El Salvador gets $98m in US funds to fight emigration

A third of the money disbursed by the US will go to promoting economic growth in El Salvador, where gang violence and poor employment prospects are the main drivers of emigration to the United States (AFP Photo/Jose CABEZAS) (AFP/File)

San Salvador (AFP) - El Salvador on Tuesday became the second Central American country to receive tens of millions of dollars in US aid to fight the root causes forcing its citizens to emigrate.

Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez and the US ambassador to San Salvador, Jean Manes, signed an agreement disbursing $97.9 million to the Salvadoran government.

A third of the money is to go to promoting economic growth and the remainder to boosting democracy and governance.

A week ago, Honduras received $125 million from the fund.

The money comes from a $750-million US fund called the Alliance for Prosperity Plan allocated for Central America's three most dangerous countries -- El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, collectively known as the region's Northern Triangle.

The cash is meant to go to improve security conditions and reduce poverty in the countries. Gang violence and poor employment prospects are the main drivers of emigration from the Northern Triangle to the United States.

Former US president Barack Obama had the money allocated after seeing an alarming spike in the number of Central Americans -- especially unaccompanied minors -- seeking to enter the United States.

The new US president, Donald Trump, has promised to reduce the number of undocumented migrants in the United States and to deport many of them back to their home countries.

He has also signed an order to start looking at construction of a 2000-mile (3,000-kilometer) wall along the US border with Mexico to stop illegal border crossings.

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