The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is active in Nicaragua with a number of projects. Nicaragua is part of the priority region in Central America 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.
Bilateral trade between Switzerland and Nicaragua is modest. Switzerland's imports from Nicaragua – mainly precious metals and agricultural products such as coffee and bananas – were worth CHF 116 million in 2019. Swiss exports to Nicaragua – primarily machinery, pharmaceuticals, and optical and medical instruments – amounted to CHF 3.9 million.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Nicaragua can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The SDC has been active in Nicaragua since 1979. Central America is a priority region for Swiss development cooperation. The SDC focuses its development efforts on Nicaragua and Honduras. As set out in the 2018–21 cooperation strategy, the SDC continues its work in these areas:
- Economic development (promoting small and medium-sized enterprises)
- Inclusive governance, rule of law and human rights (strengthening poor rural communities)
- Climate change and disaster risk reduction
The SDC's budget in 2019 amounted to CHF 10 million.
Swiss nationals in Nicaragua
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 253 Swiss nationals living in Nicaragua at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Nicaragua gained its independence from Spain in 1821, and a republic was created in 1838. Switzerland recognised the state as soon as it was founded.
In 1936, the Federal Council appointed an honorary consul in Nicaragua. Diplomatic relations were established in 1957 and between 1968 and 1976, Switzerland maintained an embassy in the capital Managua.
The SDC started to be active in Nicaragua following the overthrow of the dictator Somoza in 1979. A number of Swiss nationals joined the brigades formed to help the country’s reconstruction.
The SDC has been operating a cooperation office for the Central America region from Managua since 1990.