Nicaragua's business is based on agriculture and
industry, primarily small-scale manufacturing. During the
1980s, the country's business was paralyzed as a result of
the civil war. After 1990, a great deal has been
restructured; significant parts have been transferred from
state to private ownership. Despite this, a large part of
the country's income comes from international aid and in the
form of money that guest workers in the US send home. In
2004, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
decided to write off 75 percent of Nicaragua's foreign debt
within the framework of the HIPC initiative. This was 60 per
cent of GDP at the time, and the country's economic outlook
was very poor at that time.
countryaah, the country's economy has subsequently improved, but the
importance of international lending institutions for the
country's economic stability has continued. Nicaragua has
also for a long time received financial and material support
from the US, EU, Venezuela and Cuba, but in 2009 the US and
EU froze much of its aid after alleged election fraud in the
Nicaraguan municipal elections in 2008.
The country's GDP has grown by an average of 4 percent
per year during the 1990s.
Nicaragua has for a long time had a high unemployment
rate. In addition to this, the country also has a large
informal sector; half of Managua's economically active
population is found within this.
Agriculture and fishing
The uneven distribution of land in Nicaragua, as in
several other Latin American countries, has been the root
cause of wars and conflicts. After the 1979 revolution,
former large estates were nationalized, but the state farms
produced poor results and the government instead invested in
cooperatives and small farmers. Since the end of the war in
1990, ownership in Nicaragua's countryside is often unclear,
and the same land may have three different owners at the
same time: the cooperatives of the 1980s, large landlords
who returned from exile and former soldiers who were
allotted land at the disarmament. Violence and murder have
often been used to resolve conflicts around land ownership.
Although Nicaragua has a good soil and a good climate,
agriculture does not meet the needs of the home, and
agricultural production has declined since the 1970s. Large
areas are used for the export products coffee, sugar and
bananas and as a pasture for steak cows. For house needs,
corn, rice, sorghum, beans, vegetables and fruits are grown.
Nicaragua has large fish and shellfish populations off
the long coasts. Fishing for shrimp and lobster is
increasing but is still modest. Export revenues from fishing
The use of forests was strong during the 1950s and 1960s,
when American companies mainly exploited the Atlantic coast.
Since then the withdrawal has decreased, but in the northern
Atlantic coast there is the world's largest stock of
Caribbean pine, which is widely exported. Illegal logging
and exporting has been a major problem for periods.
Minerals and energy
Nicaragua's mineral resources mainly consist of gold and
silver. The Talaver mine was opened in the early 1980s with
Wood is the most widely used energy source. Nicaragua
imports electricity from neighboring Costa Rica. Several
large hydropower plants have been planned, but hydropower's
contribution to energy production is modest; In 2010, water
energy accounted for about 10 percent of electricity
generation and geothermal heat for 5 percent.
In recent years, growth in Nicaragua's industry has been
mainly in the tax-exempt economic zones. There have emerged
a large number of assembly plants, called maquilas, which
produce for the American and European markets. The majority
of these factories are foreign-owned, mainly by Asian
companies, and they mainly produce shoes, clothing and
This type of production is sensitive to the fluctuations
of the world market, and during the global financial crisis
of 2008–09, many factories had to close.
Nicaragua's traditional industry is little developed. It
produces tobacco, cement, sugar, beer, ice cream, chemical
products and simpler consumer goods for the domestic market.
The craft industry is concentrated around Masaya.
Nicaragua has for a long time had a deficit in its trade
balance. The largest export revenue comes from coffee, meat,
seafood, sugar and bananas.
Imports of consumer goods exceed total exports. Imports,
which are mainly paid for with aid money, consist mostly of
machinery, oil and food. Nicaragua primarily exports to the
United States, El Salvador and Venezuela, while the country
imports from the United States, Venezuela and Mexico.
Tourism and gastronomy
Tourism was severely hampered by the long civil war.
However, from the late 1980s, governments have taken the
initiative to develop the industry by promoting hotel
construction and ecotourism. In the late 00s, tourism grew
rapidly and developed into one of the country's most
important industries. In 2012, the country was visited by
1.2 million tourists.
Nicaragua attracts with a beautiful and exciting volcanic
landscape in the west as well as extensive rainforests in
the east. In the Caribbean off the Bluefields on the
Mosquito Coast are the Maíz Islands with great opportunities
for swimming and fishing. Also on the Pacific coast there
are conditions for bathing tourism, for example at the
beaches west of Managua and in San Juan del Sur further
south. The tourist stream is also looking for the big
cities, especially the old colonial cities of Leon and
Maize and vegetables play the main role in Nicaraguan
cuisine, which removes strong influences from Colombia in
the south, including in the form of meat and vegetable
stews. Chayote, a cucumber plant with fairly tasteless but
saturating meat, was grown by both Aztecs and Mayan Indians
and is included as the main ingredient in, among other
things, the sopa de chayote, often extruded with
chicken meat. Bananas and flour bananas in puddings, breads
and pots are often found. Nacatamales is heavily
seasoned chopped meat that is wrapped in banana leaves and
then steamed. Fish soups with potatoes and beans or coconut
fish pots are common.