Paraguay has been recently ranked by several research studies as the cheapest country in the world, measured through Purchasing Power Parity. Prices, measured in dollars, euros or pounds sterling are very low.
Economy - overview Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector. The informal sector features both re-export of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. A large percentage of the population derives their living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. The formal economy grew by an average of about 3% annually in 1995-97, but GDP declined slightly in 1998, 1999, and 2000. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, lack of progress on structural reform, substantial internal and foreign debt, and deficient infrastructure. however, in 2010 paraguay registraded an outstanding 15,270 % of GPD growth. GDP purchasing power parity - $26.2 billion 2001 est. GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $4,600 2001 est.
water: 9,450km²land: 397,300km²
Colonized for 3 centuries by the Spanish, since the 1500s, Paraguay has managed to keep a lot of its indigenous character and identity. Nowadays, the mestizos Spanish + Amerindian account for more than 80% of the country's 6 million inhabitants and Guarani is, side by side with Spanish, the country's official language.
In the past, Franciscan and Jesuit missions mingled with the Guaranis' dream of Yvy maraë´y, a land without evil, and produced singular societies. The ruins of the Jesuit Missions of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana and Jesus de Tavarangue, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and several villages throughout the country, are witnesses to that peaceful past.
But Paraguay also has a history of blood and tears. Being one of the richest countries in the 1800's and the only one in America to have railways transportation at that time before the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance 1865-70. Paraguay, waged by the allied forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, the country lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory including their coast with the sea. It was also the scene of the first ever attempt at Communism when 700 people sailed from Balmain, in Sydney, Australia in 1893 to found "New Australia." A split occurred soon after arrival when some of the arrivals started mingling with the local ladies who were suffering a lack of men due to the War of the Triple Aliance. Two-thirds of the immigrants eventually returned to Australia but around 2000 Paraguayans can trace their heritage to Australia. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, democratic governors have been in power since then.
After the World War II Paraguay received many immigrants, who felt in love with the hospitality and decided to stay and call Paraguay their home. Therefore, is common to find colonies of Germans, Russians, Italians, French and Spanish people in the country areas of Paraguay.
Modern Paraguay is largely based upon political uncertainty and economic hardship - Since the early 1980s, Paraguay has been making the difficult transition to a more modern market economy. While Asuncion is filled with new economic prospects and construction, much of the country remains underdeveloped, consisting of deficient infrastructure. Corruption here is ubiquitous compared to neighboring Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.
In recent years, though, economic wellbeing has been reported and democratic elections have been taking place with little to no uncertain events.
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 May 1811
With an area of about 406,000km², Paraguay is divided into two regions: Oriental and Occidental by the Paraguay River. Despite being landlocked, the country is bordered and criss-crossed by navigable rivers.
The Tropic of Capricorn also crosses the country from East to West and determines a more tropical climate to the North and subtropical to temperate climate to the South.