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Nicaragua (2008)

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Nicaragua 2008 year

Administrative divisions 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonoma); Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas
Age structure 0-14 years: 35.5% (male 1,025,426/female 988,148)

15-64 years: 61.3% (male 1,734,153/female 1,746,574)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 79,589/female 101,466) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; shrimp, lobsters
Airports 163 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 152

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 135 (2007)
Area total: 129,494 sq km

land: 120,254 sq km

water: 9,240 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than the state of New York
Background The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting in 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt.
Birth rate 24.12 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $1.027 billion

expenditures: $1.336 billion (2007 est.)
Capital name: Managua

geographic coordinates: 12 09 N, 86 17 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
Coastline 910 km
Constitution 9 January 1987; reforms in 1995, 2000, and 2005
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua

conventional short form: Nicaragua

local long form: Republica de Nicaragua

local short form: Nicaragua
Death rate 4.42 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $3.702 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Paul A. TRIVELLI

embassy: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur, Managua

mailing address: P.O. Box 327

telephone: [505] 266-6010

FAX: [505] 266-3861
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Arturo CRUZ Sequeira, Jr.

chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570, [1] (202) 939-6573

FAX: [1] (202) 939-6545

consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Disputes - international memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaragua's 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea, final public hearings are scheduled for 2007; the 1992 ICJ ruling for El Salvador and Honduras advised a tripartite resolution to establish a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca, which considers Honduran access to the Pacific; legal dispute over navigational rights of San Juan River on border with Costa Rica
Economic aid - recipient $471 million (2006 est.)
Economy - overview Nicaragua has widespread underemployment, one of the highest degrees of income inequality in the world, and the third lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere. While the country has progressed toward macroeconomic stability in the past few years, annual GDP growth has been far too low to meet the country's needs, forcing the country to rely on international economic assistance to meet fiscal and debt financing obligations. In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in October 2007, the IMF approved a new poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) program that should create fiscal space for social spending and investment. The continuity of a relationship with the IMF reinforces donor confidence, despite private sector concerns surrounding Ortega, which has dampened investment. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Energy shortages fueled by high oil prices, however, are a serious bottleneck to growth.
Electricity - consumption 2.929 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports 8 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 69.34 million kWh (2006)
Electricity - production 2.778 billion kWh (2006)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Ethnic groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Exchange rates gold cordobas per US dollar - 18.457 (2007), 17.582 (2006), 16.733 (2005), 15.937 (2004), 15.105 (2003)
Executive branch chief of state: President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Jaime MORALES Carazo (since 10 January 2007); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Jaime MORALES Carazo (since 10 January 2007)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term so long as it is not consecutive); election last held 5 November 2006 (next to be held by November 2011)

election results: Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra elected president - 38.07%, Eduardo MONTEALEGRE 29%, Jose RIZO 26.21%, Edmundo JARQUIN 6.44%
Exports 8 million kWh (2005)
Exports $2.235 billion f.o.b.; note - includes free trade zones (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 1,397 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities coffee, beef, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, sugar, gold, peanuts
Exports - partners US 65.2%, El Salvador 6.9%, Honduras 3.8% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 17.1%

industry: 25.9%

services: 56.9% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.9% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 13 00 N, 85 00 W
Geography - note largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 33.8% (2001)
Illicit drugs transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
Imports 69.34 million kWh (2006)
Imports $3.647 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 15,560 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partners US 20.1%, Mexico 13.9%, Venezuela 9.4%, Costa Rica 6.9%, Guatemala 5.4%, China 4.3% (2006)
Independence 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Industrial production growth rate 3% (2007 est.)
Industries food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood
Infant mortality rate total: 27.14 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.45 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.8% (2007 est.)
International organization participation BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Irrigated land 610 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Corte Suprema de Justicia (16 judges elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly)
Labor force 2.262 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 29%

industry: 19%

services: 52% (2006 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,231 km

border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km
Land use arable land: 14.81%

permanent crops: 1.82%

other: 83.37% (2005)
Languages Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census)

note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
Legal system civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 90 members are elected by proportional representation and party lists to serve five-year terms; 1 seat for the previous president, 1 seat for the runner-up in previous presidential election)

elections: last held 5 November 2006 (next to be held by November 2011)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FSLN 38, PLC 25, ALN 23 (22 plus one for presidential candidate Eduardo MONTEALEGRE, runner-up in the 2006 presidential election), MRS 5, APRE 1 (outgoing President Enrique BOLANOS)
Life expectancy at birth total population: 70.92 years

male: 68.82 years

female: 73.13 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.5%

male: 67.2%

female: 67.8% (2003 est.)
Location Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: natural prolongation
Military branches National Army of Nicaragua (ENN; includes Navy, Air Force) (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 0.6% (2006)
National holiday Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Nationality noun: Nicaraguan(s)

adjective: Nicaraguan
Natural hazards destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Natural resources gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Net migration rate -1.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Pipelines oil 54 km (2007)
Political parties and leaders Alliance for the Republic or APRE [Miguel LOPEZ Baldizon]; Alternative for Change or AC [Orlando TARDENCILLA Espinoza]; Central American Unionist Party or PUCA [Blanca ROJAS]; Conservative Party or PC [Azalia AVILES Salmeron]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Anibal MARTINEZ Nunez, Pedro REYES Vallejos]; Independent Liberal Party for National Unity or PLIUN [Carlos GUERRA Gallardo]; Liberal Constitutionalist Party or PLC [Jorge CASTILLO Quant]; Liberal Salvation Movement or MSL [Eliseo NUNEZ Hernandez]; New Liberal Party or PALI [Adolfo GARCIA Esquivel]; Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance or ALN [Eduardo MONTEALEGRE]; Nicaraguan Resistance Party or PRN [Salvador TALAVERA]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Dora Maria TELLEZ]
Political pressure groups and leaders National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including - Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN; Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including - Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS; Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups
Population 5,675,356 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 48% (2005)
Population growth rate 1.855% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 63, FM 32, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 6 km

narrow gauge: 6 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)
Religions Roman Catholic 72.9%, Evangelical 15.1%, Moravian 1.5%, Episcopal 0.1%, other 1.9%, none 8.5% (1995 census)
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.038 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.993 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.784 male(s)/female

total population: 1.001 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 16 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: system being upgraded by foreign investment; nearly all installed telecommunications capacity now uses digital technology, owing to investments since privatization of the formerly state-owned telecoms company

domestic: since privatization, access to fixed-line and mobile-cellular services has improved but teledensity still lags behind other Central American countries; connected to Central American Microwave System

international: country code - 505; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber optic submarine cable provides connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 247,900 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 1.83 million (2006)
Television broadcast stations 3 (plus 7 repeaters) (1997)
Terrain extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
Total fertility rate 2.69 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 5.6% plus underemployment of 46.5% (2007 est.)
Waterways 2,220 km (including lakes Managua and Nicaragua) (2007)
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