San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

El Salvador seeks funds to develop coastal areas

SAN SALVADOR – The government of El Salvador on Wednesday unveiled a plan to reduce poverty through the development of the country’s coastal areas, using funds from a U.S. aid program known as the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Technical Presidential Secretary Alexander Segovia said the strategy, which will be presented on Thursday at the MCC, includes 75 of 262 municipalities located on the Pacific coast.

The region accounts for 34 percent of the country’s territory and has a population of 1.5 million of El Salvador’s 6.1 million residents.

“We have more sea than land. It is inconceivable that in such a small country the government historically has been absent from coastal areas,” Segovia said.

U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte said the proposal for the coastal zone will be “carefully analyzed” by MCC directors, and the amount allocated will depend on the projects submitted.

The MCC donated $461 million to a program called “Fomilenio Uno,” which ran from 2007 until last October.

El Salvador’s coast “is the richest area of the country” and also is the region where “there are more social problems,” because 56 percent of the population lives in poverty and 20.5 percent are illiterate, Segovia said.

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