LatinNews Daily - 09 May 2024

In brief: Nicaragua cancels ‘Gran Canal’ concession

*Nicaragua’s 92-member unicameral legislature has approved reforms to the law regulating the ‘Gran Canal’ which would link the country’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts. In 2013 the government led by President Daniel Ortega awarded the US$50bn concession to build, operate, and manage the initiative to a Chinese company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND). However, the project failed to materialise and HKND has since been dissolved. The reforms approved yesterday revoke the law (840) which granted the concession to HKND. They also amend the law (800) establishing the autonomous authority of the Gran Canal Interoceánico de Nicaragua (AGCI), the oversight body for the project. Under the changes the AGCI, which previously comprised six board members, will now be headed up by the transport & infrastructure minister as president, with a presidential delegate for the Caribbean coast to serve as vice president, and presidential advisor on investment, Laureano Ortega, the son of President Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, to serve as secretary. The project had proven very contentious amid concerns about the environmental impact, violation of property rights, and lack of transparency surrounding it, among other complaints.

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