Dominican Republic

Region: Caribbean

Capital: Santo Domingo

Population: 10,349,741 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 48,670 sq km

Currency: Dominican peso (DOP)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $9,700 (2013 CIA est.)

The Taino – indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans – divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821 but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930 to 1961. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (first term 1996-2000) won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.  (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview:
The Dominican Republic has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy’s largest employer, due to growth in telecommunications, tourism, and free trade zones. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for more than half of exports. Remittances from the US amount to about one-tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP. High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and exports and reducing losses to the Asian garment industry. The Dominican Republic’s economy rebounded from the global recession in 2010-13, and it’s fiscal situation is improving. A tax reform package passed in November 2012 and a successful government bond sale in 2013 helped to narrow the budget deficit from 8% of GDP in 2012 to 3% in 2013. (CIA, 2014)

Major Export Commodities: ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods

Remittances inflows: USD $3,615 million (World Bank 2012 est.)

Human Development Index 2013: 96 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $26,130,000 (OECD 2012)
Major development partners: E.U. Institutions, U.S. Spain, Global Fund, Japan

Total External Debt: US $18.01 billion (31 December 2012 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth: 77.8 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 16.1
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 40.8
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 2.2
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 24 October 1945

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations
144 East 44th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: (212)-867-0833, -0834, 661-2432
Fax: (212)-986-4694

Sources: CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015