The Foundation for the Development of Guatemala (FUNDESA) is an independent, private-sector think tank whose mission is to help make a more prosperous Guatemala by creating greater business opportunities, improving the country’s human capital and strengthening its democratic institutions.

FUNDESA works with key public-sector and nongovernmental stakeholders to identify opportunities for economic growth, while also encouraging investment in essential services, such as education and health, as well as infrastructure to ensure that success benefits all members of society. 

For FUNDESA Executive Director Juan Carlos Zapata, the time is ripe to develop a win-win environment for the business community and Guatemalan society at large.

“Guatemala has the opportunity to generate 2.5 million new jobs in the next 10 years. At FUNDESA we are working with the government, civil society organizations and universities to create a more competitive country, which can attract FDI (foreign direct investment) and take advantage of the nearshoring opportunities that the region has to offer,” Zapata explains.

To this end, FUNDESA works to provide objective information, technical knowledge and insightful proposals for the economic and social development of Guatemala. The think tank seeks to identify and advance key projects that will result in long-term gain, and acts as an interlocutor with both national and international actors to promote innovation and the introduction of new approaches into the country.

The organization is committed to strengthening democratic institutions and preserving the rule of law as the ultimate guarantees that economic progress and greater employment opportunities will serve to reduce poverty.

One of FUNDESA’s key mechanisms for achieving its goals is its Local Competitiveness Index, a tool that enables a comparative evaluation of competitiveness in the country at a regional level. The 12 pillars evaluated range from infrastructure and institutions to financial institutions and capacity for innovation, with the overriding objective of pointing out investment opportunities capable of generating new jobs in the country. 

The next step is to foment the collaboration of local and national authorities with the common goal of guiding public policy toward evidence-based development planning.

Looking outward, FUNDESA offers its knowledge to foreign investors, putting them in touch with the right stakeholders to advance their ideas. “By working with different partners, we build on our local expertise to better serve our global investor base,” Zapata concludes.