InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
Los Angeles, California

4:43 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  We have convened, as part of our ongoing conversation about what we are committed to do, together as partners to focus on the northern area of Central America in what I think is an extraordinary public-private partnership that is focused on a number of issues that are about empowerment of people in a region in which we live — the Western Hemisphere. 

And it is about doing what we know is possible to maximize the capacity of the people in that region — doing it in a way that really understands the power of ecosystems, of considering the issues holistically both in terms of the issues of the region, but the issues of the individuals that will be impacted.

And as I said earlier, we are motivated by many things that are about uplifting and empowering the people of the region, but also based on — on a premise, which is that most people really don’t want to leave home.  And when they do, it’s because they’re fleeing some harm or because there simply are not the opportunities at home to be able to satisfy their basic needs and the needs of their family. 

And so, the work that we are doing is motivated by creating opportunity then, investing in that region to allow opportunity for people to reach their capacity.

The way that we are approaching it, in terms of the work that we are doing with the call to action and our administration’s focus, is — is also with an understanding that government cannot do this work alone. 

And if we are to actually have impact in a way that is lasting — and that is about the work that we are doing, that is about depth, but also about longevity — to do that successfully, we must engage with the private sector and our friends who are leading in that sector to work with us, to think about how we will maximize our collective capacity in terms of our focus.

And our focus is, yes, about improving the economic condition of the individuals in that region, but it is also a focus that includes an understanding of the connection between that and prioritizing the need to combat corruption, the need to reduce violence, the need to empower women, the need to respect and uphold rule of law. 

So, these are some of the priorities for us in terms of our call to action and the work that we are doing together.  I particularly want to thank Ajay Banga for your leadership as a Chair; along with Blanca, who was in a previous meeting with me; and then Vice Chair Ray Chambers.

But we have 40 companies and organizations that are a part of this effort thus far — an effort that only began a year ago.  And as we announced earlier, we have seen the success already when we announced that, together, we have brought together $3.2 billion to focus on this region. 

And when we look at the data about the numbers, in terms of the size of the population and the — the benefit and the return on investment, we know that already we can have a great impact, much less because of the work that we will do as part of our commitment going forward. 

So, with that, I thank all the leaders who are here.  Ajay, I thank you, and I look forward to our discussion.  And I thank the press for — for joining this part of the discussion.  And I’ll see you later.

Okay.  Thank you. 

                        END                4:47 P.M. PDT

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