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Flag of Ecuador
Map of Ecuador
Introduction Ecuador
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:
continental shelf: claims continental shelf between mainland and Galapagos Islands
territorial sea: 200 NM
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 Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, 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
13,447,494 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.4% (male 2,415,764; female 2,337,095)
15-64 years: 60.2% (male 4,007,495; female 4,090,957)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 276,482; female 319,701) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.96% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
25.47 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
33.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.61 years
female: 74.57 years (2002 est.)
male: 68.79 years
Total fertility rate:
3.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
20,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
232 (2001)
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: 90.1%
male: 92%
female: 88.2% (1995 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 (123 seats; 20 members are popularly elected at-large nationally to serve four-year terms; 103 members are popularly elected by province to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 31 May 1998 (next to be held 20 October 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - DP 32, PSC 27, PRE 24, ID 18, P-NP 9, FRA 5, PCE 3, MPD 2, CFP 1; 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]; Ecuadorian Conservative Party or PCE [Jacinto JIJON Y CAMANO]; Independent National Movement or MIN [Eliseo AZUERO]; Pachakutik-New Country or P-NP [Miguel LLUCO]; 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]
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 Ivonne A-BAKI
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 oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Ecuador joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but has failed to comply with many of its accession commitments. The aftermath of El Nino and depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy into a free-fall in 1999. The beginning of 1999 saw the banking sector collapse, which helped precipitate an unprecedented default on external loans later that year. Continued economic instability drove a 70% depreciation of the currency throughout 1999, which forced a desperate government to "dollarize" the currency regime in 2000. The move stabilized the currency, but did not stave off the ouster of the government. Gustavo NOBOA, who assumed the presidency in January 2000, has managed to pass substantial economic reforms and mend relations with international financial institutions. Ecuador completed its first standby agreement since 1986 when the IMF Board approved a 10 December 2001 disbursement of $96 million, the final installment of a $300 million standby credit agreement.
purchasing power parity - $39.6 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 25%
services: 64% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 34% (1995) (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
22% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
3.7 million (urban)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
14%; note - widespread underemployment (2001 est.)
revenues: $5.6 billion
expenditures: planned $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
petroleum, food processing, textiles, metal work, paper products, wood products, chemicals, plastics, fishing, lumber
Industrial production growth rate:
5.1% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
10.395 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 25%
hydro: 75%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
9.667 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
$4.8 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, bananas, shrimp, coffee, cocoa, cut flowers, fish
Exports - partners:
US 38%, Peru 6%, Chile 5%, Colombia 5%, Italy 3% (2000)
$4.8 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw materials, fuels; consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 25%, Colombia 13%, Japan 8%, Venezuela 8%, Brazil 4% (2000)
Debt - external:
$14 billion (2001) (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$120 million (2001) (2001)
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
sucres per US dollar - 25,000.0 (January 2002), 25,000.0 (2001), 24,988.4 (2000), 11,786.8 (1999), 5,446.6 (1998), 3,988.3 (1997)
note: on 13 March 2000, the National Congress approved a new exchange system whereby the US dollar was adopted as the main legal tender in Ecuador for all purposes; on 20 March 2000, the Central Bank of Ecuador started to exchange sucres for US dollars at a fixed rate of 25,000 sucres per US dollar; since 30 April 2000, all transactions are denominated in US dollars
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Ecuador
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,115,272 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
384,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: facilities generally inadequate and unreliable
international: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):
31 (2001)
Internet users:
328,000 (2002)
Transportation Ecuador
total: 965 km
narrow gauge: 965 km 1.067-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 43,197 km
paved: 8,165 km
unpaved: 35,032 km (2001)
1,500 km
crude oil 800 km; petroleum products 1,358 km
Ports and harbors:
Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar, San Lorenzo
Merchant marine:
total: 33 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 239,876 GRT/393,680 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Chile 1, Greece 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 3, liquefied gas 1, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 23, specialized tanker 1
205 (2001)
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 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 144
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 113 (2002)
1 (2002)
Military Ecuador
Military branches:
Army, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, National Police
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,468,678 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,337,944 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 132,978 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$720 million (FY98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.4% (FY98)
Transnational Issues Ecuador
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; dollarization may raise the volume of money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003