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The rapid growth of Managua, with the corresponding excessive concentration of population, services and other activities was made evident when the center of the city was destroyed by the earthquake of December 23, 1972. As result, the Government of Nicaragua decided to place the reconstruction of Managua within a regional framework and requested the General Secretariat of the OAS to establish a program for the decentralization and development of the Pacific Region.

The studies presented in this report were made during the period 1974/76. under the supervision of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Economy. Industry and Commerce and the Program of Regional Development of the OAS. The operation was carried out by a Technical Unit comprised of Nicaraguan and OAS specialists.

This report contains a diagnosis of the factors which impeded the development of the region and which favored concentration and centralization in Managua: it also offers a detailed analysis of the region's potential development. To promote a reorganization of population settlements and the distribution of economic activities, infrastructure and public facilities in the seven departments that make up the region, this report presents several alternatives of population and economic growth and establishes a strategy of decentralization and development which would reduce the risks of excessive concentration in the nation's capital and take greater advantage of regional potentials

This strategy is based on concrete short, medium and long term action programs which specify sectoral and spatial priorities. A new agroindustrial and industrial pole in the north of the region, various priority zones and a hierarchical system of urban centers are proposed, in order to decentralize Managua and regulate its growth.

Within this framework, several integrated and interrelated projects are identified at the prefeasibility level in the fields of agriculture, irrigation, agroindustry. industry, transportation and urban facilities Special attention was given to the preparation of health, education. and job training proposals as well as others referred to development financing the required institutional organization and other necessary incentives

The methodology followed in the preparation of projects and proposals pinpoints the identification of priority areas with development possibilities outside the main urban center. It also leads to the selection of a set of both spatially and sectorally interlocking actions. It is hoped that such a method will be of use to those Latin American countries presently engaged in the design and practical implementation of a strategy of decentralization and regional development.

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