|Capital||Asunción 25°16′S 57°40′W|
|Official language||Spanish, Guaraní|
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|Area Total||406,752 km2 157,048 sq mi|
Paraguay officially the Republic of Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America, bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the country from north to south.
As of 2009, Paraguay's population was estimated to be at around 6.5 million, most of whom are concentrated in the southeast region of the country. The capital and largest city is Asunción, of which the metropolitan area is home to nearly a third of Paraguay's population. In contrast to most Latin American nations, Paraguay's indigenous language and culture, Guaraní, remains highly influential. In each census, residents predominantly identify as mestizo, reflecting years of intermarriage among the different ethnic groups. Guaraní is recognized as an official language alongside Spanish. Both languages are widely spoken in the country, with around 92 percent of the general population speaking Spanish and 98 percent speaking Guarani.
Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy distinguished by a large informal sector, featuring re-export of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. Between 1970 and 2009 the country had the highest economic growth of South America, with an average rate of 7.2% per year and the prospect of 9% annual growth from 2010, being the highest in South America.
The country also boasts the third most important free commercial zone in the world: Ciudad del Este, trailing behind Miami and Hong Kong. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. The economy grew rapidly between 2003 and 2008 as growing world demand for commodities combined with high prices and favorable weather to support Paraguay's commodity-based export expansion.
The industrial sector produces about 25% of Paraguay's gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 31% of the labor force. Output grew by 2.9% in 2004, after five years of declining production. Traditionally an agricultural economy, Paraguay is showing some signs of long-term industrial growth. The pharmaceutical industry is quickly supplanting foreign suppliers in meeting the country's drug needs.Paraguayan companies now meet 70% of domestic consumption and have begun to export drugs. Strong growth also is evident in the production of edible oils, garments, organic sugar, meat processing, and steel.
Paraguay is a representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system and separation of powers in three branches. Executive power is exercised solely by the President, who is head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the National Congress. The judiciary is vested on tribunals and Courts of Civil Law and a nine-member Supreme Court of Justice, all of them independent of the executive and the legislature. The military of Paraguay consist of the Paraguayan army, navy (including naval aviation and marine corps) and air force.
The constitution of Paraguay establishes the president of Paraguay as the commander-in-chief. Paraguay consists of seventeen departments and one capital district . It is also divided into 2 regions: The "Occidental Region" or Chaco (Boquerón, Alto Paraguay and Presidente Hayes), and the "Oriental Region" (the other departments and the capital district).
Major exports of Paraguay : Soya beans (39%), Bovine meat (9%), Soybean oilcake (7%), Bovine meat (frozen) (6%), Electrical energy (6%)
Major imports of Paraguay : Transmission apparatus for radio, telephone and TV (9%), Articles for arcade, table or parlor games (6%), Automatic data processing machines (5%), Petroleum oils, refined (5%), Cars (5%)
Major trade partners of Paraguay (Exports) : Uruguay (17%), Argentina (11%), Brazil (11%), Chile (11%), Russia (7%)
Major trade partners of Paraguay (Imports) : China (38%), Brazil (28%), Argentina (13%), Chile (4%), Japan (4%)