Following­ the eruption of violence in 2018, Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has seen its economic progress stagnate and its domestic life falter. The additional unrest is making Nicaraguans more vulnerable to violence and instability. While Nicaragua’s overall crime rate is low, certain areas, like the rape of minors and political violence, are high. These 10 facts about violence in Nicaragua provide a glimpse after one year of conflict.

10 Facts About Violence in Nicaragua

  1. Political violence occurred in 2018 in response to the government’s social security reforms. Protests occurred between April and July, and the government responded brutally. More than 300 people were killed and hundreds detained during three-month anti-government protests where citizens demanded that President Daniel Ortega — who has been in power since 2007 — step down. In the subsequent six months, the government arrested and jailed opposition leaders and those who challenged his authority, his human rights abuses, his consolidation of power and his low 10 percent approval rating.
  2. Sixty thousand Nicaraguans have sought asylum from the violence in Costa Rica. In July 2018, Costa Rica alone received about 200 requests by Nicaraguans for asylum per day. The U.N. is seeking to support countries who take Nicaraguan refugees.
  3. Violence between protesters and government-sponsored paramilitary groups disrupts access to resources. Roadblocks appear without apparent reason, mostly around cities, and limit the availability of food and fuel.
  4. Civil unrest continues unpredictably. Although protests are forbidden, they occur and government forces respond with violence. The poor infrastructure in parts of the country limits the potential of international assistance.
  5. Access to healthcare is limited due to the unrest. Government hospitals are understaffed and frequently deny treatment to suspected protestors. Ambulances are unreliable, denying treatment or not visiting certain areas.
  6. Sexual assault, especially against girls, is common. More than two-thirds of the 14,000 rapes reported between 1998 and 2008 were committed against girls under the age of 17, and nearly half of them were under the age of 14. More recent statistics during Ortega’s presidency are unavailable, but anecdotal reports suggest that gender-based violence is widespread. A stigma follows survivors of rape, but not perpetrators. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has expressed grave concern.
  7. Domestic violence against women is controversial in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Constitution contains both protections against and provisions for violence against women under certain circumstances, like marriage. Legal dialogue has fluctuated through the 2010s. In 2012, in response to high levels of femicide and little legal response, a women’s rights group pushed through Ley Integral Contra La Violencia Hacia Las Mujeres (Law 779) expanding the legal definition of violence against women, establishing specially-trained prosecutors to hear gender-based violence cases and further protect victims. Since then, 779 has been systematically weakened by a series of legislative and presidential decrees. Local conservative legislators and religious leaders see 779 as potentially destructive to families if women could seek reprisal for domestic violence. Although rape is illegal, domestic/intimate violence, child-marriage and dating violence is still high.
  8. Violence is hurting Nicaragua’s economic growth. Between 2014 and 2016, poverty in Nicaragua decreased from 29.6 to 24.9 percent and extreme poverty from 8.3 to 6.9 percent. But due to the social and political unrest since April 2018, the economy contracted in 2018 by 3.8 percent. The World Bank supported Nicaragua through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, to support poverty reduction measures in the country.
  9. Violent street crime is spotty, but regional, and is greater in urban areas after dark. Street crime is more prevalent in Managua, Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, El Transito and the Corn Islands.
  10. The homicide rate is low and falling. The homicide rate held steady with 15 in 100,000 people 2014-16, but it fell to 6 in 100,000 in 2018—far lower than comparable economies. Men commit homicide six times more frequently than women and people ages 15-26 are the most likely to commit homicides.

Heather Hughes
Photo: U.N.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Nicaragua
Nicaragua faces mounting violence and instability as citizens go out to the streets to protest the corrupt rule of President Daniel Ortega. During times of chaos, it is important to understand what conditions for citizens have been like in previous years. The following 10 facts about living conditions in Nicaragua presented in the text below both describe the unsettling state of affairs in the country and provide evidence of hope for a brighter future.  

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Nicaragua

  1. Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, right after Haiti. Although the country’s economy has been growing in recent years, the fact about poverty still remains true and emphasizes the fact that there is a lot of work to be done.
  2. The unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15 and 24 is 8.5 percent. The country has the 110th highest unemployment rate out of 161 countries. Thus, Nicaragua does relatively well in terms of ensuring employment for its citizens.
  3. In 2015, 29.6 percent of the population was living below the poverty line. This number is quite high and suggests a dire need for economic growth.
  4. In 2016, 23.7 percent of the adult population was obese. This marked Nicaragua as the country with the 63rd highest adult obesity rate out of 192 countries. With development, it is important that the country initiate programs that provide its people with proper nutrition.
  5. In 2016, the life expectancy at birth for an average male was 72 years and for an average female, it was 78 years. Among the ten facts about living conditions in Nicaragua, this one is generally the most promising one as it indicates the relative general health of the population.
  6. In 2016, the infant mortality rate was 17 deaths for every 1,000 life births. In 2015, the United States faced just under 6 infant deaths for every 1,000 life births. This suggests that maternal and infant care in Nicaragua needs improvement.
  7. The labor force participation rate in 2017 was 66.6 percent. The rate of self-employment was 45.1 percent. This rate of participation is pretty much average for developing countries although low in comparison with developed countries.
  8. If literacy is defined as the ability to read and write, then 82.8 percent of people aged 15 years and older in 2015 were literate. Over 83 percent of women and 82.4 men were literate. This was the 106th highest literacy rate of 162 countries.
  9. In 2018, the approximate yearly minimum wage in Nicaragua was $2,218. This places the country in the top 37 percent of countries that are ranked by the minimum wage. There are 72 countries with higher minimum wage than Nicaragua.
  10. Between January and December of 2017, there were 55 reported cases of gender-based killing of women. In June 2017, an amendment to the Comprehensive Law on Violence against Women was approved. It reduced the definition of femicide to the private sphere suggesting that only crimes between spouses and partners would count as femicide.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Nicaragua provide a mixed account of the status of the country. Nicaragua is developing and it cannot be, in any case, characterized as a stable country. Recent progress, however, indicates that the country could have the potential to develop and attain stability. Late violent outbursts linked to government corruption thwart such hopes for progress and the current priority for the Nicaraguan people should be finding peace and justice through dark times. It is important to remember the progress that Nicaragua has made, and can continue to make after such peace is settled.

– Julia Bloechl

Photo: Flickr

NicaraguaNicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America and has the lowest GDP per capita. The country’s economy has grown in recent years, but 40 percent of the population remains in poverty. As a result, hunger in Nicaragua is a major problem. Here are the top 10 facts about hunger in Nicaragua.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Nicaragua

  1. Of children under five in Nicaragua, 17 percent are chronically malnourished. A lack of access to consistent, quality food leads to issues like stunting in children. In order to counter these results, children need to live in homes without food insecurity so they can grow and live to their full potential.
  2. Rates of malnourishment are higher in rural areas of Nicaragua. In some regions, the amount of chronically undernourished children can reach up to 29 percent. These areas are typically more affected by poverty and have limited access to food supplies beyond through agricultural means.
  3. Stunting and below-average height in children under three in Nicaragua are higher than the national average. Issues like stunting are impossible to avoid in a country with high rates of food insecurity; Nicaragua is one of many low-income countries whose children suffer from undernourishment and stunting.
  4. Hunger in Nicaragua is influenced by the country’s geographic location. Nicaragua is susceptible to unpredictable natural disasters like droughts, floods and earthquakes that limit agricultural production. Without a reliable source of food, Nicaraguans are more prone to food insecurity.
  5. Around 70 percent of the population works in agriculture. Since farming is so reliant on weather patterns, people can often be stripped of their means to live instantly by a natural disaster. The country’s dependence on agriculture combined with its erratic weather leads to higher rates of poverty and hunger.
  6. The World Food Program (WFP) has worked in Nicaragua since 1971. The WFP tries to end the cycle of hunger by promoting health and education programs. They aim to create resilience among families that are living with poverty and hunger.
  7. Around 300,000 people in Nicaragua need food assistance. With many people’s livelihoods tied to the unpredictability of the weather, there are a significant number in need of help. Nonprofits like the WFP provide critical relief to the people most in need.
  8. Nicaragua ranks fourth on the Long-Term World Climate Risk Index. This Index is a ranking of countries that are the most vulnerable to climate events based on geographic location and socio-economic information. Nicaragua ranks behind Honduras, Haiti and Myanmar — two of which are located in the same unstable region in Central America.  
  9. Sustainable development is key to fighting hunger in Nicaragua. The WFP works to connect farmers with markets to sell their products, and expands farmers’ production capacity and in turn, their incomes.
  10. The Nicaraguan government uses a School Feeding Program to fight undernourishment in children. Providing school meals massively helps hunger in children, but there are still many children not attending school that are unreached. Programs like this are essential in fighting malnourishment in Nicaragua.

Fight Against Hunger

These top 10 facts about hunger in Nicaragua underscore the need for more sustainable agricultural practices. Thankfully, organizations like the WFP are active and can join the fight against hunger.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

feminist movement in NicaraguaNicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has been the source of recent uprisings, protests and a nationwide mobilization. Recurrent mishandlings of serious social, environmental and equality issues are causing national unrest that is far from over. The protests are ultimately trying to strike the Ortega administration out of the game. The public has no intention of settling for corruption, oppression and gender inequality. A great part of this movement is the renewed vigor in the feminist movement in Nicaragua.

The History of the Feminist Movement in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is no stranger to the feminist movement. The women’s movement for equality was actually birthed during the overthrow of the repressive Somoza dictatorship. The percentage of women involved in the coup reached a record high. The 60s and 70s gave women the chance to separate themselves from their traditional roles and participate in the struggle of war instead; it brought a revolutionary consciousness to the reality of numerous gender inequalities.

The country is currently pushing for equal rights via an end to gender-based violence and oppression. Women’s equality accounts for fair wages, respect and better opportunities in both education and careers, which are all crucial factors for lifting people out of poverty.

The New Womens’ Movements

Vital to the success of the revolution, women have since materialized the feminist movement in Nicaragua into a national network of feminine support encompassing any and all socio-economic, ethnic and political backgrounds.

A direct response to shifting public policy, The Working and Unemployed Women’s Movement or Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC), was founded in 1994. This independent organization strives to not only defend the human, labor and gender rights of Nicaraguan women but also to help women assert and take advantage of these rights, especially within the legal arena.

MEC brings public awareness about both domestic violence and reproductive health, which are two serious living conditions that can negatively exacerbate the cycle of poverty. The unemployed are given job training and their advocates push political policy that supports economic independence, self-employment and self-management.

A Modern Day Push

It is not uncommon for Latin American countries to revolve around highly macho and patriarchal societies. High school degrees and the pursuit of higher university education are rare in rural communities, and women often drop their studies as a result of pregnancy. Working as a street vendor to provide income for the family is not uncommon; however, even more problematic is the tragedy of families selling off their children into the sex trafficking business due to extreme poverty.

A group by the name Grupo de Mujeres Xitlali was established in 2011 to help relieve these devastating living conditions and empower girls and women of Nicaragua to take hold of their own lives. The organization helps the oppressed women to regain power over their bodies and personal development as well as grow in a space of equality where their rights are actively defended and encouraged.

Similarly, Casa Alianza Nicaragua (CAN) provides great relief to the devastation of global sex trafficking. Opened in 1998 in the capital city of Managua, Casa Alianza provides centers and programs for homeless women and children in need of aid. One of their greatest visions is to provide empowerment to the victims of heinous trafficking and violence through vocational training, family education, housing as well as gender awareness and sexual diversity awareness projects.

One by one and step by step, advocates are building women back up and encouraging them to stand up and stand out. Via essential education, job training and empowerment, women are now getting the attention, awareness, recognition and care that they deserve. Despite a grueling journey under the Ortega administration, the fight continues to be fought.

– Mary Grace Miller
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in NicaraguaIn recent weeks, the previously peaceful country of Nicaragua has been rocked as social protests have been combated with violent repression. At the end of April, citizens of Nicaragua took to the streets after President Daniel Ortega proposed cutting pensions and social security. Since then, Ortega has abandoned these plans, but Nicaraguans are now protesting and calling for his resignation. The government has responded violently to these anti-government protests, and an estimated 200 people have been killed; although, many have reported that this is a low estimate.

Despite this blatant disregard for human rights, the government’s violent response to these protests has received limited news coverage. It is for this reason that the work of human rights activists and defenders highlighted below is more important than ever. The first two organizations defend human rights as researchers and activists, and the last two organizations are working to provide basic human rights such as shelter, food and clothing. Each organization is protecting human rights in Nicaragua in different but equally important ways.

Amnesty International

This well-known organization is similar to The Borgen Project due to its focus on advocacy, campaigning and action. Amnesty International fights human rights abuse around the globe and campaigns for a world where everyone has human rights. One of the ways they help countries like Nicaragua is through researching and reporting on human rights abuses.

Throughout the current conflicts in Nicaragua, Amnesty International has both reported on the issues and called on countries and governments around the world to do more. At the end of May, the organization released a report on Nicaragua that explains the repressive strategies being used on protesters, which was used as a reference by larger news sources reporting on the country. Throughout the month of June, the organization continued to release news stories on the violence in the country and called for international leaders and organizations to not turn their backs on the Nicaraguan people. The spotlight and voice they are providing for victims of violence have been one of the ways they have fought to protect human rights in Nicaragua.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Started in 1959, the IACHR is an independent body in service of The Organization of American States whose goal is to improve human rights in the American hemisphere through promotion and protection. It also operates with The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, or “The Court,” under a charter that calls for the full respect of human rights.

This organization plans to set up a Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit (SACROI in Spanish) in order to focus attention on human rights in Nicaragua. By the end of May, the Commission had sent groups to four locations in Nicaragua. The purpose of these trips was to observe the human rights situation after the violence that happened in April, to document these events and to create recommendations for the current state of the country. The groups visited State facilities, hospitals, detention centers and healthcare facilities and produced a lengthy report of their findings.

The findings show that police violence, unlawful detentions and limiting access to medical care have been used to keep people from demonstrating. According to this report, as of June 19, 212 people had been murdered and 1,337 people injured. The report argues that the government’s repressive reaction to demonstrations has created a serious human rights crisis. Their findings were presented to the OAS and have shown how important it is to protect the Nicaraguan people.

Nicaragua Nonprofit Network (NNN)

The NNN is different than other nonprofits in Nicaragua because it’s mission is to bring development together by providing a common platform for all nonprofits in the country. Volunteers and organizations are able to share resources, knowledge, accomplishments and experiences with others to improve efficiency and development. Basically, it is a way for the people working for basic human rights in Nicaragua to work together to share what has worked and what hasn’t in order to have a bigger impact on the country.

Their technologies and strategies are extensive making the organization more effective. They include comprehensive profiles of nonprofits, search tools, like maps and databases, allow one to search for nonprofits in certain areas and what they do, forums for members, news and reporting, custom Google Map tools, event calendars and staff/volunteer listings. Currently, the NNN is made up of 152 organizations spread across the country who are using this platform to work together with other nonprofits.

Other than networking nonprofits together, the NNN has had an active Twitter feed throughout the protests in Nicaragua. They share updates and news stories about these human rights abuses and have acted as social media activists.

CARE

CARE is a nonprofit that protects the basic human rights of people all around the world in areas such as gender equality, social justice and fighting poverty.

In 1990, CARE started clean water, preventative health, and sanitation programs and is working to establish sustainable agriculture in rural areas. Through these programs, CARE has touched over 300,000 lives in Central America and provided food security to many families. Other areas of focus in Nicaragua include ending child poverty, improving girls’ education, youth empowerment and maternal health.

Each of these organizations is protecting human rights in Nicaragua in equally important yet different ways. As the Nicaraguan government continues to abuse its people, these organizations are working for good and will continue supporting human rights.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

Hope for Girls’ Education in NicaraguaNicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. Its alarming levels of poverty have had a detrimental effect on the quality of education in the country, disproportionately affecting children in rural areas. While the completion rate of primary education has experienced an upward trend in recent years, the issue of education in Nicaragua demands further attention. Specifically, girls’ education in Nicaragua faces unique challenges and requires sustained action and support.

Access to Education

Access to education only slightly differs between young male and female children. This makes the education system of Nicaragua look quite good in terms of gender equality, yet that is only because the access to education lacks overall for both genders.

Nicaragua is ranked 12 out of 145 countries in gender gap index with a score of 0.776 out of 1.00, which would represent no inequality. Despite being ranked so high, the education system is still lacking due to how many children, male and female, are not in school. The enrollment of male and females in primary, secondary and tertiary education are fairly equal.

It is difficult for these children, specifically girls, to receive an education because of the poverty in their country. The families of these children start to heavily rely on them for economic support by the time they reach the age of 10. These children are frequently forced to drop out of school before the fifth grade to help support their families economically.

Creating New Priorities

Females are often relied on to do domestic work, such as take care of their siblings and other chores within the household while their mothers work. Girls’ education in Nicaragua becomes second priority to their domestic duties.

In 2010 1,046 females were out of school, compared to the 10,868 male children that were not. Unfortunately, as these children grow older it becomes increasingly difficult for them to remain in school. For 2010 adolescents, there were 25,747 males out of school, and 18,861 females out of school. This shows there is not a large disparity between boys and girls suffering in education, but yet males are expected to go out into the workforce if they leave school while females are not.

Overcoming Obstacles For a Bright Future

Overall, females face greater challenges in accessing education than their male counterparts. Females in Nicaragua face strict gender norms and religious beliefs that are deeply rooted in their society. They face adolescent pregnancy which is a great indicator of dropping out of school at an early age. These females also feel pressured to help their families with domestic responsibilities for no pay because of the way women are viewed in their society. All these factors lead to a significant struggle in females overcoming hurdles and receiving an education in Nicaragua.

Although there is more work to be done, girls’ education in Nicaragua has improved greatly over the past few decades. Sixty-nine percent of females completed primary education in 2000, and that figure is projected to reach 91 percent by the year 2020. The completion of secondary education by females in 2000 was 49 percent and is estimated to reach 70 percent by the year 2020. These gains demonstrate hope for the future of girls’ education in Nicaragua.

– Ronni Winter
Photo: Flickr

Economic Growth in Nicaragua Has Helped Reduce PovertyThe amount of economic growth in Nicaragua is an unusual and unprecedented phenomenon in the Central American peninsula. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) even decided to close its offices in the country in 2016 as it considered the issue well resolved. IMF first opened an office in Nicaragua in 1995 with the goal of economically stabilizing the country, which had been afflicted by years and years of high debt accumulation and revolutionary wars.

“Notwithstanding challenging external conditions, economic activity remains buoyant,said Gerardo Peraza, head of the study that IMF led in 2016. The study also revealed how economic growth was projected at 4.7 percent that year. The main factors that contributed to such economic growth in Nicaragua were, according to the study, steady agricultural and commercial activity and an inflation rate that is projected to accommodate under four percent.

Where Did the Economic Growth Originate?

Experts argue that such improvements in economic growth in Nicaragua are largely attributable to the re-election of President Daniel Ortega. Many argue that his political identity and approach to crucial matters such as macroeconomy and anti-poverty measures have significantly shifted toward a more pro-business attitude.

Moreover, experts say that thanks to Ortega’s social programs, poverty fell by 30 percent between 2005 and 2014. Moreover, in 2011, Nicaragua was taken out of a debt relief program enacted by IMF in 2005, called Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

The Benefits of Economic Growth in Nicaragua

A study issued by the World Bank has also found that in 2011, economic growth hit 5.1 percent, slowing to 4.7 and 4.5 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. For 2018, predictions see the Nicaraguan economy growing at 4.4 percent, making it the second largest among Central American countries in terms of growth. The country’s overall stability led decision makers to focus on long-term improvement and growth rather than just damage control, with the war on poverty the highest objective, particularly in rural areas.

Such economic improvement also restored the international community’s trust in Nicaragua. It is thanks to this renewed trust that, for instance, the USDA awarded a McGovern-Dole Food for Education grant to the organization Food For The Poor in Nicaragua. The grant was distributed as a three-year program, from the fall of 2011 to the fall of 2014.

During this period, more than 4,500 metric tons of food were delivered to the poorest communities of the Central American country. The majority of the recipients were children. Students of  774 schools, located primarily in Managua, Nueva Segovia and Madriz, greatly benefitted from the program.

Looking Toward the Future

The mission, however, is far from being fully accomplished. A statement issued by the U.S. Department of State reveals that Nicaragua still has the lowest level of GDP per capita in Central America and, most importantly, 40 percent of the population still lives in poverty. The situation gets even worse in rural areas, where the rate of poverty reaches nearly 60 percent.

The hope is that the path of economic growth and fiscal responsibility, paired with social programs and foreign aid initiatives, will keep Nicaragua on a path of prosperity and heavily reduced poverty.

– Luca Di Fabio

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in NicaraguaAs the largest country in the Central American isthmus, Nicaragua has also struggled for decades as the poorest country in the Americas. After suffering hereditary military dictatorship by the Somoza family that unevenly distributed the already meager national wealth, the country has taken steps to redistribute wealth as a democratic republic. However, 48 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line, with 79.9 percent surviving on $2 a day. Credit access in Nicaragua is deemed one way to a better economic future.

Need for Strong Credit 

Currently, agriculture and tourism are the largest industrial sources in Nicaragua. Agriculture makes up about 60 percent of its total annual exports with crops such as coffee and tobacco. While the stability of these industries helps with economic growth, one of the most important aspects of economic autonomy is improved credit access in Nicaragua. A stable financial system contributes to a country’s growth, and an inadequate credit system weakens it.

The civil war of the 1970s and hyperinflation in the 1980s severely hampered credit access in Nicaragua and the development of credit unions. For farmers, the civil war and land reform caused uncertainty regarding property rights in the legal system and many poor farmers cannot use property titles to support loans.

Purchase for Progress

These are the reasons why the World Food Program set up the Purchase for Progress (P4P) program. With this program farmers can receive higher loans than those offered by banks. Since 2008, P4P has set up a revolving fund of over $400,000 with interests considerably lower than private bank rates. Through this program, it’s much easier for farmers to make a profit with better inputs and higher yields.

Microcredit

The previously mentioned program also highlights a significant style of credit access in Nicaragua: microcredit. The microcredit movement which focuses on small loans and access for those who do not have much to support loans, like farmers, began in the 1990s. The Winds for Peace Foundation (WPF) is another organization that provides a framework for increased access to credit for small-scale farmers through its Local Development Fund, which was founded under NITLAPAN, a research institute in Nicaragua.

Originally, WPF invested in multinational microcredit groups that provided capital and low-rate loans across Central American countries. Soon after it began to support Nicaraguan groups because of their reach into the agricultural sector. By placing the support in Nicaraguans, this program allows for both credit access and for a Nicaraguan institute to autonomously control the path of money and support.

World Bank Improvements

In 2008 the World Bank enacted a plan to provide more financial services and credit across Nicaragua. Through technical support, the World Bank focused on major needs such as

  • improvement of regulations for microlenders;
  • reduction of commercial risks for state-supported banks;
  • and enhanced support services for microlenders.

Through these actions, the World Bank was able to expand the number of deposit and loan accounts in a four-year period by 68 percent.

By developing more stable forms of credit, these programs have created a more stable Nicaragua. For a small farmer with little to his or her name, credit access, even in microcredit form, allows for more stability and more consistency. Through credit access, Nicaragua will gradually diminish its poverty.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

 NicaraguaAmong the many ongoing development projects in Nicaragua, one company’s $50 billion idea may be the economic launch it needs to defeat the nation’s poverty. Despite the country’s growing economy, it is still one of the poorest countries in Central America. Currently, 29.6 percent of Nicaraguans are living in poverty and 8.3 percent are living in extreme poverty.

Nicaragua’s economic standing is predicted to shift positively with the development of certain infrastructure throughout the country. This includes building the Nicaragua Grand Canal, a free trade zone, two ports, an international airport and hotels with connecting roads.

Wang Jing, a Chinese business tycoon, proposed this project in June 2013. Following his project proposal, he created the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Incorporated (HKND) and invested $200 million of his own.

Development projects in Nicaragua are still in progress and have many significant advantages that will help the Nicaraguan economy blossom.

The Canal

While an interoceanic canal through Central America already exists, the Nicaragua Grand Canal will bring additional opportunities for trade throughout the Western Hemisphere. The canal is estimated to be 178 miles long and 30 meters deep, which will accommodate larger ships.

Over twice as deep, and three times as long, a canal of this size would be significantly larger than the Panama Canal. Accommodating larger ships through this canal will be a large incentive for several global companies to use it.

Free Trade Zone

The proposed Free Trade Zone development project in Nicaragua benefits everyone with tariff-free trade. It also provides the opportunity to avoid customs and have full control of product movement. With fewer regulations, producers and consumers can get products faster and at a better price.

In comparison to Bonded Warehouses, consumers and producers benefit from a Free Trade Zone. In addition to the canal benefits, this Free Trade Zone will encourage businesses around the world to utilize the new developments.

The Ports

The development of a seaport would boost the economy by creating jobs for Nicaraguan citizens. With the creation of two ports, the country would benefit financially from imports and exports. As a result of the opportunities that these ports would create, poverty levels would decrease. Nicaragua would also become a major contender in international trading.

Building an International Airport

An international airport would open more opportunities for travel. This development project in Nicaragua is crucial because it will encourage tourists, businesses, journalists and world leaders to visit more frequently than before, simply out of convenience.

It is also a means of product movement. Airports create several jobs from janitorial and stock, to managing and piloting. The nation would see significant economic change because of its development.

Hotel and Highway Development Projects in Nicaragua

Hotel development projects in Nicaragua would boost tourism rates substantially. Nicaraguan tourism has grown over the last several years, which has created several employment opportunities. In 2013, Nicaraguan tourism created 7.9 percent of the nation’s employment and is predicted to hit almost 9 percent by 2024.

Not only would hotels create hundreds of jobs for struggling locals, but it would also bring in a substantial amount of revenue for the country and the value of the land. With the creation of hotels and resorts comes investors, which have a substantial effect on the economy as well.

Unfortunately, these projects have not had much progress, despite breaking ground in December 2014. Although Jing suffered from the 2015 stock market crash, he is still hopeful and persistent that these projects will be completed, regardless of his own financial standings. These projects could be the effort that puts an end to the serious poverty issue which threatens many Nicaraguans.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian aid to NicaraguaRotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhoeal disease in the world. Killing more than 500,000 people annually, rotavirus is particularly deadly in the poorest countries in the world. The disease is easily transmitted, so immediate treatment is vital to prevent complications and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the most effective way to prevent it is the rotavirus vaccine.

In Central America, the rotavirus vaccine has been tremendously successful. The 2006 introduction of the vaccine to Nicaragua has resulted in the decrease of severe rotavirus illness and deaths, and the country has been instrumental in setting vaccination standards throughout the world. This example of humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has resulted in a domino effect that can benefit all developing countries in the fight against preventable diseases.

In addition to the rotavirus vaccine, Nicaragua has stood apart as a country intent upon eliminating deaths due to diarrhoeal disease. In the past decade, the Central American country has implemented new treatments to supplement the vaccine, including improved water treatments and an oral rehydration solution. Today, 98 percent of Nicaraguan children are vaccinated against the virus and studies show that diarrhoeal disease due to rotavirus has been all but eliminated.

Humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has been very successful in the years since the country’s vaccination expansion. Long understood as a hotbed for crime and violence, Nicaragua is living an era of peace and crime rates are down. It has become a country of innovation; in addition to a stabilized economy, Nicaragua is becoming a world power in terms of renewable energy. In 2016, the bulk of its energy came from alternative sources such as hydroelectric dams and wind farms.

Social and gender equality is also booming in the country. The mindset change has clearly had wide-reaching impacts. While its approach to the rotavirus vaccine is but a small example of Nicaragua’s dedication to innovation and improvement, its place as a world standard can influence every stage of the country’s development.

A focus on vaccination has clear and expedient effects. In the case of Nicaragua, ensuring that every child is vaccinated all but eliminated diarrhoeal disease due to rotavirus. The fact that the country was not satisfied with its own status but strove to innovate and serve as an example to countries around the world should be commended.

Humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has been widespread and the country is reaping the benefits. Coupled with U.S. resources, Nicaragua has the potential and the experience needed to bring lasting relief to countries struggling with rotavirus and other barriers to healthy and prosperous living.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr