Honduras Knocks on Door of Development Bank to Fund ZEDEs

EspañolTo proceed with the Zones for Employment and Economic Development (ZEDEs) project, Honduras shall seek to muster funds from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The nation with per capita GDP of US$1,577 already has IDB debt of $1.2 billion — one quarter of the nation’s annual economic activity — but it will make the case for more in September.

IDB-Portfolio Loans Honduras in US$ millions.
IDB-Portfolio Loans Honduras in US$ millions. (PanAm Post)

The announcement came on Sunday from Honduran Executive Secretary Ebal Díaz. A joint Honduran and Korean delegation will visit Washington, DC, he explained, where they will hold talks with IDB officials and introduce the ZEDEs project for southern Honduras.

The sought-after funds are for the construction of a bridge that would unite Amapala Island with the city of Nacome on the mainland. The underlying goal is to create a continuous transportation route from the Pacific Ocean to Puerto Cortes on the Atlantic Ocean.

Ebal Díaz stated that the port is necessary for Honduras to raise her profile in the realm of international commerce. Along with the port, he said there are plans for a transportation hub to be built and used as a center for commerce in Central America.

Korean experts, after bathymetric studies in the Gulf of Fonseca, have concluded that the waters are deep enough for the construction of a port.

Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua share the Gulf of Fonseca. The island of Amapala, though, is set to be connected to the mainland.
Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua share the Gulf of Fonseca. The island of Amapala, though, is set to be connected to the mainland. (Google Maps)

For the ZEDEs, Honduras Needs Neighbors

The Gulf of Fonseca covers an area of about 1,200 square miles, and while Honduras governs most of it, portions are under the control of Nicaragua and El Salvador. In fact, Honduras and El Salvador have had trials in the International Court of the Hague to delineate international waters and the sovereignty of the islands in the Gulf.

On Monday, Presidents Juan Orlando Hernández, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, and Daniel Ortega — of Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, respectively — held a brief meeting in Managua, Nicaragua, and the Gulf of Fonseca was on the agenda.

Presidents of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras in the Managua Meeting about the Gulf of Fonseca.

This meeting’s stated objective was economic progress in the Gulf region, and the heads of state signed an agreement for the development of agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, and renewable-energy projects.

For Sánchez Cerén, this is a pivotal agreement for Central American integration, and he has assured that El Salvador will make the effort to achieve success with these projects: “We have taken a great step in order to convert the region to one of peace and sustainable development. We will work on projects that will help in the fight against regional poverty; we will create more opportunities and achieve security for the three countries.”

The presidents of Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador reaffirm the agreement to turn the #GulfofFonseca into a zone of peace and sustainable development.

“The Gulf of Fonseca will not be the subject of conflicts. Rather, it will be a display of unity for all Central America. I also seize this moment to let the world know of this enormous investment opportunity,” said Juan Orlando Hernández.

One of the largest joint projects will be the construction of a shipyard and a ferry boat for the three countries. From El Salvador, it will sail out of La Unión Port, connect with Corinto Port in Honduras, and finally arrive in Potosí in Nicaragua. When the Amapala and San Lorenzo ports in Honduras are built, the ferry boat will connect with them as well.

After the six hours of meetings, Daniel Ortega read a 12-point summary declaration. It highlighted that the presidents had committed themselves to create a “Master Plan” for “tri-national” development for the Gulf. The leaders also asked for help from multilateral funding agencies, and they invited investors to come and engage in trade.

Although not in the public declaration, the three attendees agreed to steps in favor of the ZEDEs. That includes the creation of the transportation hub and permitting the Gulf of Fonseca to be both a touristic and free-trade zone.

The signed treaties link the three navies, and within 30 days, each general must present a proposal for a protocol of action to avoid conflicts in the Gulf.

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