Nicaragua Demography and Economic Geography
Demography and economic geography. – State of Isthmian Central America. The population (5,142,098 residents at the 2005 census) continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than in the past: 6,169,269 residents. estimated by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) in 2014. Although the country remains one of the poorest in Latin America, some socio-demographic indicators have improved, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, access to drinking water and health services. According to indexdotcom, the most recent years have been marked by constant economic growth (+ 5.5% in 2011, + 5.2% in 2012, + 4.6% in 2013, + 4% in 2014), supported above all by agricultural production, from breeding and emigrant remittances, which in 2013 exceeded one billion dollars. Tourism has experienced a recent boost, thanks also to the support of the European Union for an ecotourism project that associates natural places with the visit of historic cities, such as Leόn, Masaya, Granada and Rivas. In 2012 the country signed with Honduras,
History. – Strengthened by the re-election obtained in November 2006, the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega inaugurated the five-year program (2007-12) Hambre cero (Zero hunger), aimed at reducing extreme poverty in the rural areas of the country and with a budget of 150 million dollars. Specifically, the government pledged to deliver animals, seeds, fruit trees and plants for reforestation to 75,000 households, for a total of $ 2,000 per household, with the aim of allowing each household to cover basic nutritional needs. and to stimulate the creation of local networks of agricultural producers. In addition, also in 2007, the government created free medical assistance and distributed zinc roofs in the poorest neighborhoods of the country through the Plan techo (Roof Plan).
Despite the low economic growth of the 2007-11 period, government social spending grew to 12% of GDP. This was largely due to the financial support of the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez, which transferred approximately $ 2.2 billion (on a monthly basis equivalent to 8% of the Nicaragua’s GDP) into the coffers of the Sandinista government in the aforementioned period. mainly in the form of subsidized and deferred priced barrels of oil. Taken together, social policies had a major impact on the very high rates of poverty, generating a broad popular consensus for the government.
In July 2009, President Ortega announced a constitutional reform plan aimed at eliminating the barrier to consecutive re-election that would have prevented him from re-running. In October 2009 the Constitutional Court (dominated by magistrates close to Sandinismo) declared the constitutional constraint inapplicable, paving the way for Ortega’s re-election and revealing a process of corrosion of the balance between fundamental powers at a very advanced stage.
In the November 2011 elections, President Ortega obtained a notable electoral affirmation (62.5%) at the head of the Unida Nicaragua triunfa coalition, re-proposing the Christian (fervently anti-abortion), socialist and supportive discourse that had traditionally characterized Sandinismo.
The most credible conservative alternative to Sandinismo was represented by the coalition Unidad Nicaragüense por la esperanza (UNE), which however did not go beyond 31%.
Among the great works of President Ortega’s new mandate was the Great Interoceanic Canal, an impressive work begun in December 2014 and with an estimated value of 50 billion dollars (given in concession to the Chinese infrastructure giant HKND Group), whose ambition was that of constituting an alternative route to the Panama Canal.
Despite accelerating growth rates (over 4% on average between 2012 and 2014), Nicaragua’s GDP per capita remains the lowest in the region after Haiti. The crisis in Venezuela and the consequent risk of reducing Venezuelan financial support, energy dependence, vulnerability to natural phenomena and rampant organized crime represented the greatest unknowns about the future of the Ortega government and Sandinismo in general.