Colombia facts on every entity in the world

Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A five-decade-long conflict between government forces and antigovernment insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia as a formal organization had ceased to function. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, emerging criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, but continue attacks against civilians. Large areas of the countryside are under guerrilla influence or are contested by security forces. In November 2012, the Colombian Government started formal peace negotiations with the FARC aimed at reaching a definitive bilateral cease-fire and incorporating demobilized FARC members into mainstream society and politics. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.



Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates

4.00° N, 72.00° W

Area 26/257

total: 1,138,910 sq km

land: 1,038,700 sq km

water: 100,210 sq km

note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 6,672 km

border countries (5): Brazil 1,790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1,494 km, Venezuela 2,341 km


3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands


flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m

note: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 37.5%

arable land 1.4%; permanent crops 1.6%; permanent pasture 34.5%

forest: 54.4%

other: 8.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10,900 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

2,132 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 12.65 cu km/yr (55%/4%/41%)

per capita: 308 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards

highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

volcanism: Galeras (elev. 4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (elev. 5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

People and Society


noun: Colombian(s)

adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups

mestizo and white 84.2%, Afro-Colombian (includes multatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 10.4%, Amerindian 3.4%, Roma <.01 unspecified est.>


Spanish (official)


Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%

Population 30/238

46,736,728 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.94% (male 5,967,860/female 5,688,106)

15-24 years: 17.81% (male 4,234,564/female 4,087,134)

25-54 years: 41.71% (male 9,653,094/female 9,841,546)

55-64 years: 8.62% (male 1,885,481/female 2,141,618)

65 years and over: 6.93% (male 1,349,613/female 1,887,712) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.6%

youth dependency ratio: 35.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 10.2%

potential support ratio: 9.8% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 29.3 years

male: 28.3 years

female: 30.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 115/233

1.04% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 114/224

16.47 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 177/225

5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 141/222

-0.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 76.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BOGOTA (capital) 9.765 million; Medellin 3.911 million; Cali 2.646 million; Barranquilla 1.991 million; Bucaramanga 1.215 million; Cartagena 1.092 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 80/184

64 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 106/224

total: 14.58 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 17.68 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 98/224

total population: 75.48 years

male: 72.34 years

female: 78.8 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 117/224

2.04 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

79.1% (2009/10)

Health expenditures 85/191

6.8% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.47 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source


urban: 96.8% of population

rural: 73.8% of population

total: 91.4% of population


urban: 3.2% of population

rural: 26.2% of population

total: 8.6% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 85.2% of population

rural: 67.9% of population

total: 81.1% of population


urban: 14.8% of population

rural: 32.1% of population

total: 18.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.4% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

124,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

4,700 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 112/191

20.7% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 108/138

3.4% (2010)

Education expenditures 95/173

4.9% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 50/134

total: 19.1%

male: 14.6%

female: 25.4% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia

conventional short form: Colombia

local long form: Republica de Colombia

local short form: Colombia

etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS

Government type

republic; executive branch dominates government structure


name: Bogota

geographic coordinates: 4.36° N, 74.05° W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, Archipielago de San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina (colloquially San Andres y Providencia), Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada


20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)


several previous; latest promulgated 5 July 1991; amended many times, last in 2012 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Colombia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President German VARGAS Lleras (since 7 August 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President German VARGAS Lleras (since 7 August 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed for a 4-year term; election last held on 25 May 2014 with a runoff election 15 on June 2014 (next to be held on 27 May 2018); note - recent political reform eliminated presidential reelection; beginning in 2018, presidents can only serve one four-year term

election results: Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon reelected president in runoff; percent of vote - Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (U Party) 51.0%, Oscar Ivan ZULUAGA (CD) 45.0%, other 4.0%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; 100 members elected nationally - not by district or state - and two elected on a special ballot for indigenous communities to serve 4-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - U Party 21, CD 20, PC 18, PL 17, CR 9, PDA 5, Green Party 5, other 7; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 39, U Party 37, PC 27, CD 19, CR 16, Green Party 6, PDA 3, other 19

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 31 members); Superior Judiciary Council (consists of 13 magistrates)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Supreme Court members from candidates submitted by the Superior Judiciary Council; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Constitutional Court magistrates - nominated by the president, by the Supreme Court, and elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Council of State members appointed by the State Council plenary from lists nominated by the Superior Judiciary Council

subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts

Political parties and leaders

Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Clara LOPEZ]

Conservative Party or PC [David BARGUIL]

Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez, Oscar Ivan ZULUAGA]

Green Alliance [Jorge LONDONO, Antonio SANGUINO, Luis AVELLANEDA, Camilo ROMERO]

Liberal Party or PL [Horacio SERPA]

Citizens Option (Opcion Ciudadana) or OC (formerly known as the National Integration Party or PIN) [Angel ALIRIO Moreno]

Radical Change or CR [Carlos Fernando GALAN]

Social National Unity Party or U Party [Roy BARRERAS, Jose David NAME]

note: Colombia has eight major political parties, and numerous smaller movements

Political pressure groups and leaders

Central Union of Workers or CUT

Colombian Confederation of Workers or CTC

General Confederation of Workers or CGT

National Liberation Army or ELN

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC

note: FARC and ELN are the two largest insurgent groups active in Colombia

International organization participation

BCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830; various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in attaining freedom; alternatively, the colors have been described as representing more elemental concepts such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), loyalty and vigilance (blue), and valor and generosity (red); or simply the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity

note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

National symbol(s)

Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)

lyrics/music: Rafael NUNEZ/Oreste SINDICI

note: adopted 1920; the anthem was created from an inspirational poem written by President Rafael NUNEZ


Economy - overview

Colombia's consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years have bolstered its ability to weather external shocks. Colombia depends heavily on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to a drop in commodity prices. Colombia is the world's fourth largest coal exporter and Latin America's fourth largest oil producer. Economic development is stymied by inadequate infrastructure, inequality, poverty, narco-trafficking and an uncertain security situation. Moreover, the unemployment rate of 9.4% in 2015 is still one of Latin America's highest.

Real GDP has grown more than 4% per year for the past four years, continuing almost a decade of strong economic performance. All three major ratings agencies have upgraded Colombia's government debt to investment grade, which helped to attract record levels of investment in 2013 and 2014, mostly in the hydrocarbons sector. However, lower oil prices led to a drop in foreign direct investment in 2015, prompting the SANTOS administration to consider making investment terms more attractive. In 2014, Colombia passed a tax reform bill to offset the lost revenue from the global drop in oil prices. The SANTOS administration is also using tax reform to help finance implementation of a peace deal between FARC and the government. Colombian officials estimate a peace deal may bolster economic growth by up to 2%.

The SANTOS Administration's foreign policy has focused on bolstering Colombia's commercial ties and boosting investment at home. Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; the US-Colombia FTA went into force on May 2012. Colombia is also a founding member of the Pacific Alliance - a regional grouping formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote regional trade and economic integration. In 2013, Colombia began its ascension process to the OECD.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 32/230

$665 billion (2015 est.)

$648.8 billion (2014 est.)

$620.5 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$274.2 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 123/225

2.5% (2015 est.)

4.6% (2014 est.)

4.9% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 113/230

$14,000 (2015 est.)

$13,600 (2014 est.)

$13,000 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 98/179

17.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

20.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

20.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 62.2%

government consumption: 18.9%

investment in fixed capital: 26%

investment in inventories: 0.4%

exports of goods and services: 17.7%

imports of goods and services: -25.2%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.4%

industry: 36.9%

services: 56.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; shrimp; forest products


textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

Industrial production growth rate 57/202

4% (2015 est.)

Labor force 28/233

24.34 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 17%

industry: 21%

services: 62% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate 108/207

9.4% (2015 est.)

9.1% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

32.7% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.1%

highest 10%: 42% (2012 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 13/144

53.5 (2012)

56.9 (1996)


revenues: $80.38 billion

expenditures: $86.79 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 87/219

29.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 85/220

-2.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 91/176

46.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

46% of GDP (2014 est.)

note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 164/226

4.4% (2015 est.)

2.9% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 80/156

4.75% (31 December 2011)

5% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 73/184

11.2% (31 December 2015 est.)

10.87% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 58/192

$33.86 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$39.27 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 44/193

$177.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$161.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 47/191

$155.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$150.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 32/121

$262.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$201.3 billion (31 December 2011)

$208.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 184/197

-$16.93 billion (2015 est.)

-$19.55 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 52/224

$48.52 billion (2015 est.)

$57.03 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel

Exports - partners

US 26.3%, China 10.5%, Panama 6.6%, Spain 5.8%, India 5.1% (2014)

Imports 48/223

$56.05 billion (2015 est.)

$61.61 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity

Imports - partners

US 28.5%, China 18.4%, Mexico 8.2% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 41/170

$45.02 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$46.81 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 51/206

$101.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$91.98 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 35/120

$154.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$141.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 41/105

$45.58 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$43.08 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Colombian pesos (COP) per US dollar -

2,721.9 (2015 est.)

2,001.1 (2014 est.)

2,001.1 (2013 est.)

1,798 (2012 est.)

1,848 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 48/220

57.81 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 49/219

49.38 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 58/218

715 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 110/219

6.5 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 49/214

14.61 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 178/214

32.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 71/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 28/214

67.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 100/212

0.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 20/214

989,900 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 21/214

624,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 175/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 34/215

2.445 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 41/214

340,400 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 39/212

324,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 45/214

96,530 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 70/213

65,110 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 43/216

10.2 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 51/215

7.609 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 35/215

2.591 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 181/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 46/212

198.4 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 49/212

74.9 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 24/219

total subscriptions: 7.2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 28/217

total: 55.3 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system in many respects with a nationwide microwave radio relay system, a domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations, and a fiber-optic network linking 50 cities; telecommunications sector liberalized during the 1990s; multiple providers of both fixed-line and mobile-cellular services

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 15 per 100 persons; mobile cellular telephone subscribership is about 100 per 100 persons; competition among cellular service providers is resulting in falling local and international calling rates and contributing to the steep decline in the market share of fixed-line services

international: country code - 57; multiple submarine cable systems provide links to the US, parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 10 (6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 3 fully digitalized international switching centers) (2011)

Broadcast media

combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media provide service; more than 500 radio stations and many national, regional, and local TV stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 454, FM 34, shortwave 27 (1999)

Television broadcast stations

60 (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 24/232

4.41 million (2012)

Internet users 25/217

total: 24.3 million

percent of population: 52.4% (2014 est.)


Airports 8/236

836 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 121

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 9

1,524 to 2,437 m: 39

914 to 1,523 m: 53

under 914 m: 18 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 715

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 25

914 to 1,523 m: 201

under 914 m: 488 (2013)


3 (2013)


gas 4,991 km; oil 6,796 km; refined products 3,429 km (2013)

Railways 95/136

total: 874 km

standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 724 km 0.914-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 34/223

total: 141,374 km (2010)

Waterways 6/107

24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012)

Merchant marine 105/156

total: 12

by type: cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 2

registered in other countries: 4 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 2, Portugal 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Cartagena, Santa Marta, Turbo; Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura

river port(s): Barranquilla (Rio Magdalena)

oil terminal(s): Covenas offshore terminal

dry bulk cargo port(s): Puerto Bolivar (coal)

container port(s) (TEUs): Cartagena (1,853,342)

Military and Security

Military branches

National Army (Ejercito Nacional), Republic of Colombia Navy (Armada Republica de Colombia, ARC, includes Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry (Infanteria de Marina, IM), and Coast Guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC) (2012)

Military service age and obligation

18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation is 18 months (2012)

Military expenditures 17/132

3.28% of GDP (2012)

3.06% of GDP (2011)

3.63% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

in December 2007, ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as maritime boundary with Nicaragua; managed dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all neighboring borders and have caused Colombian citizens to flee mostly into neighboring countries; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 6.3 million (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and drug traffickers since 1985; about 300,000 new IDPs each year since 2000) (2015)

stateless persons: 12 (2014)

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 83,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2011, a 17% decrease over 2010, producing a potential of 195 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2012, aerial eradication dispensed herbicide to treat over 100,549 hectares combined with manual eradication of 30,486 hectares; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; important supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation is estimated to have fallen to 1,100 hectares in 2009 while pure heroin production declined to 2.1 mt; most Colombian heroin is destined for the US market (2013)