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The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999.
Geography Ecuador
Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Geographic coordinates:
2 00 S, 77 30 W
Map references:
South America
total: 283,560 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
water: 6,720 sq km
land: 276,840 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Nevada
Land boundaries:
total: 2,010 km
border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km
2,237 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 200 NM
continental shelf: 100 NM from 2,500 meter isobath
tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 5.69%
permanent crops: 5.15%
other: 89.16% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
8,650 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
People Ecuador
13,212,742 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.9% (male 2,285,775; female 2,199,356)
15-64 years: 61.2% (male 4,020,873; female 4,062,672)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 302,129; female 341,937) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 23 years
male: 22.5 years
female: 23.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.03% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
23.18 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-8.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 29.34 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.01 years
male: 73.15 years
female: 79 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.78 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
20,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,700 (2001 est.)
noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Roman Catholic 95%
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.5%
male: 94%
female: 91% (2003 est.)
Government Ecuador
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
22 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe
24 May 1822 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
10 August 1998
Legal system:
based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lucio GUTIERREZ (since 15 January 2003); Vice President Alfredo PALACIO (since 15 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year term (no reelection); election last held 20 October 2002; runoff election held 24 November 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)
head of government: President Lucio GUTIERREZ (since 15 January 2003); Vice President Alfredo PALACIO (since 15 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
election results: results of the 24 November 2002 runoff election - Lucio GUTIERREZ elected president; percent of vote - Lucio GUTIERREZ 54.3%; Alvaro NOBOA 45.7%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (100 seats; members are popularly elected by province to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PSC 25, PRE 15, ID 16, PRIAN 10, PSP 9, Pachakutik Movement 6, MPD 5, DP 4, PS-FA 3, independents 7; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court)
Political parties and leaders:
Concentration of Popular Forces or CFP [Averroes BUCARAM]; Democratic Left or ID [Rodrigo BORJA Cevallos]; National Action Institutional Renewal Party or PRIAN [Alvaro NOBOA]; Pachakutik Movement [Gilberto TALAHUA]; Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Lucio GUTIERREZ Borbua]; Popular Democracy or DP [Dr. Juan Manuel FUERTES]; Popular Democratic Movement or MPD [Gustavo TERAN Acosta]; Radical Alfarista Front or FRA [Fabian ALARCON, director]; Roldosist Party or PRE [Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz, director]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO]; Socialist Party - Broad Front or PS-FA [Victor GRANDA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Leonidas IZA, president]; Coordinator of Social Movements or CMS [F. Napoleon SANTOS]; Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Marco MURILLO, president]; National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN [Pedro DE LA CRUZ, president]; Popular Front or FP [Luis VILLACIS]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Raul GANGOTENA Rivadeneira
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kristie Anne KENNEY
embassy: Avenida 12 de Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito
mailing address: APO AA 34039
telephone: [593] (2) 256-2890
FAX: [593] (2) 250-2052
consulate(s) general: Guayaquil
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms
Economy Ecuador
Economy - overview:
Ecuador has substantial petroleum resources, which have accounted for 40% of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. Consequently, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered its worst economic crisis, with natural disasters and sharp declines in world petroleum prices driving Ecuador's economy into free fall in 1999. Real GDP contracted by more than 6%, with poverty worsening significantly. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. The currency depreciated by some 70% in 1999, and, on the brink of hyperinflation, the MAHAUD government announced it would dollarize the economy. A coup, however, ousted MAHAUD from office in January 2000, and after a short-lived junta failed to garner military support, Vice President Gustavo NOBOA took over the presidency. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided the framework for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and growth returned to its pre-crisis levels in the years that followed. Under the administration of Lucio GUTIERREZ, who took office in January 2003, Ecuador benefited from higher world petroleum prices, but the government has made little progress on fiscal reforms and reforms of state-owned enterprises necessary to reduce Ecuador's vulnerability to petroleum price swings and financial crises. The government is using oil revenues to pay off Ecuador's massive foreign debt and has secured a new standby agreement with the IMF.
purchasing power parity - $45.46 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,300 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 33%
services: 56% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
65% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 33.8% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
43.7 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.1% (yearend 2003 est.)
Labor force:
3.8 million (urban) (2002)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
9.8%; note - underemployment of 47% (2003 est.)
revenues: $6.3 billion
expenditures: planned $5.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2002)
petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate:
5% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
75.23 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 19%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
69.96 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
421,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
129,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Oil - proved reserves:
2.358 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
160 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
160 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
106.5 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
$6.073 billion (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp
Exports - partners:
US 40.3%, Colombia 5.8%, Germany 5.4%, South Korea 5.3%, Italy 4.6% (2002)
$6.22 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods, industrial raw materials, capital goods
Imports - partners:
US 26.8%, Colombia 13.6%, Brazil 6.5%, Venezuela 5.7%, Japan 5.7%, Chile 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$14.4 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$120 million (2001)
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Ecuador formally adopted the US dollar as legal tender in March 2000
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Ecuador
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,426,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,560,900 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: facilities generally inadequate and unreliable
international: country code - 593; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
5 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2001)
2.5 million (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2,648 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
31 (2001)
Internet users:
537,900 (2002)
Transportation Ecuador
total: 966 km
narrow gauge: 966 km 1.067-m gauge (2002)
total: 43,197 km
paved: 8,164 km
unpaved: 35,033 km (2000)
1,500 km
gas 71 km; oil 1,575 km; refined products 1,185 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar, San Lorenzo
Merchant marine:
total: 34 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 241,403 GRT/391,898 DWT
foreign-owned: Greece 1, Paraguay 1, Peru 1
registered in other countries: 3 (2003 est.)
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger 5, petroleum tanker 21, specialized tanker 1
205 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 61
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 18 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 144
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 113 (2003 est.)
1 (2003 est.)
Military Ecuador
Military branches:
Army, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, National Police
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,440,371 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,315,808 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 132,476 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$650 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.4% (2003)
Transnational Issues Ecuador
Disputes - international:
the continuing civil disorder in Colombia has created a serious refugee crisis in neighboring states, especially Ecuador
Illicit drugs:
significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; attractive location for cash-placement by drug traffickers laundering money because of dollarization and weak anti-money-laundering regime, especially vulnerable along the border with Colombia; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents