Nearshore Americas

“Pro-Business” Ortega Makes Surprise Appearance at Nicaragua Conference

President Daniel Ortega made a surprise appearance last night at “Let’s Grow Together“, an International Investment forum organized by ProNicaragua and being held in Managua. In a surprise turn of events, “El Presidente” arrived at the Hotel Intercontinental to address a crowd of 150 foreign and domestic investors and economic development professionals.In total, 65 companies from Latin America, Taiwan and the United States are at the event watching closely for signs of true investment potential and a commitment from government officials.

Citi, HEMCO mining and energy, and Movistar are among the sponsors backing Javier Chamorro, Executive Director of ProNicaragua on this overall well-received and organized initiative to showcase Nicaragua’s potential in manufacturing, agriculture, energy production and of course business process outsourcing.

The big news bringing Ortega was an announcement of a deep water port megaproject on Nicaragua’s eastern coast. If realized, “Monkey Point” as it has been named will be the first phase of a larger ambition to create a major cargo lane connecting the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean through 500 miles of lush and mountainous terrain. An official promissory agreement was signed last night by the National Port Authority and Brazilian company Andrade Gutierrez that will initiate a feasibility study needed to break ground on the project.

President Ortega has shattered previous perceptions, and I am very encouraged by the pro business and pro commerce message coming out of the cabinet and the President” – Peter Ryan, Ovum Analyst

If there were any doubts about Ortega’s support for foreign investment, his appearance last night calmed some apprehensions. Likewise, the announcement is sure to stir up interest from the investment community as Monkey Point is being seen by some as a show of Brazil’s commitment to the region. “This international initiative will be an economic and growth engine for the people of Nicaragua,” Explained Ortega in his address.

Peter Ryan from Ovum, reacted by saying that “President Ortega has shattered previous perceptions, and I am very encouraged by the pro business and pro commerce message coming out of the cabinet and the president. The challenge will be getting this message out to the rest of the world which still connects Ortega with the Sandinista revolts of the 1980s. Rightly or wrongly this is something that Ortega’s government will have to address.”

Sign up for our Nearshore Americas newsletter:

The overall mood at the event is that of optimism. IT and BPO will be on today’s agenda with a rock star line-up of speakers and panel members. Ann Hart from Hickey and Associates will presenting and moderating a panel discussion on perceptions and opportunities for Nicaragua’s call center industry. Val Vandegrift from Sitel, Lead Analyst Peter Ryan from Ovum, and Alvaro Montealegre the President of local BPO company Almori will be on the panel.

Luke Bujarski, senior analyst with Nearshore Americas, will also be on the panel addressing issues of popular perception as a driver for investment in the global services industry.


Luke Bujarski


  • The only Latin American nation one can trust at the end of the day is Colombia. The second oldest non-interrupted constitutional democracy in the world (after the USA), it is the only significant country in the region that never had hyper inflation or a currency devaluation, and the most solid growth track (even during its darkest years) which today has made it one of the top 10 nations in the world in which to invest. As a matter of fact, Colombia is already working with China to build several mega-projects, including an over-land railway to parallel the Panama Canal (connecting the Caribbean with the Pacific Ocean), and it will assuredly never get attacked or nationalized.

    If anyone thinks, as so many did in recent years, that leaders such as Colonel Omar Khadafi can change their stripes and be trusted, and they think that Ortega should as well be trusted, then I will have a bridge to sell them. I don’t mean to be a pessimist; I am simply an experienced businessman in Latin America who wants to help others with great caution.

  • Mr. Ibañez.. You sound more like a Colombian selling hard than an experienced business man in the whole region.. Not to say that you shouldn't promote your country, it's nice that you do so, but its important to be impartial, while in that process.. Did you now that a Nicaraguan Interoceanic Railway system would be aproximately 275 miles long, which would be about 370 miles shorter than the Colombian design? And Nicaragua's topografy is more favorable, which will allow a lower cost per mile for this project. Did you also know that Nicaragua attracts more FDI as a percentage of GDP than Colombia?

  • Mr. Gutierrez, unfortunately, your assumptions are not accurate. Firstly, I am a well-credentialed int''l businessman and native New Yorker, now living in Colombia given its strong, functioning democracy, something Nicaragua cannot boast. Of course a small country with such a small economy as Nicaragua’s has the potential to show a greater investment to GDP ratio when compared to a vastly more industrialized nation as Colombia which exports much, oil, coal, gas, electricity, automobiles, textiles, etc. Have you any idea how massive investments currently are into Colombia? Did you know Bogota alone has a metro population of twice that of all of Nicaragua, not to mention a far greater GDP?

    And you are inaccurate with your review of Colombia’s mega-railway project. While topography is indeed often challenging for some projects, this new route would not be thus impacted, as this part of Colombia is not so mountainous. The route will actually be far shorter than the Nicaraguan option, as it is in Colombia’s thin isthmus border with Panama (where the Caribbean and Pacific are closest), and best of all, there is no danger of nationalization!