A proposal by Central American businessmen to build a natural gas pipeline from Mexico to Panama will be presented during a weekend meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Central American presidents.

Nicaraguan businessman Jose Aguerri says the project would lower energy costs in the region and make its economies more competitive.

Aguerri said Tuesday that the idea was first proposed by Nicaraguan businessmen and has since gained support across Central America's private sector.

He says he hopes Obama will back the idea because the pipeline would make the region more self-sufficient.

After a two-day visit to Mexico, Obama will be in Costa Rica on Friday to meet with Central American presidents.