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Nicaragua: mega-projects

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Major potential projects include an interocean canal, two big hydro electric dams and power stations, a $500 million port at Monkey Point on the Caribbean, and a $6 billlion refinery.

With annual national production valued at only $8 billion, Nicaragua will only be able to develop major infrastructure projects, if they are built and operated by private entities or enterprises belonging to other states – on the basis of a concession.

That leaves the issue of how likely the projects are to proceed.

Least likely to be developed may be the canal, given the complications involved, including a cost estimated ar $30 billion, and the fact that even if a waterway existed, which can take boats too big for Panama, hardly any port in the world is deep enough to receive them.

The refinery project, promised as an investment by the Venezuelan government several years ago, has yet to move past the planning stage.

The Ortega administration announced several smaller projects this year, including a tourist railway between Managua and Granada, and a Pacific coast highway, the former to be developed by Russian investors, and the latter by an Italian group.

For its part, the Nicaraguan government insists that it has a clear message for investors: if you come, you can build it.