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中国株レポート
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Geography

The Republic of Ecuador is one of the smaller South American countries located astride the Equator, from which the country takes its name, with a land area of 270,670 square kilometres. The country faces to Pacific Ocean with Galapagos archipelago, and shares a boundary with Peru and Colombia.

Demography

The total population was 12 million in 1992. The average annual population growth rate was 2.6% in 1991. The Indian community represents around 40% of total population and Indian rights is an issue that assumed a high profile in recent years. Between 1950 and 1990 the population living in urban areas increased from 29% to 56%. The annual growth rate of the urban population has in recent years averaged 4%. Guayaguil, the largest city, is the main port and commercial and industrial centre. The capital Quito is the second largest city and the industrial centre in the mountain regions.

The annual growth rate of economically active population was rising marginally faster than population growth, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the total labour force was calculated at 3.55 million in 1989. In 1989 32% of the work-force were employed in agriculture, down from 62.6% 20 years earlier.

The adult illiteracy rate has fallen over recent decades and was 14% in 1990. In that year 1.8 million children, which exceeds 100% of the age cohort, were estimated to be in primary school and 792.000 in secondary education.

History and Political Situation

Before the arrival of the Spanish, Equator was ruled by the Incas, who had incorporated the area into their empire some 50 years earlier. The Spanish conquest began in 1534 and Spain's 300-year rule commenced when Sebastian de Belalcazar captured Quito, after Pizarro's conquests of the Incas at Caja-marca and Cuzco, in Peru. Ecuador, administered from both Lima and Santa Fe de Bogota, remained peripheral to the Spanish imperial system for many years. Colonial rule ended when Simon Bolivar's forces, under the command of a Venezuelan general, Jose Antonio de Sucre, defeated the Spanish at the decisive battle of Pichincha in 1822. Then Ecuador was incorporated into the short-lived Federation of Gran Colombia. However, by 1830, it had become an independent republic.

Ecuador endured economic stagnation and political instability for most of the 19th century, alternating between periods of military rule and democratically elected civilian governments. Changes of governments were often effected through bloodless military coups. However, Ecuador began the Latin America trend for in favour of democratic rule. After military junta in 1976 the increasingly unpopular and divided military regime supervised the return to civilian rule with a constitutional referendum in 1978, followed by presidential and legislative elections.

However, the decisive victor in the presidential election, Jaime Roldos Aguiera was unfortunate. His prospects were severely constrained by opposition majority in Congress and a division between his party, the Concertacion de Fuerzas Populares (CFP) and Roldos. And he died in a plane crash in 1981. After a caretaker government by Osvaldo Hurtado, a right-wing populist, Leon Febres Cordero won in the May 1984 presidential elections. He moved vigorously to liberalise Ecuador's economy breaking with a tradition of comprehensive state intervention under the military regimes. Often controversial in his methods, he frequently antagonised Congress, leading to a state of political turmoil during most of his presidency.

A left-wing alliance obtained a clear majority at the mid-term congressional elections of June 1986, and by 1988 this alliance impeached several times, only to be overruled by the pugnacious president. Although attempted military coup in March 1986 failed, it took advantage of the constitutional crisis with the drop in living standards brought about by the collapse of oil prices in 1986, and by an earthquake in 1987.

In 1988 presidential election, Rodrigo Borja Cavallos of the Izquierda Democratica (ID), became the first president with majority support in Congress since constitutional reform in 1979. However, the Government's options were severely circumscribed by the need to implement unpopular measures such as heavy debt services and keeping high interest rate to tame inflation. In contrast to the radical market-oriented policies pursued by other Latin American regimes, Boja introduced a programme of moderate social-democratic reform known as "gradualismo" including the states takeover of Texaco's petroleum operations. Popular disillusionment with economic policy contributed to a major reverse for the government in the mid term congressional elections, held in June 1990, when the ID and its allies lost their majority control of the Congress. Apart from a brief period, between October 1990 and February 1991, when the ID was joined by an informal coalition of six parties to form the Bloque de Etica Politica, effective government was severely impeded in the second half of the administration.

The unpopularity of the Borja government presaged an important shift to the centre-right in the 1992 elections resulted in defeat for the ID and Sixto Duran Ballen, of the Partido Unitario Republicano (PUR) won the presidency. He has strong links with the business community and promised to abandon the "gradualismo" of the previous government, in favour of accreting free-market reforms and encouraging foreign investment. However, he has two political weaknesses. PUR controls only 12 seats out of 77 seats of Congress

Economy

Ecuador is divided into three distinct regions: the coast, the Sierra (mountain regions) and the Oriente (jungle). In the pacific coastal plains, forests and swanplaned have been reclaimed to grow the bulk of Ecuador's export crops of bananas, Ecuador is currently the world's leading exporter of bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, sugar and abaca (henp). fresh water shrimp farming for US market became a major new source of revenue in the coastal region in the 1980s. Agriculture is the country's largest employer, but holdings are generally small, productivity and mechanisation rates are low, infrastructure is inadequate and more irrigation is needed.

The modernisation of Ecuador was greatly accelerated, from 1972 when major petroleum reserves were discovered at Lago Agrio close to the border with Colombia, by its rich petroleum resources. Petroleum revenues made possible dramatic improvements to education, public health, irrigation, hydroelectric power, road building, urban construction and industrialisation. However, falling world petroleum prices and limited reserves estimated that Ecuador's proven petroleum reserves would last 15 years at current production rates suggested that the country had to prepare for a post-petroleum future.

By the end of 1970s it was clear that Ecuador, like other Latin America countries, had borrowed too heavily. By 1979 the debt service ratio had risen to 45% of export earnings and in the early 1980s the country was badly hit by the rise in international interest rates, a fall in cocoa and coffee prices and a drop in oil export volume. The public sector deficit rose from 2% of GDP in 1979 to 6.8% in 1982 forcing the government to effect spending cutbacks and request rescheduling of its external debt. All president in 1980s tried to resolve this problem in various methods, but failed to reduce its external debt and lost popularity.

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