The Crossroads Fund was created in 2011 to promote economic growth in Central America by accelerating regional economic integration and investment in cross-border infrastructure. Underinvestment in infrastructure and logistics, as well as high border transport costs, have prevented Central America from fully benefiting from the growth potential of two decades of economic integration and trade liberalization with its neighbors and with the United States.
By overcoming impediments to growth, the Crossroads Fund seeks to advance regional security, domestic job growth, and stronger markets for U.S. exports. In addition, by supporting cross-border infrastructure and economic integration, the fund provides resources for Central American countries to: reduce production costs for businesses and entrepreneurs; improve economic competitiveness; and lower the cost of goods for local consumers. The Crossroads Fund encourages economies of scale for the region, facilitating cross-border transport and integrated supply chains for sectors ranging from agriculture to energy.
The United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Colombia provide financial support to the Crossroads Fund. The seed investments by the Crossroads Fund are expected to generate higher formal sector employment, more trade and foreign direct investment, and reduced inequality and violence through spreading opportunity to remote populations.
THE CROSSROADS FUND:
- President Obama announced the creation of the multilateral Crossroads Fund and a one-time U.S. pledge of $5 million during his March 2011 trip to El Salvador. The Fund has received $22 million in fulfilled contributions from donors, including the United States ($5 million), Canada ($10 million), Mexico ($3 million), Spain ($2 million), and Colombia ($2 million).
- This Fund will incentivize cross-border project lending by funding technical assistance for infrastructure projects.
- The Fund is a limited, targeted, intervention to create long-term economic growth by attacking key barriers to faster, more efficient, and more secure regional transport and logistics networks. This effort will improve price competitiveness of Central American exports to the United States, allowing the region to take advantage of its geographical advantage and creating more stable and secure jobs in the region.
- The Fund is housed at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Project selection and execution is expected to begin during 2013.