An Introduction To Ecuador

Ecuador is a South American country bordered by Columbia in the north, Peru in the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Ecuador has a land area of 276,840 sq. km. Galapagos Islands also form a part of Ecuador and is famous for their wildlife. Ecuador has a coastline of about 2,237 km. This country has a republican form of government, and Quito is the capital city, located at an altitude of 2,820 meters.

Ecuador has a population of just over 13 million people (July 2005 estimate). The main ethnic groups are mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) at 65 percent and Amerindian at 25 percent of the population. Spanish and others constitute 7 percent of the population while blacks are 3 percent. At least 95 percent of the people of Ecuador are Roman Catholic. Spanish is the official language, and Amerindian languages are also spoken, especially Quechua. Ecuador has a population growth of 1.24 percent and the infant mortality rate is 23.66 deaths to1,000 live births. Ecuador has a life expectancy of 76.21 years and has a literacy rate of 92.5 percent.

Ecuador gained independence from Spain on May 24, 1822. The Independence Day is celebrated on August 10th. For administrative purposes, Ecuador is divided into 22 provinces. The country has a gross domestic product of $49.51 billion. Agriculture occupies 8.7 percent and industry occupies 30.5 percent of the GDP. The service sector occupies 60.9 percent of the GDP. Ecuador has an urban labor force of 4.53 million. The service sector accounts for 68 percent of the work force while industry accounts for 24 percent of the work force. Only 8 percent of the labor force is employed in the agricultural sector. According to 2001 estimates, 45 percent of the population of Ecuador is below the poverty line.

The main industries of Ecuador are petroleum, chemicals, food processing, textiles, timber, and the main agricultural produces include bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, tapioca, plantains, and sugarcane. Livestock includes cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, and pork. The main export commodities of Ecuador are petroleum, bananas, cut flowers and shrimp while the main import commodities include vehicles, medicinal products, telecommunications equipment, and electricity. The main export partners are the U.S., which accounts for 42.9 percent of all exports. The other main export partners are Panama 14.3 percent, Peru 7.9 percent and Italy 4.6 percent. The United States is the main import partner of Ecuador. The other main import partners include Colombia, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Japan, and Mexico.

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