1. GENERAL INFORMATION
Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean countries, about the size of Switzerland. The Pacific coast, the Andean highlands and the Amazon Basin, are all packed into a very small surface area. The Galapagos Islands, the fourth natural region is located in front of the country, in the Pacific Ocean. You can easily cross all its natural regions in one single day.
The Republic of Ecuador emerged as such in 1830. Before this date, Ecuador was part of the Gran Colombia the republic founded by Simon Bolivar, and integrated by Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. The Gran Colombia lasted from 1822 to 1830.
The first president of the Republic of Ecuador was Juan Jose Flores, born in Venezuela.
Before 1830 Ecuador was part of the Spanish colonies in America. Quito, as the country was then named, was ruled by the President of the Real Audience of Quito, a member of the Hispanic government in the colonies. The Spaniard Sebastian de Benalcazar founded the city of Quito in 1534.
Before the Hispanic conquest Ecuador was a part of the Tahuantinsuyo, the Inca Empire, along with Peru, Bolivia, the northern part of Argentina and Southern Colombia.
2. Geography and Territory
Ecuador is located in the western part of South America, and borders the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia in the north and Peru in the South and the East. The land area totals 283.560 sq kms, including the Galapagos Islands. The border with Colombia is 590 kms. And the border with Peru is 1.420 kms. It has a coastline of 2.237 kms.
Ecuador is divided in four natural regions, the Coast, with five provinces, the Sierra, with 11 provinces, the amazonic jungle, with five provinces and the Galapagos Islands, one province.
Ecuador has tropical weather along the coast and the amazonic region. It becomes cooler in the highlands of the central, Andean region. The temperature in the highland cities is spring like all year around, with temperatures about 70 degrees F. The temperature in the cost and the amazonic region is between 90 and 100 degrees F.
4. Natural Resources
Ecuador is a rich land with abundant natural resources. Petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower are among the country’s main natural resources.
Ecuador has a population of 13.212.742 million. The median age of the population is 23 years. The population growth rate is 1.03%. The life expectancy at birth is 73 years for males and 79 years for females. The fertility rate is 2.78 children.
The main ethnic groups are mestizo (mixed, Amerindian and white), 65%; Amerindian, 25%; Spanish and others, 7%; afro Ecuadorian, 3%.
Most of the population are catholic, 95%.
Spanish is the official language. Quechua is spoken by the Amerindian population.
Since 1979 the country is a democracy with a President and Congress, elected by universal vote. In the last 10 years the political situation has been very unstable. The last three presidents have not finished their term.
Ecuador is a republic with three government branches.
The executive branch, with Rafael Correa as chief of state and head of the government, since January 15th, 2007. The president and vice-president are elected by popular, universal vote every four years.
The legislative branch or National Congress, with 100 seats. Members are elected to represent each province, to serve for four years.
In the Supreme Court branch, judges are elected by the full Supreme Court for life time, unless there is an unexpected change of government.
Ecuador’s economy is based on petroleum exports. They account for 40% of the country’s exports.
65% of the population is below poverty line. Annual growth rate is 2.5%. 30% of the population work in agriculture, 25% work in industry and 45% in services. The unemployment rate is 9.8%. The underemployment rate is 47%.
The country budget is 6.908 billion. The public debt is 53.7 of the gross product.
The main exports are petroleum, bananas, fish and shrimp and cut flowers.
The agriculture products are bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc, plantains, sugarcane, cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products, balsa wood, fish and shrimp.
The main industries are petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals.
The main export partners are United States, 41.5%; Colombia, 5.6%; Germany, 5.5%; South Korea, 5.5%.
The main import partners are United States, 23.1%; Colombia, 12.4%; Brazil, 8.1%; Venezuela, 6.9%; Japan, 4.1%.
External debt is 15.69 billion dollars.
Ecuador formally adopted the dollar as its legal currency on March 2000.
Hola Mundo de FEVI