Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday will announce commitments from 12 private companies and organizations to invest in the Northern Triangle, a White House official says, marking the latest administration attempt to address the root causes of migration from the region.
The agreement, dubbed a “Call To Action,” includes commitments from major companies like Microsoft, Mastercard, Chobani, Duolingo, Nespresso, Bancolombia and Davivienda. Organizations like Accion, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Pro Mujer, the Tent Partnership for Refugees and the World Economic Forum have also signed onto the initiative.
The private sector investments will extend across El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Microsoft plans to expand internet access to as many as 3 million people in the region by July 2022 as well as develop community centers to help teach internet and digital skills to women and young people.
Yogurt company Chobani will take its incubator program to Guatemala to help local entrepreneurs set up their operations. Mastercard hopes to help 5 million people in the region obtain access to banking services and help bring 1 million micro and small businesses into a digital banking system.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the investment announcement.
The vice president will meet with leaders of these companies and organizations at the White House Thursday afternoon to discuss economic investments in the region. Harris has sought to leverage private sector influence part of the administration’s strategy for the Northern Triangle, particularly in aiding economic concerns in the region.
The announcement comes as Harris is set to travel to Guatemala and Mexico next month, her first foreign trip as vice president as she looks to work directly with governments in the Northern Triangle to tackle the migration issue.
In March, President Joe Biden tasked Harris with leading diplomatic efforts with the Northern Triangle to stem the flow of migration from the region, a politically fraught assignment that has made her the target of Republicans attempting to lay immigration and border issues at her feet.
Ahead of her trip to Mexico and Guatemala, Harris has met virtually with the leaders of those countries and sought input from experts and civil society leaders in the region.
“Our approach is to work with international institutions, to work with nations worldwide, the private sector and community organizations,” Harris said in a virtual meeting with Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier this month.