Panama emerges as top source of El Salvador’s FDI in 2023, U.S. 2nd

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

Investments also came from Spain, Mexico and Colombia, according to data cited by Invest.

Panama and the United States were the main countries of origin of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2023, said the El Salvador Investment and Export Promotion Agency.

The investor’s guide, updated under the administration of Invest’s new president, Rodrigo Ayala, noted that last year the accumulated FDI in the economy exceeded $10.8 billion.

FDI is one of the most focused indicators for economists and international agencies. The consensus and the point of comparison between countries is to take net FDI, i.e. the investment that really stayed in the economy after departures, either for payments or transfers to parent companies.

The Central Reserve Bank (BCR) records net FDI reached $759.7 million in 2023, the highest figure since 2018.

Of the accumulated investment in the country, Invest revealed that Panama reports $3,985 million, 36.7 percent of the total. For its part, the United States totaled $1,879 million, 17.3 percent.

The list also includes nations such as Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Honduras.

The investment was also mobilized from Guatemala, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Virgin Islands.

Invest’s report noted that 52 percent of the investment went to financial and insurance activities, as well as the industry.

In detail, 19 per cent of FDI was aimed at trade-related businesses, 12 per cent went to the electricity sector and 11 per cent with information and communications.

The government said that foreign investment is promoted and protected in the country. The document highlighted that 424 processes have been simplified in El Salvador, and 222 digitized processes have been established.

Invest indicated that transfers of funds to international investors, as well as property protection and legal certainty, are guaranteed.

Work force

The profile that was raised to investors recalled that the estimated population in El Salvador is around 6.3 million. Of this portion, about three million make up the workforce, i.e. those over 16 who own a job or are employed.

Of the total workforce, 42.1 per cent are women, while 57.9 per cent are men. For its part, the unemployment rate is 5 per cent.

Invest highlights that 54 percent of the labor force in El Salvador is under 40 years of age and, according to the document, investors are the ones who will qualify the Salvadoran workforce due to their efficiency, laboriousness and ethics.

The Agency stresses that there is a growth in the number of workers who have already completed higher education. This situation would be guaranteeing job preparation for El Salvador, offering foreign capital collaborators who can contribute to different sectors of the economy.

The report points out that in the country there are more than 22,000 technicians and professionals who join the workforce each year, of which 21 per cent of them are graduated from engineering and technology.

This article has been translated after first appearing in Diario El Mundo