France and El Salvador

Political relations

Our bilateral relations have been based on confidence and friendship since the end of the internal conflict. On 18 October 2012, the French Ambassador to El Salvador signed an instrument formalizing France’s status as an observer of the Central American Integration System (SICA). France thus became the eighth extraregional observer, alongside Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan.

France is also a member of the monitoring group for the peace agreements monitoring process set up by the Salvadoran government at the end of 2016, led by Benito Andión, the Special Envoy to Facilitate Dialogue in El Salvador appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This facilitation mission aims to set up constructive dialogue between the political, economic and social forces in the country.


The French President’s personal envoy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr Jean-Pierre Bel, made a visit to El Salvador on 5-6 April 2016, during which he was received by President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and the Minister of Foreign Relations. He also met with the SICA Secretary General.

Mr Bel also represented the President of the French Republic on 16 January 2017 at the ceremonies celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords.

A delegation from the French Senate’s France-Mexico and Central America friendship group visited El Salvador on 14-18 April 2016.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs met his Salvadoran counterpart, Mr Hugo Martínez, during his visit to France on 17-19 October 2016. Mr Martínez also chaired the Salvadoran delegation at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Paris in December 2016.

Economic relations

French trade with El Salvador is limited but France has recorded a surplus: in 2016, exports dropped slightly (€24.5 million, compared to €25.5 million in 2016), while French imports stagnated at around €14 million.

France’s economic presence was strengthened by contracts won in El Salvador by French companies, especially in the area of renewables.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Bilateral cooperation is mainly focused on promoting the French language, cultural exchanges and university education. It is supported by a dynamic network: the Consuelo et Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Lycée in San Salvador is the largest French language teaching establishment in Central America, with over 1,300 students, and its cultural and educational action extends beyond the school environment. The San Salvador Alliance Française (1,250 students) also provides training for French language teachers. Lastly, 230 Salvadoran students were studying in French higher education institutions in 2015.

As regards development, the most high-profile project is Techo y Agua, a rainwater collection project set up using the El Salvador debt conversion fund.

The French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) is contributing €1,100,000 to help finance La Montañona, a project on the sustainable management of productive landscapes, focusing on conservation agriculture, agroforestry, agro-sylvo-pastoral systems and forest protection. The project is being co-financed by the FFEM, the Salvadoran Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the association of communes of La Montañona and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).

Institut Français - Central America

Updated: Updated: 16 May 2017