Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 12, 2012

Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas links Western Hemisphere countries committed to democracy and open markets in an initiative to promote inclusive growth, prosperity, and social justice.

Current Pathways countries are Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States. Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago have observer status. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are strategic Pathways partners.

On October 5, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in the fourth Pathways Ministerial in the Dominican Republic. The Government of Colombia plans to host the next Pathways Ministerial meeting in Cali in October 2012, in conjunction with the Americas Competitiveness Forum. Ministers will review the progress of the initiative’s pillars and activities and discuss ways to increase the initiative’s impact.

Partnering to Expand Opportunities

Pathways is a policy-level dialogue through which countries learn from one another’s experiences and collaborate to spread the benefits of economic growth more broadly to all of our citizens. Pathways countries recognize that the gains from trade and economic growth have not always been equitably shared and that the promise of economic and social opportunity remains elusive for too many people in this hemisphere. Pathways seeks to close this gap by encouraging public policies and public-private partnerships to empower small farmers, small businesses, women, indigenous communities, Afro-descendants, youth, and vulnerable groups to participate effectively in the global economy. Through shared leadership, Pathways partner countries are committed to deepening cooperation on the following four pillars:

  1. Empowering small businesses by building an enabling environment for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
  2. Facilitating trade by improving the systems, regulation, and infrastructure small firms need to trade more competitively across borders;
  3. Building a modern workforce by supporting labor rights and emphasizing key requirements of education, training, and entrepreneurship; and
  4. Developing responsible and sustainable business practices by improving environmental practices, protections, and cooperation.

Pathways Activities

Pathways events highlight best practices to expand economic opportunities and encourage effective implementation. Countries chairing Pathways pillar committees organize activities throughout the year that advance the Ministerial Action Plan. Uruguay, as the chair country of Pillar III, hosted a Digital Opportunities Conference in September 2011 with support from the United States government and ECLAC. The conference convened Pathways partners, technology experts, and civil society leaders from around the Americas to share best practices, build relationships, and raise digital literacy to expand educational opportunities and build a modern workforce by promoting access to information and communication technologies.

In 2011, Peru and the United States, co-chairs of Pillar IV, hosted workshops on policies and mechanisms for the conservation of biodiversity in the context of trade and sustainable development, and on public participation in the management of protected areas in high-conflict zones. Honduras’ Pillar I event in 2012 will focus on financial inclusion. As co-chairs of the trade facilitation pillar, Costa Rica and Chile are working on a customs-related event later this year, and Peru plans to host an environmental workshop with the United States.

ECLAC, a key institutional partner, compiled and published a new book on Pathways best practices that illustrates how sound, evidence-based government policies and public-private partnerships contribute to building prosperity for all sectors of society. The volume identifies country-level policies and projects, as well as regional programs the United States and its partners can build on under the Pathways initiative.

To make concrete progress toward Pathways goals, U.S. government agencies will provide $20 million this year for technical assistance in priority areas such as small business development, financial inclusion, infrastructure financing, women entrepreneurs, greening the supply chain, and improving environmental practices, including:

  • The United States Government will contribute $5 million to a new Inter-American Development Bank-managed “Crossroads” fund that supports regional infrastructure projects reduce transport and trade cost to promote business development.
  • U.S. Department of Treasury regional advisors will assist Central America and the Dominican Republic in financing infrastructure through public-private partnerships and accelerating policies that promote greater financial inclusion.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Honduras become a leader in secured transactions reform in Latin America and the Caribbean which will expand credit to small and medium enterprise by allowing collateralized borrowing.
  • In February 2011, the United States launched the Pathways Access Initiative in Peru to connect U.S. businesses with women-owned businesses.
  • The U.S. Department of State is working with Higher Education for Development and the World Environment Center to support the initiative, Pathways to Cleaner Production, launched in 2011. Under this initiative, Illinois Institute of Technology will lead a partnership with universities and National Cleaner Production Centers in Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Peru to enhance academic training and curricula in cleaner production and sustainable industrial development, and improve environmental performance and productivity of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
  • The Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are working through programs in Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica to improve and modernize border management around customs issues to ease the flow of goods and services as well as to increase hemispheric competitiveness.