Nicaragua is a multicultural, multi-ethnic country of more than six million inhabitants, of whom 15 per cent are indigenous peoples.
Although it is one of the poorest countries in Central America, the economy has been growing thanks to strong policies, foreign trade and tourism. However there are major inequalities: 30 per cent of the population live in extreme poverty (earning less than £1.45 per day) – four fifths of these live in rural areas.
The past 40 years have been marred by civil war and natural disasters, which have hindered Nicaragua’s development. In particular, Hurricane Mitch, which tore through the country in 1998, killed thousands and left one fifth of the population homeless.
As one of Latin America’s least developed countries, access to basic services, including healthcare and education, remains severely limited.