Investing in Nicaragua with ProNicaragua

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and it may be outside your scope of possible investment destination. But maybe you should look closer: Nicaragua has not had lucky decades; some devastating natural catastrophes have struck the country as the great earthquake of 1972 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998, both of which left the country in ruins. Also deep political instability made any economic activity difficult to sustain throughout the 1970’s and the 1980´s. First the decline and fall of the autocratic Somoza-Regime and the following decade long civil war between the leftist Sandinista Regime and the Contra forces which became prominent in the United States through the Iran-Contra affair.

After the restoration of the democratic system in 1990 the country continued to suffer from low economic growth. President Daniel Ortega who led the country in the 1980’s and is now in his second post-war presidency decided to do something about the scarce economic development: he decided to push for foreign investment. Through the political commitment of the standing Government and the low production costs, as well as the focus on some key industrial sectors, Nicaragua may become, and already be, an interesting place to invest.

The Government of Nicaragua founded an official agency to encourage foreign investment in the country: ProNicaragua (http://www.pronicaragua.org/en/). Under the slogan “Let’s Grow Together” the main goal of this agency is to provide a systematic guide to all qualified investors interested in Nicaragua. ProNicaragua offers complimentary support services such as the Organization of customized site visits, the provision of services including advisory and advocacy for foreign investors and the assistance in finding local companies for possible joint ventures as well as identifying suppliers. This Agency will also provide assistance identifying the ideal real estate option for any project you may have in mind and it will help you, after you established your business, identify main problems affecting it through an improvement of the business environment.

For the impatient investor the Government has created a fast-track process of registering a company by using the services provided by the Investment One-Stop Shop (VUI, for its acronym in Spanish). The office, which gathers the main government institutions involved in the process, provides top-quality services free of charge for investors, reducing the registration time to approximately 13 days.

ProNicaragua has identified 5 key industrial sectors which appear to be the most promising in terms of production costs and the potential for expansion of export markets: food processing, outsourcing services, footwear, auto parts and timber investment.