Nicaragua is the second poorest country in
Latin America after Haiti. Agriculture is the basis of
the economy, although the industrial sector has grown in
recent years, as has tourism. Resources and income are
unevenly distributed and unemployment is high, but the
Sandini government has given micro-farmers microcredit
to improve their livelihoods. Nicaragua is dependent on
aid and suffers from large trade and budget deficits.
The economy was wrecked during the civil war in the
1980s, but has gradually recovered since the mid-1990s,
even though hurricanes Mitch 1998 and Felix 2007 caused
setbacks, as did the global financial crisis of 2009. In
recent years, the economy has been one of the fastest
growing in Central America and the Caribbean. However,
the unrest that erupted in April 2018 has hit the trade
hard and risks pushing growth.
Major imports by Nicaragua, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Nicaragua is dependent on aid and foreign loans.
Following a decision by the World Bank and the IMF in
2004, almost three quarters of the country's foreign
debt was written off. This was done within the framework
of HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries), a program for
high-indebted poor countries. However, the government
took out new loans, mainly from Venezuela and the IMF,
which built on the external debt again. In addition, the
state had already incurred domestic debts in the 1990s
after compensating landowners who had their properties
confiscated during the Sandinist regime in 1979-1990.
Since 1994, Nicaragua has implemented several
restructuring programs with privatizations of
state-owned enterprises, cuts in public spending and
reductions in customs fees to obtain loans from the IMF.
The first programs helped get the economy started. From
the end of the 1990s, the IMF also began to focus on
poverty reduction. The support through the international
credit institutions has become even more important for
Nicaragua since the US and the EU froze parts of its
assistance in 2009. This resulted in a financial loss of
about $ 120 million. The consequences of this were
mitigated by new IMF loans and by aid and loans from
Venezuela, including in the form of cheap oil.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including NIC which represents the country of Nicaragua.
The assistance from Venezuela was mediated through
the Alba cooperation organization and was not included
in the state budget. Following pressure from the IMF,
the Nicaraguan central bank reported in 2013 how large
sums it was.
An important contribution to the economy is the money
that Nicaraguan residents living abroad send home. Money
shipments are estimated to amount to close to 10 percent
of GDP in recent years.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 2,029 (2018)
US $ 13,118 million (2018)
-3.8 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
15.5 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
14.2 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
50.2 percent (2018)
5.6 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
37.2 percent (2018)
US $ 11,457 million (2017)
US $ 4,169 million (2018)
US $ 5,802 million (2018)
US $ 83 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
90 percent (2018)
Main export goods
coffee, meat, seafood, tobacco, sugar, gold
Largest trading partner
USA, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Honduras,
The power of the military is expanded
Laws are passed that increase the military's influence over the country's
government. Among other things, a national border commission and a new system
for monitoring and collecting information will be established. Both institutions
are subject to military control.
Adjacent to the International Court of Justice
Costa Rica appeals to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague
on complaints that Nicaragua has made military intrusion on Costa Rican
territory as the country began dredging in the area and started building at
least two channels to connect the San Juan River with the Caribbean Sea. Costa
Rica also opposes the dredging itself, for environmental reasons.
All land mines deployed in Nicaragua during the civil war of the 1980s have
now been removed, authorities say. This means that land areas that no one has
been allowed to enter for almost 30 years can start to be used again. Most of
the mines were on the borders of Honduras and Costa Rica.
One-time bonus for public employees
Ortega receives criticism from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as he
promises 120,000 public employees a bonus of the equivalent of $ 25 a month in
addition to his salary. The bonus will be funded with funds from the regional
trade cooperation Alba, which is led by Venezuela. The IMF warns that the bonus
will lead to increased inflation in the country and suspend its ongoing talks
with the Government of Nicaragua. By extension, the payment of loans to
Nicaragua is threatened.
HD judges refuse to resign
An emergency crisis breaks out when the regular term of office expires for
two judges in the Supreme Court who refuse to leave their posts with reference
to Ortega's decree in January. When the opposition wants to regain its seats in
the National Assembly to try to repeal the decree, they are obviously hindered
by government supporters blocking the parliament building.
Ortega extends office hours
The president issues a decree that indefinitely extends the tenure of a
number of politically appointed officials, such as judges in the Supreme Court,
the head of the electoral authority and the country's human rights ombudsman.
The President justifies this because he must ensure "institutional stability" as
the National Assembly cannot agree on the successors of the posts. The
opposition is protesting and initiating a boycott of the work of the National