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By Exit Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Colombia
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Map of Colombia
IntroductionTop
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 insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian Government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from the drug trade. Although the violence is deadly and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to several thousand strong in recent years, challenging the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade, and also the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While Bogota steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
GeographyTop
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, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank

Area - comparative:slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Land boundaries:total: 6,004 km
border countries: Brazil 1,643 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,496 km (est.), 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: 2.42%
permanent crops: 1.67%
other: 95.91% (2001)

Irrigated land:8,500 sq km (1998 est.)
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
PeopleTop
Population:42,954,279 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 30.7% (male 6,670,950/female 6,516,371)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 13,424,433/female 14,142,825)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 968,127/female 1,231,573) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 26.04 years
male: 25.14 years
female: 26.93 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.49% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:20.82 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 20.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.72 years
male: 67.88 years
female: 75.7 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.56 children born/woman (2005 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: 92.5%
male: 92.4%
female: 92.6% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
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:Bogota
Administrative divisions:32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Distrito Capital de 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
Legal system:based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
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); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the two dominant parties - the PL and PSC - and independents
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 26 May 2002 (next to be held May 2006)
election results: President Alvaro URIBE Velez received 53% of the vote; Vice President Francisco SANTOS was elected on the same ticket

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 10 March 2002 (next to be held March 2006); House of Representatives - last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held March 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PL 28, PSC 13, independents and smaller parties (many aligned with conservatives) 61; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PL 54, PSC 21, independents and other parties 91

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 Communist Party or PCC [Jaime CAICEDO]; Conservative Party or PSC [Carlos HOLGUIN Sardi]; Democratic Pole or PDI [Samuel MORENO Rojas]; Liberal Party or PL [Juan Fernando CRISTO]
note: Colombia has about 60 formally recognized political parties, most of which do not have a presence in either house of Congress

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; largest anti-insurgent paramilitary group is United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia or AUC
International organization participation:BCIE, CAN, CDB, CSN, FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Colombia's economy has been on a recovery trend during the past two years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve thanks to austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, and an export-oriented growth focus. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment. New exploration is needed to offset declining oil production. On the positive side, several international financial institutions have praised the economic reforms introduced by URIBE, which include measures designed to reduce the public-sector deficit below 2.5% of GDP. The government's economic policy and democratic security strategy have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector. Coffee prices have recovered from previous lows as the Colombian coffee industry pursues greater market shares in developed countries such as the United States.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $281.1 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:3.6% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $6,600 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 13.4%
industry: 32.1%
services: 54.5% (2004 est.)

Labor force:20.7 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 30%, industry 24%, services 46% (1990)
Unemployment rate:13.6% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:55% (2001)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 44% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:57.1 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):5.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):15.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $15.33 billion
expenditures: $21.03 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:51.8% of GDP (2004 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:4% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:44.87 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 26%
hydro: 72.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.3% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:41.14 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:618 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:23 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:531,100 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:252,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:1.7 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:5.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:5.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:132 billion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$-1.706 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$15.5 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:petroleum, coffee, coal, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
Exports - partners:US 40.9%, Ecuador 5.8%, Venezuela 4.8% (2004)
Imports:$15.34 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Imports - partners:US 30.6%, Venezuela 5.8%, Brazil 5.2%, Japan 5.2%, Germany 5.1%, Mexico 5%, China 4.2% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$11.94 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$38.7 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Colombian peso (COP)
Currency code:COP
Exchange rates:Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,628.61 (2004), 2,877.65 (2003), 2,504.24 (2002), 2,299.63 (2001), 2,087.9 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:8,768,100 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:6,186,200 (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: modern system in many respects
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities
international: country code - 57; satellite earth stations - 6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat; 3 fully digitalized international switching centers; 8 submarine cables

Radio broadcast stations:AM 454, FM 34, shortwave 27 (1999)
Radios:21 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:60 (includes seven low-power stations) (1997)
Televisions:4.59 million (1997)
Internet country code:.co
Internet hosts:115,158 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):18 (2000)
Internet users:2,732,200 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 3,304 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 112,998 km
paved: 26,000 km
unpaved: 84,000 km (2000)

Waterways:9,187 km (2004)
Pipelines:gas 4,360 km; oil 6,134 km; refined products 3,140 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Muelles El Bosque, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo
Merchant marine:total: 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 35,427 GRT/46,301 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 11, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 2
registered in other countries: 7 (2005)

Airports:980 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 101
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 39
under 914 m: 12 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 879
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 272
under 914 m: 572 (2004 est.)

Heliports:1 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army (Ejercito Nacional), Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Marines, and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 24 months (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 10,212,456 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 6,986,228 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 389,735 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$3.3 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:3.4% (FY01)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over disputed maritime boundary involving 50,000 sq km in the Caribbean Sea, including the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all of its neighbors' borders and have created a serious refugee crisis with over 300,000 persons having fled the country, mostly into neighboring states
Refugees and internally displaced persons::IDPs: 2,730,000 - 3,100,000 (conflict between government and FARC; drug wars) (2004)
Illicit drugs:illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator (cultivation of coca in 2002 was 144,450 hectares, a 15% decline since 2001); potential production of opium between 2001 and 2002 declined by 25% to 91 metric tons; potential production of heroin declined to 11.3 metric tons; the world's largest processor of coca derivatives into cocaine; supplier of about 90% of the cocaine to the US market and the great majority of cocaine to other international drug markets; important supplier of heroin to the US market; active aerial eradication program; a significant portion of non-US narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange

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