Nicaragua - Infrastructure, power, and communications

The country's infrastructure has improved since 1990, but it still needs considerable upgrades and improvements. Nicaragua has 16,382 kilometers (10,180 miles) of roadways, including 1,818 kilometers (1,130 miles) of paved roads. Only about one-third of all roads are considered to be in good condition, while the remaining two-thirds are only in marginal or poor condition. The country spends less on highway construction than any other Latin American country.

Nicaragua has no major rail lines. The country does have 2,220 kilometers (1,380 miles) of navigable waterways and there is considerable traffic on some of these routes. The government has entered into a US$1.5 billion agreement with a private consortium to allow the construction of a 377-kilometer (234-mile) railway system from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific region and the development of 2 ports. Air traffic has increased dramatically in Nicaragua. The nation has 182 airports, but only 11 have paved runways. Managua International Airport in the capital is the largest airfield.

The nation is dependent on energy imports, mainly oil. In 1998, total electric production in Nicaragua was 2.714 kWh. Fossil fuels provided 53.43 percent of energy use, while hydroelectric provided 35.34 percent. The country's telephone system is operated by the government-owned company ENITEL. Private companies have been granted licenses to provide cellular service. In 1998, there were 10,000 mobile phones in use. Telephone-density is currently only 3 phones per 100 people. Nicaragua now has 5 Internet service providers.

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