Paraguay

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Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of its adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. 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 the country's return to democracy.

Geography

Location

Central South America, northeast of Argentina, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates

23.00° S, 58.00° W

Area 60/257

total: 406,752 sq km

land: 397,302 sq km

water: 9,450 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries

total: 4,655 km

border countries (3): Argentina 2,531 km, Bolivia 753 km, Brazil 1,371 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

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

Terrain

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

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m

highest point: Cerro Pero 842 m

Natural resources

hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 53.8%

arable land 10.8%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 42.8%

forest: 43.8%

other: 2.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,362 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

336 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.49 cu km/yr (20%/8%/71%)

per capita: 88.05 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards

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

Environment - current issues

deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands

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

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Paraguayan(s)

adjective: Paraguayan

Ethnic groups

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

Languages

Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Religions

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

Population 105/238

6,783,272 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.59% (male 882,929/female 852,583)

15-24 years: 20.14% (male 687,025/female 679,420)

25-54 years: 40.04% (male 1,359,281/female 1,356,663)

55-64 years: 7.48% (male 259,086/female 248,636)

65 years and over: 6.75% (male 213,907/female 243,742) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.6%

youth dependency ratio: 47.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 9.4%

potential support ratio: 10.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 27.3 years

male: 27 years

female: 27.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 104/233

1.16% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 116/224

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

Death rate 198/225

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

Net migration rate 115/222

-0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 59.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

ASUNCION (capital) 2.356 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.9

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 73/184

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

Infant mortality rate 86/224

total: 20.05 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 23.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 74/224

total population: 76.99 years

male: 74.34 years

female: 79.77 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 136/224

1.91 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

79.4%

note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2008)

Health expenditures 21/191

9% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.23 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 94.9% of population

total: 98% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 5.1% of population

total: 2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 95.5% of population

rural: 78.4% of population

total: 88.6% of population

unimproved:

urban: 4.5% of population

rural: 21.6% of population

total: 11.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.41% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

16,800 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

400 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 110/191

15.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 105/138

3.4% (2005)

Education expenditures 84/173

5% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 12 years (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 95/134

total: 10.5%

male: 8.9%

female: 13% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay

conventional short form: Paraguay

local long form: Republica del Paraguay

local short form: Paraguay

etymology: the precice meaning of the name Paraguay is unclear, but it seems to derive from the river of the same name; one explanation has the name meaning "water of the Payagua" (an indigenous tribe that lived along the river)

Government type

constitutional republic

Capital

name: Asuncion

geographic coordinates: 25.16° S, 57.40° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends fourth Sunday in March

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

Independence

14 May 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May)

Constitution

several previous; latest approved and promulgated 20 June 1992; amended 2011, 2014 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system with influences from Argentine, Spanish, Roman, and French civil law models; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: at least one parent must be a native-born citizen of Paraguay

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 75

Executive branch

chief of state: President Horacio CARTES Jara (since 15 August 2013); Vice President Juan AFARA Maciel (since 15 August 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Horacio CARTES Jara (since 15 August 2013); Vice President Juan AFARA Maciel (since 15 August 2013)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a single 5-year term; election last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018)

election results: Horacio CARTES elected president; percent of vote - Horacio CARTES (ANR) 45.8%, Efrain ALEGRE (PLRA) 36.9%, Mario FERREIRO (AP) 5.9%, Anibal CARRILLO (FG) 3.3%, other 8%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members directly elected in 18 multi-seat constituencies - corresponding to the country's 17 departments and capital city - by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: Chamber of Senators - last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018)

election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 19, PLRA 12, FG 5, PDP 3, Avanza Pais 2, UNACE 2, PEN 1, PPQ 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 44, PLRA 27, Avanza Pais 2, PEN 2, UNACE 2, FG 1, PPQ 1, other 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 justices divided 3 each into the Constitutional Court, Civil and Commercial Chamber, and Criminal Division

judge selection and term of office: justices proposed by the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura, a 6-member independent body, and appointed by the Chamber of Senators with presidential concurrence; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 75

subordinate courts: appellate courts; first instance courts; minor courts, including justices of the peace

Political parties and leaders

Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Pedro ALLIANA]

Avanza Pais coalition [Adolfo FERREIRO]

Broad Front coalition (Frente Guasu) or FG [Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez]

Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Jorge OVIEDO MATTO]

Partido del Movimiento al Socialismo or P-MAS [Camilo Ernesto SOARES Machado]

Partido Democratica Progresista or PDP [Desiree MASI]

Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Fernando CAMACHO Paredes]

Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Miguel ABDON SAGUIER]

Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]

Partido Popular Tekojoja [Sixto PEREIRA]

Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PPQ [Sebastian ACHA]

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]

International organization participation

CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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 a circular seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words PAZ Y JUSTICIA (Peace and Justice)); red symbolizes bravery and patriotism, white represents integrity and peace, and blue denotes liberty and generosity

note: the three color bands resemble those on the flag of the Netherlands; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Saudi Arabia

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

name: "Paraguayos, Republica o muerte!" (Paraguayans, The Republic or Death!)

lyrics/music: Francisco Esteban ACUNA de Figueroa/disputed

note: adopted 1934, in use since 1846; officially adopted following its re-arrangement in 1934

Economy

Economy - overview

Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy distinguished by a large informal sector, featuring re-export 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. The economy grew rapidly between 2003 and 2008 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. Drought hit in 2008, reducing agricultural exports and slowing the economy even before the onset of the global recession. The economy fell 3.8% in 2009, as lower world demand and commodity prices caused exports to contract. The government reacted by introducing fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. Growth resumed in 2010, and has been erratic, although positive, ever since. Severe drought and outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease led to a drop in beef and other agricultural exports.

In addition to the agricultural challenges, political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure are the main obstacles to long-term growth.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 104/230

$60.15 billion (2015 est.)

$58.39 billion (2014 est.)

$54.96 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$29.07 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 100/225

3% (2015 est.)

4.7% (2014 est.)

14% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 139/230

$8,800 (2015 est.)

$8,900 (2014 est.)

$8,500 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 120/179

14.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

16.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

17.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 67.4%

government consumption: 12%

investment in fixed capital: 15.9%

investment in inventories: 0.3%

exports of goods and services: 46.8%

imports of goods and services: -42.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 18.9%

industry: 18.5%

services: 62.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber

Industries

sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, base metals, electric power

Industrial production growth rate 32/202

5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 102/233

3.243 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 26.5%

industry: 18.5%

services: 55% (2008)

Unemployment rate 61/207

5.5% (2015 est.)

5.5% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

34.7% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1%

highest 10%: 41.1% (2010 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 14/144

53.2 (2009)

57.7 (1998)

Budget

revenues: $5.294 billion

expenditures: $6.226 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 172/219

18.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 118/220

-3.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 152/176

19.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

17.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 141/226

3.4% (2015 est.)

5% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 69/156

5.5% (31 December 2012)

6% (31 December 2011)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 11/184

20.6% (31 December 2015 est.)

21.19% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 100/192

$4.747 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.806 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 108/193

$9.483 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$8.546 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 101/191

$12.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$12.15 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 108/121

$962.3 million (31 December 2012 est.)

$958.1 million (31 December 2011)

$42 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 101/197

-$567 million (2015 est.)

$20 million (2014 est.)

Exports 96/224

$8.352 billion (2015 est.)

$9.656 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

soybeans, livestock feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, wood, leather

Exports - partners

Brazil 31.3%, Russia 9.2%, Argentina 8.3%, Chile 6.8%, Netherlands 4.5% (2014)

Imports 100/223

$9.604 billion (2015 est.)

$11.3 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts

Imports - partners

Brazil 25.3%, China 23.8%, Argentina 14.7%, US 7.8% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 88/170

$7.028 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$6.986 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 98/206

$14.76 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$13.43 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 96/120

$6.045 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.479 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 96/105

$94.75 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$96.36 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

guarani (PYG) per US dollar -

5,087.7 (2015 est.)

4,462.2 (2014 est.)

4,462.2 (2013 est.)

4,424.9 (2012 est.)

4,176.1 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 46/220

59.63 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 99/219

8.125 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 5/218

47.37 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 188/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 60/214

8.816 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 213/214

0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 162/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 2/214

99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 211/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 179/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 174/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 113/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 179/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 121/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 109/212

35,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 212/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 92/213

34,900 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 117/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 185/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 162/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 118/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 183/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 133/212

3.869 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 109/219

total subscriptions: 370,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 102/217

total: 7.3 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: the fixed-line market is a state monopoly and fixed-line telephone service is meager; principal switching center is in Asuncion

domestic: 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) (2010)

Broadcast media

6 privately owned TV stations; about 75 commercial and community radio stations; 1 state-owned radio network (2010)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 41, FM 121, shortwave 6 (2006)

Television broadcast stations

6 (2009)

Internet country code

.py

Internet hosts 65/232

280,658 (2012)

Internet users 101/217

total: 1.9 million

percent of population: 29.0% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 9/236

799 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 15

over 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 7

914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 784

1,524 to 2,437 m: 23

914 to 1,523 m: 290

under 914 m: 471 (2013)

Railways 134/136

total: 30 km

standard gauge: 30 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 95/223

total: 32,059 km

paved: 4,860 km

unpaved: 27,199 km (2010)

Waterways 32/107

3,100 km (primarily on the Paraguay and Paran� River systems) (2012)

Merchant marine 96/156

total: 19

by type: cargo 13, container 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 6 (Argentina 5, Netherlands 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion (Parana)

Military and Security

Military branches

Armed Forces Command (Commando de las Fuerzas Militares): Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Marine Corps, Naval Aviation, and Coast Guard), Paraguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP), Logistics Command, War Materiel Directorate (2012)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy; volunteers for the Air Force must be younger than 22 years of age with a secondary school diploma (2012)

Military expenditures 54/132

1.66% of GDP (2012)

1.16% of GDP (2011)

1.66% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

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