Nicaragua in 2010 compared to Nicaragua in 2006:the concrete achievements of Daniel Ortega's government
Published by Nicaragua Triunfa, May 8th 2011, translation by Karla Jacobs
"In January 2011 President Ortega explained that this government is not interested in economic growth as an end in itself which ends up making a small group of people very rich and increasing general inequality. What this government is interested in is economic growth which generates employment and economic activity at a local level, economic growth which reduces poverty."
Paul Oquist, Presidential Secretary on National Policy
The economic and social policies put into place by President Daniel Ortega's government have achieved substantial increases in exports, investment and production resulting in significant job creation and poverty reduction. This has been possible as a result of the climate of peace and economic and social stability in the country and of the trust and confidence felt by investors, producers, private enterprise and workers as part of the tripartite Government-Workers-Producers alliance. The new model being implemented by the FSLN government has brought about significant improvements in the living conditions of the Nicaraguan population in general.
The following briefing is a presentation of different national indicators and statistics from 2006 and from 2010 which confirm the achievements of President Daniel Ortega's government.
In 2010 Nicaragua's Gross Domestic Product was US$6,551.5 million, 25.3% more than in 2006. This increase is the result of positive trends in all the main aspects of the national economy during the worst international economic crisis since World War 2: between 2006 and 2010 exports increased by 77.3%, Direct Foreign Investment grew by 33.1% and the nation's International Reserves almost doubled their value:
As part of a strategy which aims to create growth as a means of generating employment, an important increase in the economically active population (+12.1%) since 2006 has been achieved, while the number of workers within the formal sector (workers who are registered with the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security, INSS) has increased by 30% during the same time period.
*The economic recovery has continued in Nicaraguan Free Trade Zones with a total of 92,000 jobs in this sector by April 2011, a 15% increase compared to the 2006 figure and a 2.3% increase compared to the 2010 figure.
The social policies implemented by the government of President Daniel Ortega have facilitated increasing access to social services like education, health care, social security, housing and land titles for the Nicaraguan population. During the 16 years of neoliberalism access to these services was denied to, or very limited for, the majority of the Nicaraguan population. Today the right of the population to these services has been vindicated.
The following table includes indicators regarding the percentage of the population living in poverty in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
of Poverty Levels
coming to power the government of President Daniel Ortega has worked
towards guaranteeing the human (and constitutional) right to free
healthcare. As a result of the restitution of these rights, access to
healthcare has increased significantly since 2006. For example
number of external consultations within the public system has
increased by 75.9%, while the number of surgical operations has
increased by 76.7% and the number of laboratory tests by 107.8%.
following table includes these and other public health system
Source: Ministry of Health
As a result of the social policies implemented by the Government of President Daniel Ortega within the public healthcare system neonatal deaths have been reduced by 53.7% and maternal deaths by 15.7%. This is one aspect of the general improvement in living conditions of the Nicaraguan population.
From 2007 onwards a number of new preventive health programs, including the Family and Community Health Program (MOSAF), have been implemented to benefit the poorest Nicaraguan families. These programs have helped to bring about improvements in the living conditions of these families. The following figures are an example of the impact of some of those programs:
Between 2007 and 2010 the care available for INSS patients with cancer, chronic kidney failure and other conditions that require high cost treatments has been expanded as has the coverage of health programs for the elderly , for example, with widespread availability of surgery to remove cataracts.
As part of the new education model promoted by the government of President Ortega, important progress has been made in the restitution of the human (and constitutional) right to a free education. The first great achievement was to overcome the scourge of illiteracy (for the second time) after a substantial increase in this most basic social indicator during the 16 years of neoliberal governments. As a result of the Ortega government's literacy campaign illiteracy was reduced by 18.67%, from 22% in 2006 to 3.33% in 2010, as is demonstrated in the following table.
The FSLN government's education policy contemplates the provision of all necessary materials and conditions to the nation's primary and secondary school students in order to permit them to realize their academic potential. Today a free education is complemented with free school meal programs, the provision of scholastic inputs as well as improvements in the school infrastructure.
Between 2007 and 2010 diverse social programs have been implemented with a view to benefitting the most impoverished Nicaraguan families. Among others the importance of the housing and property solution programs “Houses for the People,” “Roof Plan,” and the provision of property titles for impoverished families across Nicaragua should be underlined.
The government of President Daniel Ortega has brought in a number of programs designed to strengthen the productive capacity of micro, small and medium producers – who represent the fundamental pillar of our economy and who, at the same time, belong to the poorest sectors of Nicaraguan society.
Between 2007 and 2010 the “Zero Usury” program provided low interest rate credit to over 90,000 women, while the “Zero Hunger” or “Food Production Bonus” program benefitted nearly 60,000 families.
In 2010 Nicaragua's GDP grew by 4.5% - the highest rate of growth in Central America and higher than the regional average of 3.94%.
Costa Rica occupied second place in the region with 4.2% while El Salvador, with just 0.6% growth, came in last place. El Salvador's low rate of growth is due, above all, to its greater level of dependency on the US economy.
Growth of GDP (%)
Nicaragua's impressive rate of growth is related to the substantial increase in exports (77.3% increase compared to 2006 and 33.1% compared to 2009) together with the process of market diversification, which has been possible, above all, thanks to support from ALBA, and particularly from Venezuela. This support has permitted greater dynamism for Nicaragua's export products:
Nicaragua's main export markets to December 2010
Another important factor has been the increase in Direct Foreign Investment which reached US$508 million (33.1% more than in 2007 and 15.2% more than in 2009). This increase corresponds, above all, to investment projects in the energy, telecommunications and free trade zone sectors. This year Direct Foreign Investment will be more than US$1,039 million, an all time record.
The country's impressive GDP growth and other positive economic indicators have been possible as a result of the climate of peace and economic and social stability in the country and of the trust and confidence felt by investors, producers, private enterprise and workers as part of the tripartite Government-Workers-Producers alliance.
Moreover, these important economic achievements are the result of the Ortega government strategy to prioritize human beings, a strategy which has achieved greater redistribution of wealth and corresponding reductions in inequality and poverty.
In 2011 Nicaragua's economic perspectives remain extremely positive with record levels of exports and Direct Foreign Investment, sustained growth in national production including that of micro, small and medium enterprise and producers, a continued process of international market expansion and, above all, the solidarity and fair trade opportunities which result from Nicaragua's membership of ALBA.
Rural economy overview: Economic activity in the countryside increases with more than 1.1 million people economically active
The social and economic policies implemented by the Government of President Daniel Ortega have generated, among other things, greater job opportunities, especially in rural areas where special efforts have been made to support production with the implementation of a diverse range of programs. These efforts have helped bring about an improvement in the population's living conditions, a reduction in poverty as well as a positive impact in terms of the nation's overall social and economic development.
The government's continuous door-to-door surveys demonstrate that the greatest increase in the economically activie population since 2007 has taken place in rural areas with almost half of all Nicaraguans who reported becoming economically active between 2009 and 2010 living in the countryside. Of the 303,800 people who became economically active in 2009, 48% (145,916) live in rural areas.
Economically active population in rural areas
The economically active population in rural areas grew by 145,916 (equivalent to a 15% increase) from 963,677 in 2009 to 1,190,593 in 2010. Women represent 67% of the newly economically active rural population, a fact which underlines the positive impact of the Ortega government's “Zero Hunger:”
of this growth corresponds to young adults (under 30s), 35%
corresponds to people between the ages of 31 and 60 while the
remaining 9% corresponds to people over the age of 60:
economic dynamism demonstrated in rural areas is evidence of the
success of President Daniel Ortega's government's specific programs
for the sector. Programs like “Zero Hunger” and the “Seed
Program for Food Production” have proved to be strong incentives to
increase food production, create, strengthen the rural economy
and increase economic activity and employment in the Nicaraguan