Country Information Database


Ecuador Country Information

Flag of Ecuador
Map of Ecuador
Introduction Ecuador
What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." 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. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents. In 2007, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft a new constitution; Ecuador's twentieth since gaining independence.
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
land: 276,840 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
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:
territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 100 nm from 2,500-m 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: 5.71%
permanent crops: 4.81%
other: 89.48% (2005)
Irrigated land:
8,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
432 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 16.98 cu km/yr (12%/5%/82%)
per capita: 1,283 cu m/yr (2000)
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
13,927,650 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.1% (male 2,274,986/female 2,189,437)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 4,355,909/female 4,381,141)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 340,861/female 385,316) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.2 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 24.7 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.935% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
21.54 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-7.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 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 (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 21.35 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.61 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.81 years
male: 73.94 years
female: 79.84 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.59 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
21,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,700 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.3%
female: 89.7% (2001 census)
Education expenditures:
1% of GDP (2001)
Government Ecuador
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
Government type:
name: Quito
geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
24 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, Santa Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, 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 Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 15 October 2006 with a runoff election on 26 November 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Rafael CORREA Delgado elected president; percent of vote - Rafael CORREA Delgado 56.7%; Alvaro NOBOA 43.3%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (100 seats; members are elected through a party-list proportional representation system to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 15 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRIAN 28; PSP 24; PSC 13; ID 7; PRE 6; MUPP-NP 6; RED 5; UDC 5; other 6; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties; as of 29 November 2007, Congress is on indefinite recess while a Constituent Assembly is convened
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (according to the Constitution, new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court; in December 2004, however, Congress successfully replaced the entire court via a simple-majority resolution)
Political parties and leaders:
Alianza PAIS Movement [Rafael Vicente CORREA Delgado]; Christian Democratic Union or UDC [Diego ORDONEZ Guerrero]; Democratic Left or ID [Andres PAEZ Benalcazar]; Ethical and Democratic Network or RED [Leon ROLDOS]; Institutional Renewal and National Action Party or PRIAN [Alvaro NOBOA]; Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement - New Country or MUPP-NP [Jorge GUAMAN]; Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Lucio GUTIERREZ Borbua]; Popular Democratic Movement or MPD [Ciro GUZMAN Aldaz]; Roldosist Party or PRE [Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz, director]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO]; Socialist Party - Broad Front or PS-FA [Gustavo AYALA Cruz]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Marlon SANTI, 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]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Benigno GALLEGOS Chiriboga
chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Jersey City (New Jersey), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Linda L. JEWELL
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 is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with GDP contracted by more than 6%, with a significant increase in poverty. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. From 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006. In 2006 the government of Alfredo PALACIO (2005-07) seized the assets of Occidental Petroleum for alleged contract violations and imposed a windfall revenue tax on foreign oil companies, leading to the suspension of free trade negotiations with the US. These measures, combined with chronic underinvestment in the state oil company, Petroecuador, led to a drop in petroleum production in 2007. PALACIO's successor, Rafael CORREA, raised the specter of debt default - but Ecuador has paid its debt on time. He also decreed a higher windfall revenue tax on private oil companies, then sought to renegotiate their contracts to overcome the debilitating effect of the tax. This generated economic uncertainty; private investment has dropped and economic growth has slowed significantly.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$98.71 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$44.18 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$7,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 35.1%
services: 58.2% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
4.51 million (urban) (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 24%
services: 68% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
8.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
38.3% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 35%
note: data for urban households only (October 2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
note: data are for urban households (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
21.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $13.46 billion
expenditures: planned $11.96 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
33.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate:
1.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
12.94 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 19%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
8.855 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
16 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
1.723 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
511,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
162,000 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - exports:
420,600 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
44,680 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
4.727 billion bbl (1 January 2007 est.)
Natural gas - production:
249.4 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
249.4 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
9.369 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
$1.064 billion (2007 est.)
$14.37 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, hemp, wood, fish
Exports - partners:
US 41.6%, Peru 8.4%, Colombia 6.2%, Chile 4.8% (2007)
$12.76 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 21.4%, Colombia 12.3%, China 6.9%, Brazil 6.8% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$209.5 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.521 billion (30 November 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$17.12 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$16.31 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.456 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$4.04 billion (2006)
Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used; the sucre was eliminated in 2000
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Ecuador
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.805 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
10.086 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: fixed-line services provided by three state-owned enterprises; plans to transfer the state-owned operators to private ownership have repeatedly failed; fixed-line density stands at about 13 per 100 persons; mobile cellular use has surged and has a subscribership of nearly 75 per 100 persons
international: country code - 593; landing point for the PAN-AM submarine telecommunications cable that provides links to the west coast of South America, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and extending onward to Aruba and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
5 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2000)
2.5 million (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
28,420 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
31 (2001)
Internet users:
1.549 million (2006)
Transportation Ecuador
406 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 104
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 54 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 302
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 268 (2007)
1 (2007)
extra heavy crude oil 578 km; gas 71 km; oil 1,389 km; refined products 1,185 km (2007)
total: 966 km
narrow gauge: 966 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)
total: 43,197 km
paved: 6,467 km
unpaved: 36,730 km (2004)
1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 35 ships (1000 GRT or over) 197,047 GRT/314,448 DWT
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger 8, petroleum tanker 23, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (US 1)
registered in other countries: 4 (China 1, Panama 3) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
Military Ecuador
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry, Naval Aviation, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:
20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,536,602
females age 16-49: 3,559,188 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,030,664
females age 16-49: 3,037,892 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 144,821
female: 139,091 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
2.8% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Ecuador
Disputes - international:
organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia penetrate across Ecuador's shared border, which thousands of Colombians also cross to escape the violence in their home country
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 11,526 (Colombia); note - UNHCR estimates as many as 250,000 Columbians are seeking asylum in Ecuador, many of whom do not register as refugees for fear of deportation (2007)
Illicit drugs:
significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru, with over half of the US-bound cocaine passing through Ecuadorian Pacific waters; 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; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Wed, 06 Dec 2023 23:47:48 +0000