Both the SDC and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO are present with a number of projects in Nicaragua, one of the "Central America priority regions" for Swiss development cooperation.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Nicaragua
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Relations with Nicaragua focus on development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Switzerland's diplomatic interests and consular matters are handled by the Swiss ambassador resident in San José (Costa Rica).
The cooperation office for regional cooperation in Central America is in Managua, in the same building as the consulate.
The volume of trade between Switzerland and Nicaragua is low. In 2015, Switzerland imported goods worth a total of CHF 11.23 million from Nicaragua, mainly agricultural products including coffee and bananas. Swiss exports to Nicaragua stood at around CHF 9.24 million, composed mainly of machinery, pharmaceutical and agricultural products.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Nicaragua can apply for scholarships to the Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The SDC has been active in Nicaragua since 1979. Central America is a priority region for Swiss development cooperation. The SDC focuses its development efforts in Nicaragua and Honduras.
The emphasis is on three areas:
- economic development (the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises)
- inclusive governance (consolidation of infrastructure in 20 poor rural communities)
- basic infrastructure (provision of drinking water and electricity for 150,000 villagers)
- climate change and disaster risk reduction
The SDC has an annual budget of CHF 20 million (for the 2013-17 period) for Nicaragua. A number of Nicaraguan ministries make up the SDC's main partners: the ministry of agriculture, the foreign ministry, etc.).
After redefining its geographical priorities, SECO has withdrawn from Nicaragua and Honduras. Occasional assistance is continuing with regard to the management of public finances.
Swiss nationals in Nicaragua
There were 288 Swiss nationals living in Nicaragua at the end of 2015.
History of bilateral relations
The SDC has been operating a cooperation office for the Central America region from Managua since 1990.
It started to be active in Nicaragua following the overthrow of the dictator Somoza in1979. A number of Swiss joined the brigades formed to help the country’s reconstruction.
In 1936, the Federal Council appointed an Honorary Consul in Nicaragua. Diplomatic relations were begun in 1957, and between 1968 and 1976, Switzerland maintained an embassy in the capital Managua.
In 1821 Nicaragua gained its independence from Spain, and in 1838 a republic was created. Switzerland recognised the state as soon as it was founded.