All the tools and resources you need to export your goods across the world

The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas led by Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador prompted the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA was elected president in 2006, 2011, and most recently in 2016. Municipal, regional, and national-level elections since 2008 have been marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have weakened under the ORTEGA administration as the president has garnered full control over all four branches of government: the presidency, the judicial, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Electoral Council.


Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras

Natural Resources

gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish

Population - distribution

the overwhelming majority of the population resides in the western half of the country, with much of the urban growth centered in the capital city of Managua; coastal areas also show large population clusters

Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%
MANAGUA (capital) 956,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of Nicaragua
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republica de Nicaragua
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
12 08 N, 86 15 W
Time difference
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.7% in 2016 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. Beef, coffee, and gold are Nicaragua’s top three export commodities.
External debt stocks
US$ 10,489,939,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -1,133,400,000
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 7,537,019,916
Exports of goods and services
US$ 5,155,590,808
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 887,800,000
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 1,301,000,000
coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans, beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, lobsters, peanuts
food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining
coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel
US 54.1%, Mexico 11%, Venezuela 6.2%, El Salvador 5.5% (2015)
consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
US 18.1%, China 14.4%, Mexico 10.4%, Costa Rica 8.2%, Guatemala 6.9%, Netherlands Antilles 6.1%, El Salvador 5.2% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Mineral (gold) and agricultural (coffee, sugar, meat) resources
  • Membership in Central America/United States and Central America/EU free trade zones
  • Cautious economic policy
  • Stable financial system
  • Support from the international community
  • Low crime rates compared with other countries in the region
  • Vulnerability to natural disasters (cyclones, earthquakes)
  • Healthcare and education shortcomings and persistent poverty levels
  • Inadequate infrastructure (energy, transport)
  • Large current account deficit
  • Dependence on international aid, in particular from Venezuela
  • Institutional failings: concentration of power within the executive and the Sandinista party, corruption

Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. By browsing our website you grant us permission to store that information on your device. For more information check our Terms and Conditions.