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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Colombia
Flag of Colombia
Map of Colombia
Introduction Colombia
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 conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. Paramilitary groups challenge the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade. Most paramilitary members have demobilized since 2002 in an ongoing peace process, although their commitment to ceasing illicit activity is unclear. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
Geography Colombia
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
total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
water: 100,210 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 6,309 km
border countries: Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km
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
tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
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: 2.01%
permanent crops: 1.37%
other: 96.62% (2005)
Irrigated land:
9,000 sq km (2003)
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
People Colombia
43,593,035 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.3% (male 6,683,079/female 6,528,563)
15-64 years: 64.5% (male 13,689,384/female 14,416,439)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 996,022/female 1,279,548) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.3 years
male: 25.4 years
female: 27.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.46% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
20.48 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
5.58 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 20.35 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.99 years
male: 68.15 years
female: 75.96 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.54 children born/woman (2006 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.)
noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.5%
male: 92.4%
female: 92.6% (2003 est.)
Government Colombia
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
name: Bogota
geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, 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
20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
5 July 1991
Legal system:
based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004 and is gradually being implemented; judicial review of executive and legislative acts
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)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the three largest parties that supported President URIBE's reelection - the PSUN, PC, and CR - and independents
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 28 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: President Alvaro URIBE Velez reelected president; percent of vote - Alvaro URIBE Velez 62%, Carlos GAVIRIA Diaz 22%, Horacio SERPA Uribe 12%, other 4%
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 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010); House of Representatives - last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSUN 20, PC 18, PL 18, CR 15, PDI 10, other parties 21; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 35, PSUN 33, PC 29, CR 20, PDA 8, other parties 41
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 Conservative Party or PC [Julio MANZUR Abdala]; Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Samuel MORENO Rojas]; Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA Trujillo]; Social National Unity Party or PSUN [Carlos GARCIA]; Radical Change or CR [German VARGAS Lleras]
note: Colombia has 15 formally recognized political parties, and numerous unofficial parties that did not meet the vote threshold in the March 2006 legislative elections required for recognition
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
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carolina BARCO Isakson
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William B. WOOD
embassy: Calle 22D-BIS, numbers 47-51, Apartado Aereo 3831
mailing address: Carrera 45 #22D-45, Bogota, D.C., APO AA 34038
telephone: [57] (1) 315-0811
FAX: [57] (1) 315-2197
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
Economy Colombia
Economy - overview:
Colombia's economy has experienced positive growth over the past three years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve in part because of austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, an improved security situation in the country, and high commodity prices. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment, and to achieving congressional passage of a fiscal transfers reform. New exploration is needed to offset declining oil production. International and domestic financial analysts note with concern the growing central government deficit, which hovers at 5% of GDP. However, the government's economic policy and democratic security strategy have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$366.7 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$105.5 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,400 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 35.2%
services: 52.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
20.81 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 22.7%
industry: 18.7%
services: 58.5% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
11.1% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
49.2% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 7.9%
highest 10%: 34.3% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
53.8 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
22.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $50.7 billion
expenditures: $52.29 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
45.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp
textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Industrial production growth rate:
5.8% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
46.93 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 26%
hydro: 72.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.3% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
42.01 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
1.682 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
48 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
512,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
269,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2003)
Oil - proved reserves:
1.282 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
6.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
6.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
114.4 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$-2.219 billion (2006 est.)
$24.86 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
Exports - partners:
US 41.8%, Venezuela 9.9%, Ecuador 6.3% (2005)
$24.33 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 28.5%, Mexico 8.3%, China 7.6%, Brazil 6.5%, Venezuela 5.7% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$16.5 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$37.21 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Currency (code):
Colombian peso (COP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,382.9 (2006), 2,320.75 (2005), 2,628.61 (2004), 2,877.65 (2003), 2,504.24 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Colombia
Telephones - main lines in use:
7,678,800 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
21.85 million (2005)
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)
21 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
60 (includes seven low-power stations) (1997)
4.59 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
581,877 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
18 (2000)
Internet users:
4.739 million (2005)
Transportation Colombia
984 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 101
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 38
914 to 1,523 m: 40
under 914 m: 12 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 883
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 35
914 to 1,523 m: 275
under 914 m: 572 (2006)
2 (2006)
gas 4,360 km; oil 6,140 km; refined products 3,158 km (2006)
total: 3,304 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (2005)
total: 112,988 km
paved: 16,270 km
unpaved: 96,718 km (2004)
18,000 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 17 ships (1000 GRT or over) 42,413 GRT/58,737 DWT
by type: cargo 13, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 3
registered in other countries: 7 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Panama 5) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Muelles El Bosque, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo
Military Colombia
Military branches:
Army (Ejercito Nacional), National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes naval aviation, marines, and coast guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 24 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 10,212,456
females age 18-49: 10,561,562 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 6,986,228
females age 18-49: 8,794,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 389,735
females age 18-49: 383,146 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$3.3 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.4% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Colombia
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: 2,900,000 - 3,400,000 (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 2004 was 114,100 hectares, virtually unchanged from 2003, but down one-third from its peak of 169,800 ha); producing a potential of 430 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplying most of the US market and the great majority of cocaine to other international drug markets; important supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation fell 50% between 2003 and 2004 to 2,100 hectares yielding a potential 3.8 metric tons of pure heroin, mostly for the US market; in 2004, aerial eradication treated over 130,000 hectares of coca but aggressive replanting on the part of growers means Colombia remains a key producer; a significant portion of non-US narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007