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.”
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.