In the 16 years, Nicaragua has improved many economic problems. For example, the government privatized many institutions and dramatically reduced inflation. Additionally, the democratic administrations of the past years have successfully lowered the national debt by half. In 2006, the economy experienced a GDP growth rate of 3.7%. However, Nicaragua still remains one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Unemployment is high and the distribution of wealth is extremely unequal. Therefore, Nicaragua still has a great amount of growth left in its future and is receiving significant external assistance in hopes of speeding the country's recovery.
Of Nicaragua's GDP, agriculture accounts for 17.3% and nearly 30% of the country's 2.26 million person labor force. Nicaragua's agricultural products include coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans, beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, and lobster. Many of these products are exported to countries such as the United States, El Salvador, and Honduras. However, the United States accounts for a huge majority now that Nicaragua has entered into the American free trade agreement known as CAFTA.
Industry in Nicaragua accounts for nearly 26% of the country's GDP as well as 19% of the labor force. Industrial commodities produced include food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, and wood.
Finally, services within Nicaragua account for the bulk of the GDP at nearly 60%. Likewise, this sector accounts for 52% of the labor force. Some 60,000 Americans visit Nicaragua every year, which shows that its tourism sector has definitely grown as one of the most important services offered.
Though Nicaragua continues to struggle in improving its economic status, the country has made some very significant changes during the past 16 years. With their continued efforts as well as those from other aiding countries, Nicaragua will continue to experience economic growth.