I recently participated in an investment Q&A panel and was asked by someone in the audience to share a few inspiring success stories of U.S. investors or companies that have successfully invested in Central American markets, highlighting the potential benefits
and opportunities available within the region:
- Walmart is a prime example of an American company that has found success in Central America. In the early 2000s, Walmart expanded its operations in the region by acquiring local retailers. Through its subsidiary Walmart Centroamerica, the company
established a strong presence in countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Walmart's investments in Central America have created thousands of jobs, improved supply chains, and provided access to affordable goods for local
- Citi, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, has made notable investments in Central America. The company has expanded its operations in the region, offering a range of financial services to individuals, corporations, and
governments. Citi's investments have helped foster economic growth, facilitated international trade, and supported infrastructure development in several Central American countries.
- AES Corporation, a global power company based in the United States, has successfully invested in the renewable energy sector in Central America. The company has developed and operated several wind and solar projects in countries like Panama, Costa
Rica, and Honduras. AES Corporation's investments in renewable energy have not only contributed to the diversification of the region's energy mix but have also helped reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable development.
- Copa Airlines, headquartered in Panama, has attracted investments from a number of America companies and investors. The airline has strategically positioned itself as a major hub in the region, connecting North and South America through its extensive
flight network. Copa Airlines' success has not only benefited travelers but has also stimulated tourism and business opportunities in Central America.
- Call Center Industry: Central America has become a popular destination for United States companies looking to outsource call center operations. Numerous America investors have capitalized on the region's favorable business environment, cost-effective
labor, and multilingual workforce. The call center industry in countries like Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala has flourished, providing employment opportunities and boosting the local economy.
- Marriott International, a leading hotel chain based in the United States, has made significant investments in Central America's tourism industry. The company operates a number of hotels and resorts in countries like Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize.
Marriott's investments have not only brought high-quality accommodations to the region but have also stimulated tourism, created job opportunities, and supported local businesses.
- Grupo Terra, a diversified conglomerate based in Honduras, has attracted investments from US companies in various sectors. One notable success story is the partnership between Grupo Terra and Walmart in Honduras. Through a joint venture, they established
the Despensa Familiar chain, which offers affordable groceries to low-income communities. This investment has improved access to essential goods and generated employment opportunities for Hondurans.
- The Blackstone Group, a prominent US private equity firm, has invested in Central America's infrastructure sector. One example is its investment in the development of the Central America Bottling Corporation (CBC), a leading beverage company in the
region. Blackstone's investment has supported CBC's expansion, enhanced production capabilities, and increased market reach. This success story highlights the potential for infrastructure investments in Central America to drive economic growth and improve
These success stories demonstrate the potential benefits and opportunities available in Central America for U.S. investors and companies. By leveraging the region's resources, skilled workforce, and strategic location, these businesses have achieved growth,
created employment, and made positive contributions to the economies of Central American countries.
Panama City, Panama based attorney Idaliz H. Guiraud said, “that this also showcases just how US investors and companies have successfully tapped into the region's potential, contributing to economic development, job creation, and improved living standards”
Luigi Wewege is President of award-winning Caye International Bank, headquartered in Belize, Central America. He is the author of The Digital Banking Revolution, now in its third edition, and has co-authored economic research presented before the United
States Congress. He also serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School in California and is a Board Member of: Fort Kobbe International Vaults in Panama, NTL Trust in Saint Kitts and Nevis as well as CI Associates based in Chile.