SAN SALVADOR The United States granted El Salvador $98 million on Monday, as part of a plan to combat lawlessness and corruption and diminish the flow of migrants heading north.
The funds, which were approved by the U.S. Congress in 2015, will be used to prioritize security and development strategies in 50 impoverished areas of the Central American country, which is plagued by drug gangs.
The money will also be earmarked to strengthen government institutions such as the attorney general's office, which leads the country's fight against corruption, Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez told a news conference.
"These additional funds support the country in addressing the root causes of irregular migration, such as insecurity, lack of economic and educational opportunities, and family disintegration," said U.S. ambassador Jean Manes.
In 2016, El Salvador reported 5,278 homicides, or 81.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest murder rates in the world.
The "Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle" aims to boost economic growth in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and was drawn up after a wave of Central American migrants flocked to the southern U.S. border in 2014.
(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Sandra Maler)