Enrique Bolaños speech at COSEP-AMCHAM-FUNIDES Business Encounter in Montefresco

12 de Septiembre 2019

September 11, 2019

Good morning, friends of COSEP, AMCHAM and FUNIDES. First of all I want to greet José Adán, Michael, and Álvaro and tell them we are glad that they are well. It is sad to see such vandalism in Nicaragua today.

I was pleased to receive all of you here eight months ago and today I welcome you back again to INCAE. As I told you back then, I would have loved to discuss how INCAE can support you on innovation, entrepreneurship, or the coming technological revolution. Unfortunately, today is not the day to discuss those issues. The topic is again the current crisis in our history.

We are facing a national crisis in every possible aspect. We all know it. There is no need to explain it. As a consequence, we are undergoing a tragedy with a high level of unemployment and an economy rapidly deteriorating. It is urgent to solve this crisis to bring peace, tranquility and development back to Nicaragua.

As we face these huge challenges, I ask you to consider what comes next. What type of country do we want to build? We at INCAE believe that the future of Nicaragua, and that of all our countries, must rest on four pillars:

  1. Creation of solid democratic institutions.
  2. Strengthening of business climate.
  3. Social progress.
  4. And perhaps most important of all, promotion of ethics and transparence in all we do.

By institutionality I mean, among other things, a transparent, modern, effective executive branch of the government, an independent judicial branch, efficient, honest electoral authorities, a representative congress, modern political parties, and an active civil society.

In relation to business climate we must all understand, as a society, that economic development will boost citizen well-being. We need a competitive, modern economy that takes advantage of the proximity to the American market to bring us to the 21st century. We need to create the conditions required to attract investment.

By social progress I mean issues such as health, education, opportunities, freedom, and personal rights for all citizens. And as you know well, this will not be achieved without honesty, without good use of scarce resources, and without transparency.

We know how easy it is to destroy the development of a country. We went through this in the late 70s and during the 80s. But even more, we know how difficult it is to build a country. We have been through that for the last 30 years. Today we have again an economy in the process of destruction. In the wake of our political problems, today, 40 years after Somoza fell, we are at the economic level we were 60 years ago. No wonder our people see no future in Nicaragua.

In the 70s COSIP alerted the country. In the 80s COSEP was a light that gave hope. To a large extent, it was the democratic union forum that helped lead us to the changes in 1990. Over the last 10 years, COSEP led an effort that led the country to grow over 4.5% per annum. However, that growth was not sustainable and we all know why.

Again it is the private sector's turn to lead this change and the process to strengthen our country. To unite in a country vision based on the four pillars I mentioned before. I feel the country is ready: the youth, the civil society, and the population as a whole.

You have a historical opportunity to be a light and a guide for our citizens. Lead by example. Be the light of institutionality. Let no one question you on this subject. Be the light of values, of honesty and transparency in everything you do. Let's start to change the political culture of our country in this forum. Only then will we build the Nicaragua we dream of and stop going from crisis to crisis. It is time for us to break this cycle forever and encourage the creation of the viable country we all yearn for. 

Welcome again. God bless Nicaragua.