a variable interest rate based on the reference rate plus the IDB margin. There is an option to convert to a fixed interest rate or any other available rate, as detailed by the multilateral organization.

  • El Salvador’s Credit Ratings Continue to Rise, Bolstered by Government Efforts for Sustainable Development.

    El Salvador’s Credit Ratings Continue to Rise, Bolstered by Government Efforts for Sustainable Development.

    The representative of the Latin American Development Bank in El Salvador, Óscar Avalle, has reiterated his congratulations to the country for the upward trend in credit ratings by Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings.

    The Latin American Development Bank (CAF) foresees that the country’s risk ratings will continue to improve due to the government’s efforts to address its finances and ensure sustainable development, as stated by Óscar Avalle, the organization’s representative in El Salvador.

    “Undoubtedly, the ratings will continue to improve; we hope so. And we will continue to support the country,” said Avalle to “Diario El Salvador.”

    The executive once again congratulated the country for the credit rating upgrades announced by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s (S&P Global Ratings) in the past week. Fitch raised El Salvador’s credit rating by three notches, from CC in their February report to CCC+ in the May document, while S&P upgraded the long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings to CCC+/C, affirming a stable outlook for the long-term rating.

    “These ratings are milestones, reflections of what is happening in society. The congratulations I extend, both for the improvements by Fitch and S&P, are for the effort that El Salvador has made to reach this point,” emphasized Avalle.

    “The important thing is the effort being made to improve finances, ensure sustainable development in the country, and create the necessary conditions for people to stay and believe in the potential for development in this country,” he added.

    In this context, the multilateral delegate assured that they would continue to support El Salvador’s efforts “to move forward and enter a path of sustainable development.”

    To date, the organization has approved a portfolio of $375 million for the country in various projects.

    Avalle detailed that $300 million has already been disbursed to support the COVID-19 emergency response, digital education, and resilient infrastructure. He also mentioned that $75 million was recently approved for customs and trade facilitation.

    “As you can see, you joined us a year ago, and you already have a portfolio of $375 million, which is quite impressive. We are working with the Government of El Salvador to identify strategic areas such as water, customs, trade facilitation, health, logistics infrastructure, and telecommunications, to create the necessary conditions for sustainable and inclusive growth in the country,” he explained.

    Finally, the representative of the organization expressed optimism about El Salvador’s incorporation into the regional debt market.

    “We are very optimistic. It is a lengthy process in which you are involved. The Minister of Finance [Alejandro Zelaya] and the entire government are doing everything possible to make that market emerge, and if it does, it will be a highly effective financing instrument for the entire region,” concluded Avalle.

  • El Salvador Leads in Geothermal Energy Generation, Boosting Economy and Energy Stability.

    El Salvador Leads in Geothermal Energy Generation, Boosting Economy and Energy Stability.

    El Salvador has made significant strides in energy production based on renewable resources, with geothermal energy emerging as the primary source of generation in April this year, according to the General Directorate of Energy, Hydrocarbons, and Mines (DGEMH). This achievement has not only contributed to the country’s economic well-being but also ensured stability in energy tariffs.

    Thanks to investments made by various state-owned companies, renewable generation has seen a notable increase. In April alone, El Salvador produced a total of 240 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy, as reported by the DGEMH.

    The DGEMH stated that geothermal plants were the leading source of generation during that month, followed by hydroelectric power plants. According to the institution’s statistics, the LAGEO geothermal plants generated 125.35 GWh, while the hydroelectric plants operated by the Executive Hydroelectric Commission of the Lempa River (CEL) produced 83.26 GWh.

    Furthermore, the small hydroelectric plants of the Cucumacayán Electric Company (CECSA) contributed 2.9 GWh, in addition to the 28.76 GWh generated by Investments Energéticas (INE).

    This increased generation has benefited over 2 million users and has also positioned El Salvador as the leading energy exporter in Central America. In 2022 alone, energy exports experienced a staggering growth rate of 1,860%, effectively meeting both domestic and international demand, as reported by the Central Reserve Bank (BCR).

    “We will continue to prioritize renewable energies, safeguarding the economy of Salvadorans and protecting our natural resources,” posted the General Directorate of Energy on their social media platforms.

    The government has announced its commitment to further develop renewable projects to diversify the country’s energy matrix and maintain stable energy prices. By embracing renewable resources, El Salvador aims to ensure long-term sustainability while fostering economic growth.

    As the nation forges ahead in its pursuit of renewable energy, El Salvador serves as an inspiring example for other countries in the region and beyond. By harnessing the power of geothermal and hydroelectric sources, El Salvador not only contributes to a greener future but also secures a stable and prosperous economy for its citizens.

  • Salvadoran Company Exports Bitcoin ATMs to Europe.

    Salvadoran Company Exports Bitcoin ATMs to Europe.

    The innovative Bitcoin ATMs developed by Salvadoran company K1 have been warmly embraced in Europe, the United States, and Latin America due to their ability to quickly and securely acquire Bitcoin.

    The growing Bitcoin ecosystem in the country has presented a realm of opportunities for Salvadoran entrepreneurs who are involved in technological advancements and seek to innovate with their projects.

    This dynamism has allowed K1, a Salvadoran firm that manufactures Bitcoin ATMs capable of reloading electronic wallets utilizing the Lightning Network, to export its technology abroad.

    Edgar Borja, CEO of the company, explained that they currently have six ATMs in El Salvador, three in Europe, four in the United States, and fifteen distributed among Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador.

    According to the entrepreneur, the K1-designed machines have been well received in these nations due to their ability to efficiently and securely acquire Bitcoin.

    “The ATMs have been very well received. The Bitcoin community in Switzerland, France, and Austria has been pleased because it is extremely user-friendly […] Our product delivers Bitcoin immediately and has the advantage of accepting coins for small amounts. We have our own niche, even though we are competing globally,” stated Borja.

    The product, known as the “K1 Mini,” allows users to input coins valued at $1, $0.25, and even $0.05, which are then converted into Bitcoin and added to their wallets.

    “It is a low-cost and accessible product. We are targeting individuals involved in small transactions or those who are looking to learn about Bitcoin but may not want to risk $10 or $20, which can be significant for many people. They are, however, willing to learn and save with $1 or $0.25,” he explained.

    Furthermore, the company plans to launch a new ATM that accepts bills, aiming to expand its reach.

    “We currently have several products in the manufacturing process, some more advanced than others, but the one we want to continue growing with is the coin-operated ATM and commercially launch the bill-operated ATM,” he indicated.

    Growth in Technology Exports

    According to data from the Central Reserve Bank (BCR), as of March this year, the exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods experienced a year-on-year growth of 17.6% in terms of value and a 7.19% increase in volume.

    Currently, El Salvador exports $8.04 million worth of technology abroad, with computers and peripheral equipment leading the growth with a remarkable 120.8% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

    For Borja, the growth in technology exports will continue to rise as more local investors venture into the field and international corporations are attracted by the new Law for the Promotion of Innovation and Technological Manufacturing, which provides a 15-year tax exemption.

    He also mentioned that the support from government institutions has become crucial for the growth of companies like the one he leads.

    “We won an award from the Superintendence of the Financial System (SSF), which organized a competition on financial inclusion, and we secured first place. That helped us further develop our products,” added Borja.