Form of Government: Presidential republic
Area: 1 141 748 sq km
Population: 48 258 494 inhab. (census 2018)
Density: 42.27 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 12° N - 4° S; long. 79° - 67° W
Capital: Bogotá (capital) 7 181 469 inhab. (2018); Bogotá 8 857 255 inhab. (2018), urban agglomeration
Currency: Colombian peso (100 centavos)
Human development index: 0.747 (rank: 90)
President and head of government: Iván Duque Márquez (CD), elected 17 June 2018, in office since 7 August 2018
House of Representatives: seats based on the elections of 11 May 2018: PLC (Liberal Party, centre-left), 35; CD (Democratic Centre, right-wing), 32; CR (Radical Change, right-wing), 30; PSUN (Social Party of National Unity, right-wing), 25; PCC (Conservative Party), 21; Green Alliance, 9; others, 13
Internet: www.dane.gov.co (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística)
Member of CAN, Mercosur associated, OAS, UN, UNASUR, WTO
International license plate code CO
International dialling code 0057
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (recommended for some areas); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 110
Driving side rigth
Internet code .co
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Bogotá 14; Barranquilla 28
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Bogotá 14/9; Barranquilla 26.5/28.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Bogotá 4/5; Barranquilla 6/8
Annual average precipitation (mm) Bogotá 940; Barranquilla 863
Days of rainfall (annual average) Bogotá 150; Barranquilla 59
Politics and current affairs
Despite the demobilization of FARC, the country is still plagued by violence, both in terms of attacks carried out by FARC dissidents and the ELN, with whom the government interrupted negotiations, and in the increase of crimes connected to drug trafficking.
Colombia is bordered by Venezuela and Brazil to the east, by Peru and Ecuador to the south and by Panama to the north-west. The Caribbean Sea lies off its north coast and the Pacific Ocean lies off its west coast.
The country can be divided into two distinct parts: the mountainous area in the west, with the Andes, and the flat eastern part (known as the Oriente). The climate is affected by the tropical position of the country and altitude.
The small island of Malpelo (2 km²) off the Pacific coast belongs to Colombia. On 13 December 2007, the International Court of Justice confirmed the country’s sovereignty over the islands of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, to which Nicaragua laid claim. On 19 November 2012 the same verdict was delivered with regard to Bajo Nuevo, Cayos de Albuquerque, Cayos del Este Sudeste, Quitasueño, Roncador, Serrana and Serranilla in the Caribbean Sea.
Colombia became independent from Spain in 1819. Until 1830, along with Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela, it was part of the Federation of Gran Colombia. It adopted its current form and name in 1886. For a long time, the political life of the country was dominated by two opposing political blocs (liberals and conservatives). Free elections were not held until 1974. Since 1965-70 a bloody civil war has been in progress, caused by Marxist-populist insurgent groups: the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army). These are opposed by paramilitaries of the extreme right, AUC (United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia), who were demobilised after signing an agreement with the government (2005), together with government forces. In November 2012, meetings between the government and FARC began in Havana, which led in 2016 to a cease fire and peace deal; once the demobilization was complete, on 1 September 2017, FARC became a political party (Common Alternative Revolutionary Force); since 2016, intermittent peace negotiations have also been held with ELN. Dissidents of FARC, paramilitary and bands of drug traffickers are still active in various parts of the country.
According to the Constitution of 5 July 1991, Colombia is a presidential republic. The President, who is also the head of government, is elected by direct suffrage for four years and can not be re-elected. Legislative power lies in the hands of the national Congress, composed of two houses elected by direct suffrage for four years: the House of Representatives (165 members) and the Senate (102 members), with 5 additional seats in both houses reserved to FARC and one for the unelected presidential candidate.
There are US military forces in Colombia.
The judicial system, based on Spanish Law, was changed in 1992-93 with the introduction of a penal code based on the US model.
|Bogotá||7 181 469||inhab.||2018|
|Medellín||2 376 337||inhab.||2018|
|Bogotá||8 857 255||inhab.||2018|
|Medellín||3 725 682||inhab.||2018|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
The country is home to over one million Venezuelan refugees.
The country’s economy depends on oil exports, particularly to the USA. The reduced growth recorded in 2015-17 owing to the drop in the price of hydrocarbons was followed by a recovery in 2018-19, thanks in part to a rise in the prices of materials, an increase in domestic consumption and more investments. The government approved tax cuts to favour businesses. In 2017-18, inflation reduced thanks to the deflationary financial policy and the fall in the price of foodstuffs and energy, which were raised as a consequence of climate hardships.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||115.2||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-9 401.4||M US$||2018|
|Active population||24 706 930||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||43||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||56.3||%||2018|
|Expenses||179 608 007||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||149 292 227||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||80 653.3||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||47 887.6||M US$||2018|
Agriculture and forests.
Very large estates (fincas) cultivate plantation crops. The main product is coffee, which is grown in the departments of Antioquia, Quindío, Valle, Tolima, Risaralda and Caldas. There are extensive banana plantations in Magdalena and Chocó. Floriculture is very important. Other crops include sugar cane, palm oil, tobacco (in Santander), cotton, cocoa (in Cauca, Valle and Huila), soya and coconut palm. The most common food crops are maize and rice. Despite the contrast campaigns conducted by the government, the cultivation of coca, hashish and opium poppies is common on the plateaux and in the Amazon rainforest. There are 60 million hectares of forest. In addition to timber, these provide (tagua) nuts used for making buttons, rubber and Tolú balsam. At the village of Las Gaviotas, which is ecologically run and self-sufficient, situated in a reforested area of Orinoquia, they produce rosin from pine resin.
Livestock and fishing.
Large tracts of prime grazing land are perfect for cattle-farming. Fishing is not particularly important.
|cereals, total||4 328.82||1000 t||2017|
|cassava||2 187.757||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||2 819.026||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||117.498||1000 t||2017|
|broad beans, dry||5.764||1000 t||2017|
|oil palm fruits||5 738.006||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||26.336||1000 t||2017|
|sugar cane||34 638.019||1000 t||2017|
|seed cotton||72.11||1000 t||2017|
|cashew nuts||70||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits||1 244.699||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits, nes||613.09||1000 t||2017|
|bananas||3 786.672||1000 t||2017|
|carrots and turnips||9.606||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||136.678||1000 ha||2017|
|broad beans, dry||3.412||1000 ha||2017|
|oil palm fruit||280.344||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||1.088||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar cane||397.387||1000 ha||2017|
|seed cotton||17.514||1000 ha||2017|
|cashew nuts||30||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits||80.395||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits, nes||36.064||1000 ha||2017|
|timber||9 788 634||m³||2017|
|cattle||22 461.179||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||22 461.179||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||5 200||1000 heads||2017|
|sheep||1 026.34||1000 heads||2017|
|asses and mules||350.394||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||164 164||1000 heads||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||4 383||t||2017|
|freshwater fishes||117 880||t||2017|
The main oilfields are situated in the Magdalena Valley, in the departments of Casanare and Norte de Santander, and at Orito (Putumayo). There is an extensive oil pipeline network: from the Magdalena Valley to Puerto Boyaca, from Puerto Boyaca to Coveñas (481 km), from the deposits in Casanare to Coveñas (790 km), from Ecuador to the port of Tumaco (306 km).
There are considerable reserves of natural gas (at Guajira, El Difícil, Payoa, Chuchupa, Lisama and Jobo-Tablón) and coal (in the Cordillera Oriental and Valle del Cauca), of which the country is a major producer. A gas pipeline connects the gas fields of Guajira to the town of Barranquilla.
Other mineral resources include emeralds (mined at Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor), silver (in Antioquia), platinum (from the sands of the tributaries of the River San Juan and the River Atrato), iron (at Paz de Río, Medellín, Cerro Matoso and Uré-Magambo), rock salt (at Zipaquirá, Nemocón, Gachetá and Sesquilé in Cundinamarca; Barital and Upín in Meta), sea salt (saltpans at Manaure and Galerazamba), sulfur (at Puracé) and phosphates (at San Vicente de Chucurí and Turmequé).
There are large oil refineries at Apiay (near Villavicencio), Barrancabermeja, Cartagena, Orito and Tibú. As for the basic industries, the most important are iron and steel (at Paz de Río, in Boyacá, Muña, Valle de Tenza, Corradine and Medellín), chemicals (at Betania, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Mamonal, Bogotá and Zipaquirá), cement (especially around Barranquilla, Cali/Yumbo, Medellín and Bogotá). Automotive components industry is also relevant (Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Medellín). Traditional industries include textiles, especially in the cotton and wool segments (with factories in Barranquilla, Medellín, Bogotá, Cali, Manizales, Samacá, San José de Suaita and Itagüí). Rubber is produced in Bogotá and Cali; paper at Arroyo Hondo, near Cali; beer in Bogotá, Medellín and Bucaramanga. A typical product of Colombia is hats (felt hats in Medellín and Bogotá, panama hats in Antioquia, Medellín, Aguadas, Bogotá and Bucaramanga). The cigars made in Ambalema and Bucaramanga and the cigarillos made in Medellín are particularly prized.
In the capital city there are ceramics and crockery factories; glazed tiles are typical of the area of Caldas. To attract new industrial facilities, tax-free zones have been created in many of the larger cities.
|coal||84 300||1000 t||2018|
|coal, total||84 300||1000 t||2018|
|iron ore||716||1000 t||2016|
|emeralds||2 167||1000 ct||2015|
|- hydro||48 476||M kWh||2016|
|- thermal||24 647.74||M kWh||2016|
|- hydro||11 610||1000 kW||2016|
|- thermal||4 933||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||74 919.74||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||16 886||1000 kW||2016|
|coke, metall.||2 369||1000 t||2016|
|commercial vehicles||3 800||no.||2018|
|petrol||5 441.5||1000 t||2014|
|nitrogen fertilizers||167.3||1000 t||2016|
|phosphate fertilizers||44.6||1000 t||2016|
|beer of barley||2 020||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||0.09||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||28 744.3||M units||2004|
|chemical pulp||234.049||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||234.049||1000 t||2017|
|cement||12 495||1000 t||2016|
|chemicals production||5 606.5||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||11 218||M US$||2016|
The USA is Colombia’s principal trading partner.
(M US$ - 2017)
crude oil and petroleum products 13 007, coal and its products 7 393, coffee 2 583, gold and jewels 2 006, plants and flowers 1 417, plastics 1 361, bananas 918, chemicals 694, iron and steel 601, sugar and derived products 569, vehicles and parts thereof 539, machinery 470, palm and copra oil 466, cosmetics 445
Finance and banking
. The Banco de la República acts as Colombia’s central bank. There is a stock exchange in Bogotá.
|fuels||59.959||% of goods exports||2018|
|manufactures||20.666||% of goods exports||2018|
|United States||11 325||M US$||2018|
|China||4 056||M US$||2018|
|United States||13 096||M US$||2018|
|China||10 545||M US$||2018|
|Expenditures||5 136||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||4 113 000||units||2017|
The backbone of the road network is the Pan-American highway which runs down the west side of the country. The railway network is restricted to the lines running between the ports and the inland towns.
In the eastern Amazon region, transport relies on small planes and boats on navigable rivers.
|Civil aviation, km flown||107 300 000||km flown||2009|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||32 506.9||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||128.785||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||112.5||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Primary education is free and compulsory between the ages of 5 and 15. Secondary education last between four and six years.
Social security and health.
Social security is financed by the government, employers and employees. Large businesses provide life insurance plans for their employees.
|Expected years of schooling||14.6||years||2017|
|Teachers, primary level||184 384||units||2017|
|Teachers, secondary level||183 952||units||2017|
|Social protection spending||12.4||% of total expenses||1999|
|Hospital beds||1.7||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||2.1||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||0.5||% of adults||2017|
|Research and development spending||0.2||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||91.79||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||99.595||%||2017|