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 embassy 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 2016, Switzerland imported goods worth a total of CHF 54.37 million from Nicaragua, mainly precious metals and agricultural products including coffee and bananas. Swiss exports to Nicaragua stood at around CHF 5 million, composed mainly of machinery, pharmaceutical products and optical and medical instruments.
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 1993. Central America is a priority region for Swiss development cooperation. The SDC focuses its development efforts on Nicaragua and Honduras.
The emphasis is on three areas:
economic development (the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises)
inclusive governance, rule of law and human rights (consolidation of infrastructure in poor rural communities)
- climate change and disaster risk reduction
The SDC has an annual budget of CHF 23.5 million (for the 2018-21 period). A number of ministries make up the SDC's main partners: the ministry of agriculture, the foreign ministry, etc.
Swiss nationals in Nicaragua
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 322 Swiss nationals living in Nicaragua at the end of 2016.
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.