Page 172

166

Private Sector Case Study

The items on that agenda have been addressed by the Puebla Panama Plan (PPP), under which some projects, grouped in the following initiatives, are being carried out: •

The Mesoamerican Initiative for Energy Interconnection, under the responsibility of Guatemala, whose main purpose is to unify the Mesoamerican energy markets in order to reduce electricity costs for final users and to improve business competitiveness. The Mesoamerican Transport Integration Initiative, coordinated by Costa Rica, which intends to boost both the internal and external connectivity of the economies in this region through the improvement of corridors highways and the harmonization of legal rules and transport regulations. The Mesoamerican Telecommunication Service Integration Initiative - part of the program which is under the responsibility of El Salvador—which endeavors to increase access to information for citizens and regional businesses by enhancing telecommunication infrastructure, promoting universal access and developing a supporting policy and regulatory framework to foster both public and private investment. The Mesoamerican Initiative for Trade Facilitation and Competitiveness Enhancement, coordinated by Honduras, seeks to streamline trade in the region and increase competitiveness levels in the production sector through actions intended to reduce inter-regional trade costs.

All good intentions notwithstanding, it is perceived from Central-American public opinion that the PPP has not fulfilled their expectations.10 In the first place, the PPP is, in spite of everything, being mainly connected with infrastructure and energy-related issues. Except for those who are directly involved in the project, as the case of commissioners or some regional agencies, the region’s leaders do not have much knowledge about the wide extent of projects involved in this initiative and their rate of progress. According to the private sector, there are several reasons why the PPP has not been able to fulfill their expectations. On the one hand, the lack of an adequate work structure, capable of matching the works to be done with available resources. Although the fact that each country is responsible for an initiative is considered a positive aspect of the program, there has not been an adequate follow-up on projects and, in the most of cases, the assignment of projects has been carried out without taking into consideration the strengths and advantages of each country11. All these issues have also prevented all the participants from keeping an all-comprising, global vision on this matter.

10

This section is based on CLACDS/INCAE. 2006 “Posición de Centroamérica frente a futuras iniciativas de integración regional” (The Position of Central America regarding Future Regional Integration Initiatives) Mimeo. 11 For example, it is almost contradictory that Costa Rica, a nation with significant infrastructure deficiencies, be the country leading this initiative; or let us consider the case of Belize, a country which has been assigned tourism-related issues, and it is certainly not one with a major significance in that field.

mobilizing aid for trade: focus on latin america and the caribbean: proceedings of the regional r...  

this report was prepared by the integration and trade sector (int) as a contribution to the regional meeting on mobilizing aid for trade: la...