Economy Overview: Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with a low per capita income, poor social and economic performance and a huge external debt. Although the country has made significant progress towards macroeconomic stabilization over the past few years, a banking crisis is plaguing the economy. Nicaragua continues to depend on foreign aid and is in need of debt relief under the Indebted Poor Countries Relief Program (HIPC), conditions for receiving assistance include better governance, transparency in the government’s financial transactions, the fight against poverty and respect for human rights. Nicaragua met the conditions for additional debt relief in December 2000. Growth should be moderate or even strong in 2001.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $13.1 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 5% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $2,700 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 31.6%; industry: 22.8%; service sector: 45.6% (1999).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 50% (2000 est.).
Percentage distribution of family income or consumption: 10% of the poorest families account for: 1.6%; 10% of the wealthiest families account for: 39.8% (1993).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 11% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 1.7 million people (1999).
Employment structure: services 43%, agriculture 42%, industry 15% (1999 est.).
Unemployment rate: 120% and significant part-time employment (1999 est.);
Budget: revenues: $734 million; expenditures: $836 million, including capital expenditures – NA (1999 est.).
Spheres of economy: food, chemical industry, production of machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, oil refining and transportation of oil, production of beverages, footwear, timber industry.
Growth in industrial production: 4.4% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 2.349 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 67.26%; hydropower: 17.71%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 15.03% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 2.265 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 20 million kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 100 million kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soybeans, legumes; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products.
Exports: $631 million (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, beef, sugar, bananas; gold.
Export partners: USA 37.7%, El Salvador 12.5%, Germany 9.8%, Costa Rica 5.1%, Spain 2.5%, France 2.1% (1999).
Imports: $1.6 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Import articles: machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products, consumer goods.
Import partners: USA 34.5%, Costa Rica 11.4%, Guatemala 7.3%, Panama 6.9%, Venezuela 5.9%, El Salvador 5.5% (1999).
External debt: $6.4 billion (2000 est.) Recipient of economic assistance: no data.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: gold cordoba.
Currency code: N10.
Exchange rate: NIO/USD – 12.96 (November 2000), 12.69 (2000 est.) 11.81 (1999), 10.58 (1998), 9.45 (1997), 8.44 (1996).
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 140,000 (1996).
Mobile cellular telephones: 7 911 (1997).
Telephone system: unsatisfactory system will be modernized by foreign investors; domestic: low-capacity microwave radio-relay and wireline communication system is being expanded; connected to the Central American Microwave System; international: satellite earth station: 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 63, FM – 32, shortwave – 1 (1998).
Radio receivers: 1.24 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (and 7 low power repeaters) (1997).
TVs: 320,000 (1997).
Internet country code: ni
Internet service providers: 3 (2000).
Number of users: 20,000 (2000).
Roads: total: 16,382 km; coated: 1,818 km; unpaved: 14,564 km (1998 est.)
Waterways: 2,220 km including 2 large lakes.
Pipelines: for crude oil – 56 km.
Ports and harbors: Bluefields, Corinto, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur, El Bluff.
Merchant fleet: none (2000 est.).
Airports: 182 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 11; from 2438 to 3047 m: 2; from 1524 to 2437 m:3; from 914 to 1523 m:3; less than 914 m: 3 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 171; from 1524 to 2437 m:1; from 914 to 1523 m:25; less than 914 m: 145 (2000 est.).
Branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force. See militarynous.com to know more about Nicaragua Military.
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 1,269,322 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 779,267 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 58,232 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $26 million (1998)
Military spending as part of GDP: 1.2% (1998).
International issues International disputes: territorial dispute with Colombia over the San Andre and Providencia archipelago and Cuito Suena Bank; The International Court of Justice, having considered the issue of the boundary line in the Gulf of Fonseca, established in 1900 by the mixed Honduran-Nicaraguan boundary commission, found it necessary for El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to adopt a tripartite decision; maritime boundary dispute with Honduras in the Caribbean referred to International Court of Justice; dispute over navigational rights on the San Juan River on the border with Costa Rica.
Illicit Drugs: A transit point for cocaine bound for the US and weapons destined for drug traffickers.