France and Guatemala
Our bilateral relations have increased 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.
The President of the Republic’s personal envoy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr Jean-Pierre Bel, made a visit to Guatemala from 6 to 8 April 2016, during which he was received by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Carlos Raúl Morales. He also met with the Head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Ivan Velásquez.
Guatemala is France’s third-largest trading partner in Central America, after Panama and Costa Rica. Our trade rose from €74.5 million in 2011 to €137.6 million in 2015 (+85 %), resulting in a positive balance of €19.5 million (largest regional surplus).
About 20 French companies are established in Guatemala, as commercial subsidiaries in consumer goods, telecommunications, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and services. The French-British company Perenco is the leading French investor in Guatemala and the country’s largest oil operator.
The cooperation budget is regionalized and projects are implemented at the Institut français 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 provided funding of €1.5 million to a socio-environmental project. 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.
Updated: 9 May 2016