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  Introduction Back To Top

In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, Paraguay won large, economically important areas from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since then.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.49 cu km/yr (20%/8%/71%)
per capita: 80 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
336 cu km (2000)

Land boundaries:
total: 3,995 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,365 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west

Map references:
South America

Geographic coordinates:
23 00 S, 58 00 W

Natural resources:
hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m

grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere

Geography - note:
landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country

total: 406,750 sq km
land: 397,300 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km

Central South America, northeast of Argentina

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than California

Irrigated land:
670 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)

Land use:
arable land: 7.47%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 92.29% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.8 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
15,000 (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.56 years
male: 72.99 years
female: 78.26 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%

Median age:
total: 21.7 years
male: 21.5 years
female: 22 years (2008 est.)

6,831,306 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4% of GDP (2004)

Population growth rate:
2.39% (2008 est.)

Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Death rate:
4.49 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 25.55 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
600 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.9% (male 1,283,311/female 1,240,769)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 1,988,256/female 1,968,869)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 161,811/female 188,290) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
28.47 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9%, none 1.1% (2002 census)

noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
Ambassador Liliana AYALDE
embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion
mailing address: Unit 4711, APO AA 34036-0001
telephone: [595] (21) 213-715
FAX: [595] (21) 228-603

National holiday:
Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May)

18 years of age; universal and compulsory up to age 75

Government type:
constitutional republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Ahorristas Estafados or AE; National Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations or MCNOC [Luis AGUAYO]; National Federation of Campesinos or FNC [Odilon ESPINOLA]; National Workers Central or CNT [Secretary General Juan TORRALES]; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT; Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT [Jorge Guzman ALVARENGA Malgarejo]

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James SPALDING Hellmers
chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX: [1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, Miami, New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 15, PLRA 14, UNACE 9, PPQ 4, other 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 30, PLRA 27, UNACE 15, PPQ 3, APC 2, other 3

Legal system:
based on Argentine codes, Roman law, and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears the seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles)

14 May 1811 (from Spain)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay

Political parties and leaders:
Alianza Patriotica por el Cambio (Patriotic Alliance for Change) or APC [Fernando LUGO]; Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Lilian SAMANIEGO]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Lino Cesar OVIEDO Silva]; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PPQ [Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella]; Partido del Movimiento al Socialismo or P-MAS; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Emilio CAMACHO Paredes]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Gustavo CARDOZO]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]

name: Asuncion
geographic coordinates: 25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

promulgated 20 June 1992

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Federico FRANCO (since 15 August 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Federico FRANCO (since 15 August 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held April 2013)
election results: Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez elected president; percent of vote - Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez 40.8%, Blanca OVELAR 30.6%, Lino OVIEDO 21.9%, Pedro FADUL 2.4%, other 4.3%

Administrative divisions:
17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges appointed on the proposal of the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Argentina 28.1%, Uruguay 15.2%, Brazil 12.7%, Chile 5.9%, Germany 4.9%, Russia 4.5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
6 billion kWh (2007)

Central bank discount rate:
20% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007)

Current account balance:
$178 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$3.487 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
5.4% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,300 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
20.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$2.457 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.11 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$16.36 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56.8 (2008)

Exchange rates:
guarani (PYG) per US dollar - 4,337.7 (2008 est.), 5,031 (2007), 5,672.8 (2006), 6,178 (2005), 5,974.6 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.943 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
2.839 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Brazil 30.4%, US 22.8%, Argentina 14.4%, China 8.6% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 23.1%
industry: 17.2%
services: 59.6% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
25,940 bbl/day (2007)

$6.901 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
guarani (PYG)

Economy - overview:
Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector, featuring reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure. The economy rebounded between 2003 and 2008, however, as growing world demand for commodities combined with high prices and favorable weather to support Paraguay's commodity-based export expansion. Paraguay is the sixth largest soy producer in the world.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts

sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power

Electricity - exports:
64 billion kWh (2007)

Population below poverty line:
32% (2005 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
25.03% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$1.368 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
70 billion kWh (2007)

$7.351 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 31%
industry: 17%
services: 52% (2007)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2007 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.629 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
27,410 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Public debt:
22.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$2.057 million (2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$233.8 million (2005)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 46.1% (2003)

Exports - commodities:
soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, electricity, wood, leather

Economic aid - recipient:
$51.09 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0%
hydro: 99.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.1% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $2.939 billion
expenditures: $2.866 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
280,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
453,800 (2007)

990,000 (2001)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 41, FM 121, shortwave 6 (3 inactive) (2006)

925,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.33 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
5 (2007)

Telephone system:
general assessment: meager telephone service; principal switching center is in Asuncion
domestic: the fixed-line market is a state monopoly; deficiencies in provision of fixed-line service have resulted in a rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services fostered by competition among multiple providers
international: country code - 595; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)

Internet hosts:
19,691 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

3,100 km (2008)

total: 36 km
standard gauge: 36 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion

Merchant marine:
total: 23
by type: cargo 18, carrier 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Argentina 5, Netherlands 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2007)

total: 29,500 km
paved: 14,986 km
unpaved: 14,514 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 825
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 267
under 914 m: 532 (2007)

838 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,589,873
females age 16-49: 1,585,573 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,327,730
females age 16-49: 1,356,989 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, General Naval Prefecture), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 72,109
female: 70,509 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations

Illicit drugs:
major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which is consumed in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; transshipment country for Andean cocaine headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, and Europe; weak border controls, extensive corruption and money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement

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