How to Encourage Investment in Honduras

At the turn of the year, I put together a list of suggestions for encouraging investment in Honduras, for a special panel. Two suggestions made it into his inauguration speech.

#1. Teach good English skills to all students. It’s the de facto international language for business, for international air travel, for the most advanced medical and science publications, for technology, for diplomacy, you name it. Wider English skills would have made it more difficult for the lies about Honduras in 2009 to get such an unopposed audience despite some of our efforts.

India and Switzerland are two countries that have successfully maintained a multi-lingual culture, in which all its citizens are taught fluency in English and Hindi plus their own local dialect. There was a time this suggestion would have made me angry for its anglo arrogance. But it’s the real world, and Latins and Europeans all say this same thing.

#2. Technology in the schools. Computers, but not just computers. Raise the technology level of learning and this will attract companies that offer products of higher technology, and generally more margin.

#3. Study the Chilean experience and apply those methods that are applicable to Honduras. Salvador Allende condemned their economy to a shambles in just three years, and Honduras at this time is in a similar condition. There are influences that

#4. Encourage awards for schools and students that excel in their respective fields. Influential individuals in the press and media can provide a festive atmosphere for these awards, and help make academic excellence an exciting goal for the children of Honduras and especially their parents.

#5. Make national heroes of the people who defend Honduras in the streets. The head of the anti-narcotics efforts was recently gunned down. Make him a hero (which he was) and a martyr for the love of his fellow citizens (which he was). The people should get mad at such corrupt individuals. Not just to provoke action, but making a proper and decent use of the emotional force for good.

#6. Suggestion #5 is made with consideration for the broader goal of making the streets safer. Enforcement is the first order of business to accomplish this, absolutely minimum necessary.

#7. The long-term effort to encourage investment from both local sources and from abroad should also start immediately. Honduran culture needs a new neighborly ethic. My wife has met at least one investor who sat next to her on a flight from Tegucigalpa to Miami, Florida. He had gone intending to build a furniture factory, but was robbed on the way to the hotel. Instead of checking in, he immediately returned to Miami.

Recording artists and groups are just as creative in Honduras as elsewhere. There is absolutely no reason lyrics cannot encourage a learning and a moral ethic. I have been a missionary in other countries, and one effort we undertook was to put morals-building tapes of children’s music into centers of child care. The feedback from teachers and directors was always an improvement in the behavior of the children.

#8. Salvador Enrique Moncada is a scientist from Honduras. The daughter of a close friend said she planned to be a scientist like Moncada “because he married a princess”. Oh well.

#9. There are ways to agressively market the tourism market in Honduras, with the second largest coral reef in the world off shore and good infrastructure, beaches that are still clean. On a trip last week in Honduras my wife met an American who has a hotel in La Ceiba (and a “girlfriend”) and is delighted with the country, as great numbers of Americans and other foreigners are.

#10. Attitude. There is no independent reason to make excuses like saying it’s poor, or it’s backward, or it has corrupt politicians, or it has corrupt desk clerks, or this or that. Hondurans have a work ethic that would shame the Puritans, when they let it motivate them.

#11. Honduras should look for trading partners that know that free enterprise is the prosperity engine, and then freely trade with them.

#12. Free trade within the country as well.

#13. Encouragement of small business.

#14. Respect for the law and the constitution.

—Offered for discussion,
Thank you,


One Response to “How to Encourage Investment in Honduras”

  1. Dylan Says:

    1) Teach self sufficiency principles in all honduras’ schools, and through the jail and delinquent systems. These must include the following at minimum.

    a) Water well drilling theory and methods. People need clean water, and if they move into the country they will need to learn these skills in order to have the basis for happiness and health which will keep them satisfied.
    Almost all disease is waterborne, if you have clean water and sanitation you can have good health which is the basis for all development for one’s life. If one does not have good health, one can not develop and help anyone else, and one must need to be taken care of by someone else.

    b) “Forest Farming” and similar small scale alternative self sufficiency farming techniques for providing for themselves and their families and teach others similar methods.

    c) Natural Building Techniques and Theory. CEB and CSEB (Compressed Earth Block and Compressed Stabilized Earth Block) building. Rammed Earth. Natural Plasters. Modern building materials are expensive and need to be transported over long distances. New technologies such as compressed stabilized earth blocks do not need to be burned in an oven and can be used in similar ways to traditional bricks. People want and need their own homes and to be able to afford them. This building method can give people inspiration to move out of the useless chaos, poverty, bad health, etc. of the cities into the country and be able to have their own homes, feed themselves and the families they can sustain by staying healthy with their own source of clean water.

    Schools should be setup all over the country for all these and related skills. All stupid modern education and propaganda is just about useless compared to these skills in relation. Today NO ONE is taught any of these skills, so when boys grow up they feel enslaved by the modern system and are afraid to leave the cities because they don’t know anything about self sustainable skills. They become caught up in the filth and corruption and criminality and the cycle continues because that is all they know, no one taught them or gave them the skills needed for them to have confidence to leave the criminal lifestyle or the city life and be able to stay healthy and have their own home and not have to be enslaved by the modern systems.

    Other things can be added to the list of course but this is physical foundation.

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