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 Central America, which includes a consular section, is located in Managua.
Trade between Switzerland and Nicaragua is limited in scope. In 2020, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 137 million from Nicaragua, mainly comprising precious metals and agricultural products including coffee and bananas. Switzerland exported CHF 7 million in goods to Nicaragua – mainly machinery, pharmaceuticals and optical and medical devices.
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 allocated over CHF 18 million to these projects in 2020. Swiss bilateral cooperation will be withdrawn from Latin America, including Nicaragua, by the end of 2024.
Swiss nationals in Nicaragua
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 234 Swiss nationals living in Nicaragua at the end of 2020.
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. From 1968 to 1976, Switzerland had an embassy in 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 1993.