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Business likes Nicaragua - and vice versa

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This week’s issue of the Economist confirms what we have been saying for some time – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega may claim to be politically red, but he likes the color of money.

As is the case in China, the Sandinista regime wants a monopoly of political power.

At the same time, the government is fostering a climate, which is more pro-business than that of many other countries in the region. Last month’s forum “Grow Together” was the latest example of Nicaragua’s policy of promoting foreign direct investment, which this year is expected to reach $1 billion, double the figure for 2010.

The textile and clothing industries in particular are doing well, with output growing at 25 per cent, compared to the same period of the previous year.

The apparel and garment sectors expect to have $1 billion in total exports, by the end of 2011.

In terms of new operations, Brazil’s Schmidt Group just invested $25 million in a footwear plant that will employ 3,500 people. Agribusiness and call centers are also rising, along with the cigar industry.

Given its often turbulent history, and its dependence on Hugo Chavez’ Bolivarian regime for cheap oil, Nicaragua still presents risks for investors.

On the other hand, the country's stability in recent years, and the steps it has taken to make it easy for productive businesses to invest, are having a positive effect.