Nicaragua’s regime, led by Daniel Ortega, has announced an ambitious new prize combo that includes the replacement of the country’s only international airport, the construction of a railway, two hydroelectric plants, and the continuation of the replacement of public transport buses. The total value of this combo has not been disclosed, but it is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
The new airport, which is estimated to cost close to $500 million, is set to be completed in four years. The hydroelectric plants, Tumarín and Mojolka, have projected costs of $1.1 billion and $251.3 million respectively. The railway projects are still under evaluation, but a similar project in Costa Rica was estimated to cost $1.55 billion for an 84-kilometer coverage. The expansion of the Costanera highway could cost around $400 million.
These projects are part of the collaboration agreements signed between Nicaragua and China at the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. The agreements include partnerships with Chinese state companies for the airport expansion, railway construction, road projects, and the acquisition of buses. However, the researchers note that many of these collaboration agreements do not materialize.
The new airport will be designed, acquired, constructed, and equipped by CAMCE Engineering, a Chinese state company. The expansion will allow for larger aircraft to land and take off without weight restrictions, and the terminal will have a parking lot for over a thousand vehicles. The transfer to the new airport is necessary due to the limited capacity of the current Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.
The list of agreements also includes the studies and design for a railway line covering the Managua-Masaya-Granada route and a railway master plan for the Managua-Corinto-Bluefields route. The financing for these projects is not mentioned. The agreements for the highway expansion aim to seek financing for the construction. Additionally, a deal was made to acquire 500 buses in 2023 and 2,000 buses in 2024.
While China’s collaboration in the region has decreased in recent years, Nicaragua continues to receive promises of investment. The delivery of Chinese financing has reduced, and many countries in the region are unable to take on the high debts. However, time will tell if these promises will be fulfilled or if they will join the list of failed projects in Nicaragua.