Nicaragua on Sunday began building thousands of subsidized housing units with Chinese aid in the first such major project since the countries established diplomatic relations in 2021.
The plan — launched with China’s International Development Cooperation Agency, whose director Luo Zhaohui arrived in Nicaragua Friday — calls for building just over 12,000 housing units around the country.
“This is a truly historic day. This is a program that is going to benefit thousands of Nicaraguan families,” Laureano Ortega Murillo, a presidential adviser on trade and investment and the son of Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Nicaragua and China established diplomatic relations in 2021 after Managua severed ties with Taiwan and switched its recognition to Beijing.
Since then the two sides have signed memoranda to promote Chinese investment in the impoverished Central American country.
In addition to the $60 million housing project, China has said it will also build power plants and has other plans in the areas of culture, health and education, among others.
Chinese diplomacy has made headway in Central America, most recently in March when Honduras switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
The move prompted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to visit Guatemala and Belize, its only remaining allies in the region, two weeks ago.