September 19, 2014 / 1:26 AM / 5 years ago

U.S. to invest $277 million to help boost El Salvador economy

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it will invest $277 million in El Salvador’s economy as the two nations try to battle poverty and stem the flow of illegal immigration across the U.S. border from Central America.

The funding would be part of a program by the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. embassy in El Salvador said in a statement.

“The new compact with El Salvador will spur investment through public private partnerships and better regulations, improve the quality of education and strengthen key logistical infrastructure,” the embassy said.

El Salvador’s government said it would also contribute $88.2 million to the program, which aims to use the funds to help develop coastal areas of the country.

Record numbers of unaccompanied minors from Central America have been detained in the United States this year, many of them from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

That has increased political pressure in the United States to tighten up the frontier and curb the immigration.

According to U.S. data, in the postwar era, El Salvador has been the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in Central America, which suffers from high rates of violence and poverty.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria and Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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