France and Guatemala
Our bilateral relations have deepened since 2013, with the successive visits to Guatemala by the French Ambassador for Human Rights in April of that year, the Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad from 16 to 20 May 2013, and the Guatemalan Ministers for the Economy and External Relations to Paris in September and November 2013.
France’s economic presence is small but developing: Trade increased by more than 46% in 2014 (from €111.2 million to €163 million in one year). French exports have increased 60% to €119 million; likewise, our imports have increased 20% (€44 million).
Some 30 French companies are established in Guatemala, as commercial subsidiaries in consumer goods, telecommunications, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and services. The Anglo-French company Perenco is the largest investor in Guatemala and the leading oil operator, producing 9500 barrels per day or 90% of national production.
The cooperation envelope is regionalized and projects are implemented from the French Institute in Central America (IFAC) based in Costa Rica. French cooperation is based on the cultural network (Alliances Françaises in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango and Antigua; the French Lycée Jules Verne in Guatemala City, with more than 900 students), while the regional office of the Centre for Mexican and Central American Studies (CEMCA) ensures coordination with the scientific and academic communities, in the area of social sciences and archaeology.
In partnership with FUNDAECO (Foundation for Ecodevelopment and Conservation), a Guatemalan NGO, since 2012 the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) has financed a socio-environmental project up to €1.5 million (42%). The project aims to involve local communities, as well as national and regional authorities and economic actors, in the management of protected areas.
Support for strengthening the rule of law and the defence of human rights is another key area of French cooperation. The French embassy regularly organizes or participates in actions for early childhood protection and for combating gender-based violence and human trafficking.