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In the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, published in October 2013, Nicaragua was ranked 10th out of 136 countries and 1st in all of the Americas.
In the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, published in October 2013, Nicaragua was ranked 10th out of 136 countries and 1st in all of the Americas. According to the report, the country has maintained its position in the top 10 for two years in a row now, due to a strong performance in terms of political empowerment.
Nicaragua made it to the top 10 in 2012, when it was ranked 9th. Despite dropping one spot in the ranking in 2013, the country’s overall score improved from 76 to 77 percent—the highest possible score is 100 percent and stands for total gender equality. The country’s highest ranking is for the Political Empowerment sub index, in which Nicaragua occupies the 5th position worldwide, only surpassed by Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
According to the report, being one of the 10 most advanced countries in the world in terms of gender equality comes from the returns of investment in women’s health and education. Also, a country among the top 10 is one where women enjoy the most equal access to education and healthcare and are most likely to be able to participate fully in the country’s political and economic life.
Even though Nicaragua continues to be the only Latin America and Caribbean country in the top 10 overall best performers, the region, which closed 70 percent of its overall gender gap in 2013, is the most improved in relation to the year before compared to the other regions. Overall, the gender gap narrowed slightly across the globe in 2013, as 86 of 133 countries showed improvements.
The Global Gender Gap Report annually ranks 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas: economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and survival, educational attainment, political participation and economic equality. No country has yet achieved total gender equality (an overall score of 100 percent).
By Tim Burrack: Arlington, Iowa
The Panama Canal almost was the Nicaragua Canal. A little more than a century ago, the United States came close to building “the path between the seas” to the north of Panama’s narrow isthmus.
If an ambitious Nicaraguan politician and Chinese billionaire have their way, however, a new waterway may yet connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It would become “the largest civil-engineering and construction project in the world,” reports Jon Lee Anderson in the March 10 edition of the New Yorker.
I don’t believe the Panama Canal will face a competitor in Nicaragua anytime soon, if ever. But competition is healthy, and perhaps the mere threat of a massive Nicaragua Canal will lead to the completion of necessary improvements in the Panama Canal. Better yet, maybe it will encourage urgent repairs to our own transportation infrastructure here in the United States.
The Panama Canal is of course a modern marvel and this is its centennial year. An enormous accomplishment, it took a decade to complete. More than 5,000 workers died, mostly from disease. This was a costly toll, but their sacrifice made possible a great hub of global commerce that has served the interests of nations, producers and consumers throughout our hemisphere.
While several regions in the Central American isthmus might be perceived as being “closed” for mining investment, the largest country in the region, Nicaragua, is “open for business”, the country’s general director for mining at the Energy and Mines Ministry (MEM), Carlos Zarruk, recently told Mining Weekly Online in an interview.
Mining had been a part of the country’s history for more than a century, and now more than ever, the country is gearing up to invite more mining investment.
Bordering Honduras to the north, and Costa Rica to the south, Nicaragua’s mining tradition dates back to the nineteenth century and had since become one of the country’s most dynamic economic sectors. According to the MEM, the mining sector had established itself as one of the country’s most important exporters, with gold reaching $436-million in exports in 2013.
Gold had also ranked among Nicaragua’s top five export products throughout the years and in 2013, it was ranked as the country’s top export product. Last year, Nicaragua produced 205 590 oz of gold and 254 860 oz of silver.
Mining activity in Nicaragua takes place in two industrial sub-sectors, including metallic and non-metallic.
Under the metallic sub-sector falls exploration and exploitation and included commercial gold and silver mining, as well as small-scale national gold miners for local sales. The largest companies participating were from Canada, the UK and Nicaragua and its main export markets were to the US and Canada.
In the non-metallic sub-sector counts sand, concrete, rock fill, limestone, lime, calcium carbonate, gypsum and pumice. Its largest companies were from Nicaragua, Mexico and Switzerland and most output is sold to the local construction industry.
International miners such as B2Gold Corp, Canchinic, Condor Gold and Golden Reign Resources had already made themselves at home in the country, and were currently developing successful projects.
“All companies were complying with national legislation and implementing social responsibility practices with their employees, the communities where they were established and the environment,” VP of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Mines Denis Lanzas pointed out in the same interview.
He noted that less than 10% of the country was currently under exploration and all current mining operations were taking place in three historical districts: the Golden Triangle (Bonanza, Siuna and Rosita), La Libertad/Santo Domingo, and El Limón/La India, leaving plenty of room for exploration upside.
With a territorial reach of more than 130 000 km, Nicaragua is a country with vast natural resources. It offers more than 34 868 km of potential for mining activities. The country also enjoys a privileged geographic location.
Further, the proximity to North and South America makes Nicaragua an attractive destination for companies that are looking to export to those markets.
For example, flight time to the Toronto, Canada, is between five and seven hours away by aeroplane, depending on layovers. The country’s access to the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea also facilitates exports towards destinations in Europe and Asia.
Recognising the mining sector’s potential to boost the country’s current gross domestic proiduct of about $11.1-billion a year and economic growth of about 4.7% to 5%, the Nicaraguan government, through the MEM, is actively promoting investments by establishing a solid legal framework and facilitating the development of mining projects, Zarruk said.
He added that in recent years, Nicaragua had actively engaged in multilateral, regional and bilateral negotiations, to become better integrated into the world.
As a result of these efforts, the country had gained preferential access to critical markets such as the US, Mexico and Europe. In total, Nicaragua had earned preferential access to a world market of more than 1.5-billion people.
Nicaragua had signed 25 bilateral agreements for the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, as part of the country’s investment promotion policy to ensure the establishment of foreign companies. Bilateral investment treaties set standards for the promotion and legal protection of foreign investments and investors, and all countries that have free trade agreements with Nicaragua also include bilateral treaties for the promotion and protection of investments.
“Over the years, Nicaragua has made important progress in the improvement of its investment climate in an effort to continue to attract high-quality foreign direct investment. The main legislation governing foreign investment in the country is Law 344, which establishes a series of solid legal guarantees for foreign investors,” Zarruk said.
The country also is a member of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Inter-American Convention of Commercial Arbitrage of Panama, while also being a signatory of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.
Nicaragua’s strategic location in the heart of the Americas has allowed the country to position itself as a very competitive export platform to markets worldwide.
The ‘2014 Doing Business Report’, published by the World Bank, provided a quantitative measure of the business climate in countries around the world. This report, ranked Nicaragua as number one in the Central American region in its indicators for investor protection, enforcing contracts and closing a business.
Further, Nicaragua’s population is young and dynamic, with 77% of its total population under the age of 39. The country’s labour force of 3.2-million is reported to be flexible, with good working habits, a fast learning curve and low absenteeism and attrition rates; all of which had allowed this workforce to become quickly recognised as one of the most competitive and productive in the region.
Nicaragua had also become one of the safest countries in the western hemisphere, an advantage recognised internationally by tourists and investors who have relocated to the country. The ‘Economist Intelligence Unit’ confirmed Nicaragua’s high security levels in its 2013 country risk evaluation, ranking the country as the second safest in Central America and the third in Latin America. This report measured indicators such as armed conflict, demonstrations, organised crime and kidnappings in different countries around the world.
“Nicaragua is looking forward to developing the mining sector to its full potential. The mining industry is willing to work with the government to develop technology, promote social investment to become a premier mining destination in the region,” Lanzas concluded.
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