Last updated in March 2018
Besides the German Embassy, German institutions active in Nicaragua include the German-Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the bilingual Deutsche Schule Managua, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
There are 30 town-twinning arrangements between Nicaragua and Germany dating back to the 1980s and these make an important contribution to bilateral relations. In addition, more than 20 German non-governmental organisations are active in the country.
There are close historical ties between the two countries, especially due to German immigration during the 19th century. This German influence can be felt even today, particularly in the coffee-growing region in northern Nicaragua. Around a thousand German nationals live in Nicaragua and several hundred Nicaraguans in Germany.
Trade between the two countries is developing slowly but steadily from a low level. In 2016, it was worth just under 112 million euros. Nicaragua’s main exports to Germany are agricultural products and its main imports from Germany are manufactured goods. Nicaragua runs a trade deficit with Germany. A German-Nicaraguan investment protection and promotion agreement has been in force since 2001.
A growing number of German tourists are discovering the land of lakes and volcanoes as a holiday destination. Around 18,000 Germans currently visit Nicaragua every year.
The German companies Ritter Sport and Dräxlmaier are among Nicaragua’s biggest employers.
Nicaragua was a priority country of German development cooperation until the end of 2011. The main aim of Germany’s engagement there was reducing poverty. In response to growing democratic deficits in Nicaragua, such as the controversial elections in November 2011, the German Government decided to restrict official development cooperation to the priority area of water. The aim of this programme is to strengthen national institutions in this area so as to ensure sustainable management of national water resources and improved access to affordable and qualitatively adequate drinking-water and sanitation services for the general population. Through regional programmes, Germany is also supporting the development of renewable energies.
With aggregate development cooperation worth one billion euros, Germany has so far been one of the country’s principal bilateral donors in this area. Among other measures, Germany cancelled Nicaragua’s bilateral debts totalling 492 million euros in June 2004 under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
There is also extensive and long-standing non-governmental cooperation through churches, private bodies, political foundations and numerous town-twinning arrangements. In addition, the German Government financially supports the work of multilateral institutions active in Nicaragua, such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and various United Nations agencies.
Culture and education
Cultural relations between Germany and Nicaragua are good. German immigration to Nicaragua in the 19th century made a contribution to the country’s development – a contribution that is widely appreciated to this day. Otherwise, Nicaraguans have a positive but rather vague picture of Germany. There is scarcely any news about Germany in the local media.
Cultural ties are close. Many Germans are familiar with Nicaragua through the books of Gioconda Belli, Ernesto Cardenal and Sergio Ramírez. In Nicaragua, the main contacts for those wishing to learn more about Germany are the Deutsche Schule Managua, the DAAD lector and the Inciativa Cultural Alemana Nicaragüense (ICAN).
The Deutsche Schule Managua, which is funded by the German Government, has more than 800 German and Nicaraguan students. Since the 2003 school year, students there have been able to obtain the Bachillerato Internacional, a qualification which enables them to study at institutions of higher education in Germany. In April 2016, the school was awarded the title Excellent German School Abroad for the second time. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in late 2017.
In higher education, cooperation focuses on the DAAD’s University Staff Development Programme (UNISTAFF) in Central America. There is a DAAD lector working in Nicaragua who helps ANERFA, an association for former scholarship holders, to provide follow-up support to scientists, academics and students who have studied in Germany and who supervises language courses.
To promote cultural preservation in Nicaragua, the Federal Foreign Office has made available substantial funding to build an extension to the Casa de los Tres Mundos (House of the Three Worlds) in Granada. This cultural centre enjoys a good reputation well beyond the city’s borders and in February 2018 again hosted a number of cultural events organised as part of the annual International Poetry Festival of Granada. Furthermore, funding was made available for a new archaeological museum in La Trinidad, which opened in early 2018
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.