NICARAGUA – What is there for South Yorkshire Business?

Date: 23 Mar 2018

Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

On the 23rd March 2018 the Ambassador of Nicaragua. The Deputy head of the Embassy of Nicaragua, H.E. Guisell Morales-Echaverry, the Director of the Latin American Trade and Investment Association, Mr Ricardo Carioni and the Mayor of Esteli, Mr Francisco Valenzuela will be at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce for meetings and a round table discussion with companies interested to develop trade in this region.

The objective of this round table is not to evaluate the current trade relations between Nicaragua and Sheffield, but to focus on the untapped opportunities for Sheffield business. There is a great potential to further develop economic relations and for business to take advantage of the following top factors regarding Nicaragua’ attractive business ecosystem:

  1. Trade Zone Lawsome of the most attractive incentives, advantages and potential in the region.
  2. Safest country in Central America and Top 3 in LATAC.
  3. 3rd fastest growing and most stable economy in LATAC for 2018 and for the past 5 years.
  4. Preferable and tariff free access to global markets of over 1.5 Billion people, including the United States, Canada, Asia, Central and South America.
  5. 76% of the population under 39 years and best regional labour costs.
  6. Key opportunities for UK businesses in: Light Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Energy, Business Outsourcing, Agribusiness, Food, Tourism, Retail, Technology, e-Commerce, and others.

Nicaragua export overview

The Nicaraguan workforce comprises of just under 3 million people, 77% of which are under the age of 39. Many Nicaraguans are bilingual and educated to degree level. Unskilled labour is also widely available and is relatively low-cost.

Nicaragua offers investment incentives in many sectors, including forestry, mining, and tourism. Incentives can include exemptions or reductions in import, property and income taxes.

Many UK businesses operate from Nicaragua, including BG, Biwater, British American Tobacco, De La Rue and GlaxoSmithKline.

Strengths of the market:

  • abundant human capital
  • competitive operational costs
  • solid legal framework
  • investment incentives
  • excellent life quality

Growth potential

In recent years, Nicaragua has experienced sustained economic growth. In 2013 the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was USD 11.26 billion. This growth is due to years of economic liberalisation and the implementation of policies to stimulate investment and exports.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2013 accounted for USD 1388 million, which represents 12.2% of the Nicaraguan GDP. The FDI was mainly for:

  • energy
  • mining
  • free trade zones
  • industrial
  • telecommunications

Together, these represent 75% of all investment flows to the country. The development of these sectors has contributed significantly to Nicaragua’s productive capacity and economy.

Foreign investors have the same rights and responsibilities as domestic investors. There are also special incentives for investing in some sectors.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Nicaragua has FTAs with a number of countries, including the United States and Mexico. It is also part of the following agreements:

  • Association Agreement with the European Union
  • the Central American Common Market
  • the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas

UK and Nicaragua trade

In 2014, the export of UK products to Nicaragua reached £5.5 million.

Top UK exports to Nicaragua are:

  • automotive
  • pharmaceutical
  • fungicide
  • whisky


According to the Nicaraguan Hotel Association, tourism has had a 65% growth rate in the last 6 years. It is now Nicaragua’s largest industry.

The increase in tourism is due to the political and economic stability, and the easier access with improved roads and more constant and accessible flights.

Agribusiness and forestry

The Atlantic region of Nicaragua has great potential for forestry plantations. It receives of rain levels of between 2,500 and 5,000 mm per year.

There are opportunities for the cultivation of products such as:

  • cacao
  • African palm and other biofuel crops
  • rubber
  • coconut

Renewable energy

Nicaragua aims to have 94% of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2017. This ambitious plan arose from an energy crisis due to heavy reliance on foreign oil. Reducing reliance from 70% to 6% could be made possible by renewable energy infrastructure development

As part of a renewable energy plan, several governmental institutions have been set up to support the industry. Laws have been implemented that benefit renewable energies.

There are many opportunities for UK companies in this sector.


There are a number of projects in Nicaragua to improve the infrastructure. These include:

  • the wet canal – a pipeline that will connect the 2 coasts
  • railways
  • 2 free zones
  • 2 deepwater ports
  • a new international airport

If you would like to be invited for this round table event please contact Nick Patrick on 0114 213 2991 or to reserve your place.

Location: Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

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