Canadian international assistance in Nicaragua

Despite a significant reduction in poverty in recent years, Nicaragua is still one of the poorest countries in the Americas.

It has the second-lowest GDP per capita in the Americas, with 30% of the population living below the national poverty line. Nicaragua ranks 124th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2016 Human Development Index.

Poverty in Nicaragua is concentrated in rural areas, with 50% of rural residents living below the national poverty line. The majority of the rural poor live in the vast, dry central region, where natural resources are limited, lands have been over-exploited and water for production is scarce. Families depend on agriculture for their livelihood and devote two-thirds of their income to purchasing food. Small-scale farmers and landless farm workers are also among the most vulnerable to climate change.

Approximately 65% of Nicaragua’s population is under the age of 30. Young Nicaraguans face significant challenges due to limited employment opportunities, low levels of education and skills, and pressure to migrate, especially in rural areas.

Nicaragua’s administration of public institutions and its management of the economy and the national budget are steadily improving. But the commitment to democracy, human rights and rule of law is being questioned by civil society and the media.

The country has made progress on targets of achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women and reducing child mortality. It faces challenges, however, in eradicating poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability. Nicaragua is also vulnerable to natural disasters, such as drought, floods and hurricanes, which regularly plague the country and jeopardize development gains in poor rural areas.

The Government of Nicaragua’s achievements in the area of community policing and security have helped to contain the insecurity that is prevalent in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). However, while the country has among the lowest homicide rates in the region, there is a risk that criminal networks operating in the northern countries could present increasing security challenges.

Our international development assistance

Search the Project Browser to see what Canada is doing to support development in Nicaragua.

The goal of Canada’s international development program in Nicaragua is to help the country in its pursuit of inclusive and green economic growth along with improving the lives of women and youth.  Canada’s programming is closely aligned with Nicaragua’s National Human Development Plan and supports the Government of Nicaragua’s commitment to poverty

Improving rural livelihoods

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Building skills

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