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Colombia, Economy

Colombia is primarily an agrarian nation, although it experienced rapid industrial growth in recent decades. In the early 1990s the country undertook an economic reform program that opened its economy to international trade and investment, and it is the only country in Latin America that maintained scheduled payments on loans during a debt crisis in the late 1980s. For these reasons the country enjoys one of the highest credit ratings in the region. Colombia’s agricultural sector once was dependent on coffee as its principal cash crop, but has successfully diversified since a decline in international coffee prices in the late 1980s. Its mining sector contributes significantly to the economy, with large deposits of fossil fuels, precious metals, and emeralds, of which Colombia supplies about one-half the world supply. The central government budget included revenues of $10.7 billion (1999) and expenditures of $16.2 billion (1999). The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 was $81.3 billion, or about $1,920 per capita. Not included in these official statistics is the economic impact of coca cultivation and the illegal cocaine trade, reportedly with profits worth $300 million annually in the early 1990s.

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