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Long-term development assistance
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas, next after Haiti. Almost one out of six Nicaraguans live on less than US$1.25/day. Nicaragua ranks 129 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index.
Most of Nicaragua's rural poor live in the vast, dry central region, where natural resources are limited, land has been overexploited, and water and electricity are scarce. Small-scale farmers and landless farm workers are the most vulnerable. Families live on marginal land. They depend on agriculture for their livelihood and devote two thirds of their meagre income to purchasing food.
The country has experienced some of the highest food price increases in Latin America because of the 2008 global economic crisis and earlier natural disasters.
The administration of public institutions and the management of the economy and the national budget are steadily improving. But the commitment to democracy, human rights and rule of law is being questioned by civil society and the media.
The country is making progress on the Millennium Development Goal targets of achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women and reducing child mortality. It faces challenges, however, in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability. Nicaragua is vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, which regularly plague the country and jeopardize development gains in poor rural areas.
Canada's international development assistance program in Nicaragua is closely aligned with Nicaragua's National Human Development Plan for the 2009-2011 period. This plan focuses on:
The goal of Canada's international development program in Nicaragua is to help the country improve sustainable economic growth and increase food security.
Canada supports efforts to help Nicaragua increase the income of the rural poor by improving productivity and competitiveness. This support includes increasing access to electricity and improving sustainable management of resources by local authorities.
Canada focuses on helping Nicaragua increase agricultural productivity to improve food security for rural households. Sound agricultural practices that stabilize the soil and prevent landslides are being integrated into all activities to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters.
Nicaragua adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Donors are harmonizing their efforts—particularly in the education sector, where Canada manages a $45 million contribution from the Netherlands. Canada also manages a $4 million contribution from Denmark in watershed management. The Government of Nicaragua works very closely with donors in demonstrating local ownership, managing for results and ensuring donor alignment with its National Human Development Plan. In particular, Nicaragua's stable and experienced civil service is actively engaged in implementing aid effectiveness principles.
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