Nicaragua last year set a new personal best for foreign-direct investment (FDI), netting $1.28 billion—a remarkable 33% increase from the year before, according to investment-promotion agency ProNicaragua.
The level of investment growth is even more impressive considering it comes on top of a monstrous 91% jump in foreign-direct investment in 2011. In real terms, foreign investment levels have more than doubled over the past two years.
“The historic level of growth reached in 2012 demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity to continue improving the investment climate, facilitate investment processes, and promote socio-economic development in the country,” said Gen. Alvaro Baltodano, presidential delegate for foreign investment.
Last year’s record growth numbers were the result of 349 investment projects—the single year record for Nicaragua, according to ProNicaragua. Investors from 37 foreign countries invested in Nicaragua last year, with Venezuela leading the charge, representing 16% of the total investment in Nicaragua in 2012. Panama and the United States were second and third, respectively, representing 15% of the total foreign investment in the economy, according to ProNicaragua.
Most of the investment in Nicaragua last year was in the sectors of industry, trade and services, energy, mines, and free-zones, which together accounted for 77% of all foreign investment.
In total, foreign direct investment last year accounted for 12.2% of Nicaragua’s Gross Domestic Product, the highest percentage in Central America, ProNicaragua reports.