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The smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador has benefited from reforms that have diversified its economy and improved social conditions. However, roughly a third of its people live below the poverty line and crime remains a disincentive to investment. The technology sector is small and in its initial phases but growing.
Talent Pool & Education
A commitment to the digital transformation of the entire education system is one of the main lines of action outlined in the government’s Digital Agenda 2020-2030. Through an agreement with Google For Education, El Savlador aims to become the first country in the world with 100% of its students active in the Google Classroom platform. Kits delivered to high-school seniors also come with an English language course. Limited levels of connectivity infrastructure are also being tackled, with the expansion of a fiber-optic network.
Spanish is the official language and English is not widely spoken.
El Salvador was the fastest country in Central America to adopt strong containment measures against the outbreak of COVID-19 and remains among the least affected in the region, according to the World Bank, which predicts an economic rebound in 2021. To a large extent, its fortunes are tied to the US, as its primary trading partner and a main source of expatriate remittances, which account for 18% of GDP. In June, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt the cryptocurrency bitcoin as legal tender.
El Salvador has been described as “inching back toward its authoritarian past”, after President Nayib Bukele fired five Supreme Court justices and the attorney general. However approval ratings remain high for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, including the use of military and police to keep people off the streets. El Salvador has functioned as a democracy since the end of the civil war in 1992.