Monday, June 26, 2006

Fun Facts About The Dominican Republic

Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues: water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation

Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note: shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti


Ethnic groups: mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Languages: Spanish


Economy - overview: The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean representative democracy that enjoyed strong GDP growth until 2003. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Growth turned negative in 2003 with reduced tourism, a major bank fraud, and limited growth in the US economy (the source of about 80% of export revenues), but recovered in 2004 and 2005. With the help of strict fiscal targets agreed in the 2004 renegotiation of an IMF standby loan, President FERNANDEZ has stabilized the country's financial situation. Although the economy continues to grow at a respectable rate, unemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. The Dominican Republic's development prospects improved with the ratification of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in September 2005.


Disputes ... Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor the Dominican Republic for illicit financial transactions

(Source: CIA Factbook)

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