Country Profile

Located in the northwest of South America, Colombia has been ridden by armed conflicts that are involving government forces, paramilitary factions and different guerrilla groups for the past 40 years. Human rights abuses, drug trade, kidnappings, low law enforcement, widespread corruption and a severe lack of state structures represent key elements in the conflict situation, hampering development and making Colombia one of the world’s most violent countries.

Over 22 million Colombians live in poverty and roughly 7.4 million of them live in extreme poverty. The relatively high per capita gross national income hides the vast inequality that exists within a country that is rich in natural resources. Within the rural sector, roughly 62 percent of the people are poor with over 1.3 million families being landless. In fact, the distribution of land ownership is a key problem in the country where rich landholders own huge areas of under-utilized land. The rural poor are not typical small scale farmers, but the majority is employed as permanent farm workers, in services, commerce and other non agricultural work.

Country Facts

Poverty Headcount Ratio at National Poverty line (percent of pop) 45.1% (2006)
Life Expectancy at Birth, total (years) 73 (2008)
Literacy Rate, adult total (percent of people aged 15 and above) 93% (2008)
External Debt Stocks (percent of GNI) 23.6% (2009)
GNI per capita (current US $) $4,990 (2009)
GDP annual growth (percent) 0.8% (2009)
Inflation Consumer Prices (annual percent) 4.2% (2009)
Population, total 45,659,709 (2009)
Rural Population (percent of total pop) 11,506,246 (2009)
Net ODA Received (percent of central government expenditure) 3.1% (2003)

(Taken from OECD 2011)

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