Location: Central South America
Population (2011): 6,459,058
Surface area: 406,752 sq km
GDP per capita (2009): US $ 2,314
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 all 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 then.
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 at a 14.5% level in 2010, the highest in South America. Political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure are the main obstacles to growth.
Human Development Index ranking (2010): 96 out of 169
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (2009): US $ 148 million
Top Three Donors of gross ODA (2008-2009 average):
Japan, Spain, United States.
Total External Debt (2010): US $ 4.508 billion
HIPC Position (2011): Not eligible
United Nations Membership date: 24 October 1945
New York Mission:
Address: Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the United Nations
801 Second Avenue, Suite 702, New York, N.Y. 10017
Telephone: (212) 687-3490, -3491
Telefax: (212) 818-1282
National holiday: 15 May, Independence Day
Updated October 2011