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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Colombia



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Colombia Top of Page
Background:

Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had largely ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage in criminal activities. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

 

  
   Geography    Colombia Top of Page
Location:

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
Map references:

South America
Area:

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: 6,309 km
border countries: Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km
Coastline:

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
Climate:

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
Terrain:

flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
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:

arable land: 2.01%
permanent crops: 1.37%
other: 96.62% (2005)
Irrigated land:

9,000 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
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    Colombia Top of Page
Population:

44,379,598 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 29.8% (male 6,696,471/female 6,539,612)
15-64 years: 64.8% (male 14,012,140/female 14,732,874)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 1,042,645/female 1,355,856) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 26.6 years
male: 25.6 years
female: 27.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

1.433% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

20.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

5.54 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.024 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.951 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.769 male(s)/female
total population: 0.961 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 20.13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 72.27 years
male: 68.44 years
female: 76.24 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

2.51 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

190,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

3,600 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian
Ethnic groups:

mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Religions:

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%
Languages:

Spanish
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 92.9%
female: 92.7% (2004 est.)
   Government    Colombia Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia
local short form: Colombia
Government type:

republic; executive branch dominates government structure
Capital:

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, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada
Independence:

20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
Constitution:

5 July 1991; amended many times
Legal system:

based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004 and is gradually being implemented; judicial review of executive and legislative acts
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Alvaro URIBE Velez (since 7 August 2002); Vice President Francisco SANTOS (since 7 August 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alvaro URIBE Velez (since 7 August 2002); Vice President Francisco SANTOS (since 7 August 2002)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the three largest parties that supported President URIBE's reelection - the PSUN, PC, and CR - and independents
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 28 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: President Alvaro URIBE Velez reelected president; percent of vote - Alvaro URIBE Velez 62%, Carlos GAVIRIA Diaz 22%, Horacio SERPA Uribe 12%, other 4%
Legislative branch:

bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010); House of Representatives - last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSUN 20, PC 18, PL 18, CR 15, PDI 10, other parties 21; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 35, PSUN 33, PC 29, CR 20, PDA 8, other parties 41
Judicial branch:

four roughly coequal, supreme judicial organs; Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (highest court of criminal law; judges are selected by their peers from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council for eight-year terms); Council of State (highest court of administrative law; judges are selected from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council for eight-year terms); Constitutional Court (guards integrity and supremacy of the constitution; rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to the constitution, and international treaties); Superior Judicial Council (administers and disciplines the civilian judiciary; resolves jurisdictional conflicts arising between other courts; members are elected by three sister courts and Congress for eight-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:

Colombian Conservative Party or PC [Julio MANZUR Abdala]; Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Carlos GAVIRIA Diaz]; Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA Trujillo]; Radical Change or CR [German VARGAS Lleras]; Social National Unity Party or U Party [Carlos GARCIA Orjuela]
note: Colombia has 15 formally recognized political parties, and numerous unofficial parties that did not meet the vote threshold in the March 2006 legislative elections required for recognition
Political pressure groups and leaders:

two largest insurgent groups active in Colombia - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC and National Liberation Army or ELN
International organization participation:

BCIE, CAN, Caricom (observer), CDB, CSN, FAO, G-3, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Carolina BARCO Isakson
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador William B. WOOD
embassy: Calle 22D-BIS, numbers 47-51, Apartado Aereo 3831
mailing address: Carrera 45 #22D-45, Bogota, D.C., APO AA 34038
telephone: [57] (1) 315-0811
FAX: [57] (1) 315-2197
Flag description:

three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center
   Economy    Colombia Top of Page
Economy - overview:

Colombia's economy has experienced positive growth over the past three years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve in part because of austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, an improved security situation in the country, and high commodity prices. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment, and to achieving congressional passage of a fiscal transfers reform; furthermore, new exploration is needed to offset declining oil production. However, the government's economic policy, democratic security strategy, and the signing of a free trade agreement with the US have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$374.4 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$106.8 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

6.8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$8,600 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 12%
industry: 35.6%
services: 52.4% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

20.34 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 22.7%
industry: 18.7%
services: 58.5% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:

11.1% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

49.2% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 7.9%
highest 10%: 34.3% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

53.8 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

22.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $49.09 billion
expenditures: $49.75 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:

56.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

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

textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Industrial production growth rate:

5.8% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

50.47 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

38.91 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

1.758 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

16 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

512,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:

269,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

1.512 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:

6.397 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

6.397 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

109.7 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:

-$3.06 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$25.18 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
Exports - partners:

US 35.7%, Venezuela 11.4%, Ecuador 5.4% (2006)
Imports:

$24.86 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Imports - partners:

US 26.9%, Brazil 8.6%, Mexico 8.5%, China 6%, Venezuela 5.6%, Japan 4.1% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$NA
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$15.44 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$38.47 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$45.01 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$10.01 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$56.2 billion (2006)
Currency (code):

Colombian peso (COP)
Exchange rates:

Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,358.6 (2006), 2,320.75 (2005), 2,628.61 (2004), 2,877.65 (2003), 2,504.24 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    Colombia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

7.865 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

29.763 million (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: modern system in many respects; telecommunications sector liberalized during the 1990s; multiple providers of both fixed-line and mobile-cellular services; fixed-line connections stand at about 18 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage is approaching 70 per 100 persons
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities
international: country code - 57; submarine cables provide links to the US, parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat; 3 fully digitalized international switching centers (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 454, FM 34, shortwave 27 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:

60 (1997)
Internet country code:

.co
Internet hosts:

1.014 million (2007)
Internet users:

6.705 million (2006)
   Transportation    Colombia Top of Page
Airports:

934 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 103
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 42
under 914 m: 12 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 831
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 216
under 914 m: 580 (2007)
Heliports:

2 (2007)
Pipelines:

gas 4,360 km; oil 6,140 km; refined products 3,158 km (2006)
Railways:

total: 3,304 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:

total: 112,988 km
paved: 16,270 km
unpaved: 96,718 km (2004)
Waterways:

18,000 km (2006)
Merchant marine:

total: 15 ships (1000 GRT or over) 35,949 GRT/49,161 DWT
by type: cargo 11, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 3
registered in other countries: 5 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 4) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Muelles El Bosque, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo
   Military    Colombia Top of Page
Military branches:

National Army (Ejercito Nacional), National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry (Infanteria de Marina, Colmar), and Coast Guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:

18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 10,212,456
females age 18-49: 10,561,562 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 6,986,228
females age 18-49: 8,794,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 389,735
females age 18-49: 383,146 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

3.4% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Colombia Top of Page
Disputes - international:

memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaragua's 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea - final public hearings are scheduled for 2007; 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 of its neighbors' borders and have caused over 300,000 persons to flee the country, mostly into neighboring states
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 1.8-3.8 million (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and FARC factions; drug wars) (2006)
Illicit drugs:

illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 144,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2005, a 26% increase over 2004, producing a potential of 545 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to most of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2005, aerial eradication dispensed herbicide to treat over 130,000 hectares but aggressive replanting on the part of coca growers means Colombia remains a key producer; a significant portion of non-US 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 fell 50% between 2003 and 2004 to 2,100 hectares yielding a potential 3.8 metric tons of pure heroin, mostly for the US market; no poppy estimate was conducted in 2005

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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