Saturday, March 30, 2013

China - Introduction

Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
39°55′N 116°23′E / 39.917°N 116.383°E / 39.917; 116.383
Largest cityShanghai

 - Total9,706,961 km2[e] (3rd/4th)
3,747,879 sq mi 
 - Water (%)2.8
 - 2012 estimate1,353,821,000 (1st)
 - 2010 census1,339,724,852 (1st)
 - Density139.6/km2 (81st)
363.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2012 estimate

GDP (nominal)2012 estimate
 - Total$8.250 trillion (2nd)
 - Per capita$6,094 (90th)

China is one of the oldest civilisation of the world. e.g., 1. Egypt and Babylonia, 2000 - 1500 B.C.2. Hellenistic Empire, 300 B.C., 3. Ro man Empire 100 a.D., 4. Arab Empire 732 A.D., 5. India and China , 200 - 900 A.D.

China  officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing.
The word "China" is derived from Persian Cin (چین), which is from Sanskrit Cīna (चीन). It is first recorded in 1516 in the journal of Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. It appears in English in a translation published in 1555. The Sanskrit word was used to refer to China as early as AD 150.
Map of Asia-1

Map of Asia-2

Ancient civilisation of the globe : 1.Egypt and Babylonia (2000-1500 B.C.), 2. Hellenistic Empire (300 B.C.), 3. Roman Empire (180 A.D.), 4. Arab Empire (732 A.D.), 5. India and China (200-900 A.D.), 6. Europe ( about 1350 A.D.) 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rank and Econimy of Paraguay

The reank of Paraguay from the poorest is 70th as per national average per capita using atlas method measured in 2003 and from the richest is 133rd. In other methnd  such as IMF, WB, CIS measured in 2007, 2007, and 2008 as per per capita income using gdp (nominal) is
114/1,982....................107/1,961................................122/ 1,630
load PDF
  • Population:
    • 6.5 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $35.3 billion
    • 3.8% growth
    • 5.3% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $5,413 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 6.6%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 6.6%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $303.0 million
Embed This Data
Paraguay’s economic freedom score is 61.1, making its economy the 80th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.7 point worse than last year, reflecting declines in half of the 10 economic freedoms, including control of government spending, monetary freedom, and labor freedom. Paraguay is ranked 15th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is above the world average.
The Paraguayan government’s commitment to economic reform has been uneven, and economic growth remains constrained by political instability and institutional weaknesses that erode the foundations for long-term development. In particular, the judicial system remains inefficient and vulnerable to political interference. Corruption, perceived as widespread, continues to be a problem.
The overall regulatory framework is not conducive to spurring the emergence of a dynamic private sector and promoting broad-based employment growth. Although Paraguay maintains relatively high trade freedom, driven mainly by relatively low tariff barriers, dynamic economic gains from trade are undercut by the absence of reform progress in other policy areas, particularly finance and investment, that are critical to sustaining open markets.


In 2008, former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo engineered a victory for a center-left coalition, promising to support the indigenous population, redistribute land to the poor, and secure more revenue from the Itaipu Dam. In June 2012, following a violent clash between police and squatters, the legislature used its constitutional powers to indict Lugo for a variety of transgressions and remove him from office. Vice President Federico Franco assumed the presidency and will serve until elections in August 2013. Paraguay is a major exporter of soy. The extensive informal economy is geared to the re-export of consumer goods to neighboring countries. Institutional impediments to the market economy are considerable. The government has attempted to reduce smuggling and more closely scrutinize suspected terrorist groups in the tri-border area with Brazil and Argentina.


The judicial framework remains largely incapable of protecting property rights and maintaining the rule of law. The fragility of Paraguay’s democracy and political institutions was underscored by the abrupt (but constitutional) impeachment and removal from office of the president in 2012. Contraband trade on the borders facilitates money laundering. Pervasive corruption flourishes with impunity, and the slow pace of judicial reform undermines economic freedom.


There is a 10 percent income tax, and the top corporate tax rate is 10 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax (VAT) and a property tax. The overall tax burden is equal to 14.5 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has increased to 22.1 percent of total domestic output. Budget surpluses have kept public debt quite low, below 15 percent of GDP.


The overall regulatory framework remains cumbersome. There is no minimum capital requirement for starting a business, but the process still takes more than the world average of 30 days. The cost of completing licensing requirements remains over twice the level of average annual income. The labor market lacks flexibility, hurting much-needed job growth in the formal sector. Inflation has moderated.


The trade-weighted average tariff rate is modest at 3.7 percent, but some non-tariff barriers impede the free flow of goods and services. Most sectors are open to private investment, and equal treatment of foreign investment is formally guaranteed. However, the investment regime lacks efficiency, mainly because of government bureaucracy. The level of financial intermediation has been improving gradually.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Education in Paraguay

Education in the colonial era was largely limited to the upper class. The wealthy either hired tutors or sent their children abroad. Although there were a few private schools in operation following the declaration of independence in 1811, they languished throughout most of the nineteenth century. The only secondary school closed in 1822. By the end of the War of the Triple Alliance, perhaps as little as 14 percent of the populace was literate.

Starting with the inauguration of the public secondary school system in 1877, public education grew steadily in the decades following the war. In 1889 the National University of Asunción was founded, and in 1896 the first teacher-training school began operation. By the eve of the Chaco War, there were several teachers' colleges, a number of secondary schools, and a few technical schools. The decades following the Chaco War were marked by widespread expansion of the educational system. Between the end of that war and the beginning of World War II, enrollments nearly doubled. They continued to expand in subsequent decades. Enrollments grew even faster at universities and secondary schools than at the elementary level.
Paraguay had two universities: the National University and the Catholic University. Both had branches in several interior cities. In the mid-1980s, about 20,000 students were enrolled in the National University and some 8,000 in the Catholic University. The number of applicants for university admission grew because of the growing numbers of students completing secondary school. In the mid-1970s, both universities began offering a variety of short-term degree programs in an effort to meet the increased demand for admission. The programs were designed to reduce pressure on traditional professional courses of study such as engineering, law, and medicine.
Formal education was under the direction of the Ministry of Education and Worship. The six-year cycle of primary school was free and compulsory for children from ages seven to fourteen. Secondary education consisted of two three-year programs, each leading to a baccalaureate degree. The diversified program emphasized training in the humanities and was preparatory to study at a university or teacher- training institute. The technical program was designed for students entering any of a number of postsecondary schools offering training in commerce, industry, or agriculture.
Schools were financed by the government and a variety of user sources. The Ministry of Education and Worship's budget represented slightly less than 15 percent of the government budget in the early 1980s. Virtually all of the costs of rural primary schools and nearly 90 percent of the costs of urban primary schools were covered by government funds. Public secondary schools received from half to three-quarters of their budget for current expenditures from the national government.
There was a perennial shortage of adequately trained teachers; this was especially true of rural teachers, who were often uncertified. Primary school teachers were required to complete a two-year postsecondary school training program. Secondary teachers were supposed to have an additional two years of specialized training. Curricula changes demanded extensive upgrading of teachers' skills. There were retraining programs available through the Higher Institute of Education and several regional centers.
Reforms in the 1980s attempted to make the educational system more responsive to the needs of the population. Rural Paraguayans had long faced a lack of educational facilities, materials, and teachers. The reforms attempted to meet some of these needs through multigrade programs designed to achieve a more efficient allocation of scarce resources. By the early 1980s, there were about 2,000 multigrade programs reaching more than 55,000 students.
Student enrollments increased at all levels during the 1970s and early 1980s. Overall enrollment grew nearly 6 percent per year in the late 1970s. The number of students enrolled in the basic cycle of secondary school grew from 49,000 in 1975 to 76,000 in 1980. The number of students attending primary school increased by roughly one-quarter during this period; rural school children, who historically had had very limited access to education, represented most of the increase. The number of rural children attending primary school increased by more than one-third between 1972 and 1981.
Despite the growth of school enrollments, the proportion of school-age children enrolled in classes actually remained constant or declined between 1965 and 1985. Only in higher education did enrollments grow faster than the school-age population.
In the mid-1980s, the official literacy rate was above 80 percent. More males than females were able to read and write, although literacy was increasing faster among females. About 90 percent of city dwellers could read; rural Paraguayans lagged behind their urban counterparts by about 10 percent.
Critics charged that the official literacy figures greatly overestimated the numbers who could actually read and write. They argued that the government counted as literate anyone who attended primary school--a dubious assumption given the large number of monolingual Guaraní speakers who entered but failed to complete elementary school. Such speakers represented an estimated 90 percent of the children entering rural primary schools. Many men who entered the armed forces as conscripts first learned to read during their military service.
In the early 1970s, less than 5 percent of those entering rural elementary schools finished this course of study, as compared to 30 percent of urban youngsters. Only 1 percent of rural children finished secondary school; the figure for city children was 10 percent. Rural schools also were plagued with high rates of student absenteeism and grade repetition. A 1980 survey showed a substantial improvement in the percentage of children completing the elementary school cycle. The figure for who completed their course of privacy school studies had risen to 38 percent. Although the completion rate for rural students climbed to 25 percent, this figure was substantially below that for urban youngsters.
In the late 1970s, the Ministry of Education and Worship attempted to deal with the crisis in rural education by developing a bilingual program for monolingual Guaraní. The program was designed to develop basic oral skills in Guaraní and oral and written skills in Spanish. Guaraní literature also was available at the secondary and university levels

Industry of Paraguay

Industry, especially the manufacturing sector, historically was linked to agricultural processing until the 1970s, when the construction of hydroelectric plants and new industrial incentives began to broaden the industrial base. Industry was composed principally of manufacturing and construction. Paraguay had no real mining sector, but the manufacture of construction materials included limited mining activity. Manufacturing and construction in the economy in the late 1980s remained dependent on developments in other sectors, such as agriculture and energy, for their growth. Although industry was becoming more visible in Paraguay in the 1980s, industry's share of GDP actually declined in the 1970s and 1980s because of more rapid growth in agriculture.

Manufacturing accounted for 16.3 percent of GDP in 1986 and employed roughly 13 percent of the labor force, making Paraguay one of the least industrialized nations in Latin America. Manufactured exports, by most definitions, accounted for less than 5 percent of total exports; when semiprocessed agricultural products were included, however, that figure reached 77 percent. The growth of the country's manufacturing industries was hampered by numerous structural obstacles. These included a small internal market, limited physical infrastructure, costly access to seaports, a historical lack of energy production, and the openness of Paraguay's economy to the more industrialized economies of Brazil and Argentina. Another significant factor was the ubiquity and profitability of smuggling operations, which encouraged importing and reexporting rather than production.
Paraguay's earliest manufacturing industries processed hides and leather from its abundant cattle and tannin from quebracho trees. Small-scale manufacturing, especially textiles, flourished under the Francia dictatorship, when the nation's borders were closed. The War of the Triple Alliance, however, devastated what little industry and infrastructure the country had, causing Paraguay to enter the twentieth century as an almost completely agricultural society. Land sales to foreigners stimulated increased agricultural processing in the early twentieth century, including meat packing and the processing of flour, oilseeds, sugar, beer, and pectin extract. After the early 1900s, small-scale manufacturing in all subsectors grew at a slow, but steady pace, with some of the fastest growth occurring because of the shortages during World War II.
The government's role in promoting industry increased in the postwar era, and in 1955 the Stroessner government undertook the country's first industrial census. Over the next twenty years, the government enacted a number of industrial incentive measures, the most important of which was Law 550. Law 550 promoted exportoriented industries or those that would save foreign exchange. It also provided liberal fiscal incentives for companies to develop specific areas of the country, especially the departments of Alto Paraguay, Nueva Asunción, Chaco, and Boquerón. Incentives for business were related mostly to import-duty exemptions, but they included a variety of tax breaks and placed no restrictions on foreign ownership. Approximately one-fourth of all new manufacturing investment from 1975 to 1985 was registered under Law 550. Most foreign investments originated from Brazil, West Germany, the United States, Portugal, and Argentina in that order of importance. The dynamic processes of agricultural colonization and hydroelectric development, combined with such attractive industrial incentives, caused manufacturing to grow at an unprecedented rate in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Unlike many other Latin American governments, which followed an import-substitution industrial policy, the Paraguayan government had played a minimalist role in the economy through most of the postwar era, curtailing import tariffs and maintaining a realistic exchange rate. In the 1980s, however, Paraguay's exchange rate became overvalued and several state-owned heavy industry plants became operational.
In the late 1980s, the major subsectors of manufacturing were food, beverages, and tobacco; textiles, clothing, leather, and shoes; wood and related products; and chemicals, petroleum, and plastics. Despite some increases in heavy industry in the economy during the 1970s and 1980s, Paraguayan industry was generally small-scale. Manufacturing production remained focused on consumer goods, and capital goods comprised under 5 percent of industrial output. In fact, in the 1980s Paraguay did not contain even one of Latin America's 1,000 largest companies, at least some of which were found in most other countries in the region. Virtually every subsector of Paraguay's manufacturing was characterized by numerous small- to medium-sized firms and a few large firms, which often were foreign owned. Most companies operated well below their capacity.
The food, beverages, and tobacco subsector has been the core manufacturing activity throughout Paraguay's history. In the late 1980s, this subsector continued to dominate, accounting for about 45 percent of industrial activity, depending on agricultural output in a given year. Agro-processing involved a large number of small, inefficient, and often family-run firms as well as a small number of large, efficient, and usually foreign-owned firms. The larger firms produced only the most lucrative items, such as oilseeds, meats, and various beverages, often for export. Some of the most common small-scale producers manufactured milled items, baked goods, sugar and molasses, dairy products, candy, manioc flour, vinegar, coffee, and tobacco. Along with raw agricultural produce, processed and semiprocessed food generated nearly all of the country's exports in the late 1980s. But, as with other manufacturing subsectors, the profitability of the food subsector often was impaired by contraband items from Brazil and Argentina, such as flour, meat, or dairy products. Paraguayan goods crossed borders unofficially, as well, thus lowering official exports.
The second most important manufacturing activity also relied on agricultural inputs for its base. Utilizing Paraguay's rich endowment of hardwood trees, the wood subsector represented about 15 percent of all industrial activity and contributed over 8 percent of exports in the 1980s. The most voluminous wood export was lumber, which was produced by hundreds of small sawmills throughout the central and eastern border regions. In addition to saw wood, mills also produced a variety of milled wood, plywood, chipboard, and parquet flooring. Although the country cut and processed only a fraction of its hundreds of species, Paraguayan wood was known for its quality. The country also contained several small paper companies and one large paper and cardboard factory located at Villeta.
Textiles, clothing, leather, and shoes comprised the third largest manufacturing subsector. These industries were traditional, grounded in the nation's abundance of inputs like cotton fibers, cattle hides, and tannin extract. The subsector accounted for about 10 percent of all manufacturing. The textile industry performed spinning, weaving, and dyeing operations and produced finished fabrics that amounted to over 100 million tons in 1986. Most fabrics were derived from cotton fibers, but a growing number of synthetic and wool fibers also were produced. Textile production provided inputs to approximately sixty clothing firms that operated under capacity and were generally inefficient. As with so many other manufacturers, clothing companies met stiff competition from widespread unregistered imports, which often originated in Asia and typically entered across the Brazilian border. The leather industry was characterized by 200 or so small tanneries dotting the Paraguayan countryside. In addition, many medium and two large tanneries fashioned leather goods. The leather industry operated at only about 40 percent of capacity, however. The shoe industry comprised a few hundred small workshops and a dozen or so mediumsized firms, which produced some 5 million pairs of leather and synthetic shoes a year.
The processing of petroleum, chemicals, and plastics repreated an increasing activity. In the late 1980s, this subsector represented less than 5 percent of industrial activity, but its share of manufacturing output was expanding because of the growth of heavy industry in Paraguay, especially industry related to the energy sector. The country also produced fertilizers, industrial gases, tanning chemicals, varnishes, and detergents. In 1987 a group of Japanese investors was considering the construction of a new fertilizer plant with a 70,000-ton capacity per year. Since the early 1980s, ethanol was being produced in large quantities, and the government was considering producing methanol. Also processed were paints, soaps, candles, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. One of Paraguay's fastest growing industries was the new, relatively modern plastics subsector, which supplied a wide variety of goods to the local market

Monday, March 25, 2013

Agriculture in Paraguay

Throughout Paraguay's history, agriculture has been the mainstay of the economy. This trend continued unabated in the late 1980s as the agricultural sector generally accounted for 48 percent of the nation's employment, 23 percent of GDP, and 98 percent of export earnings. The sector comprised a strong food and cash crop base, a large livestock subsector, and a vibrant timber industry.
Growth in agriculture was very rapid from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, a period when cotton and soybean prices soared and cropland under cultivation expanded as a result of agricultural colonization. Growth in agriculture slowed from an average of 7.5 percent annual growth in the 1970s to approximately 3.5 percent in the mid- to late 1980s. Agricultural output was routinely affected by weather conditions. Flooding in 1982 and 1983 and severe droughts in 1986 hurt not only agriculture, but, because of the key role of the sector, virtually every other sector of the economy as well.
In the aggregate, however, the advances experienced by the sector during the 1970s and 1980s did not reach many of the small farmers, who continued to use traditional farming methods and lived at a subsistence level. Despite the abundance of land, the distribution of the country's farmlands remained highly skewed, favoring large farms. Epitomizing the country's economic activity in general, the agricultural sector was consolidating its quick expansion over the two previous decades and only beginning to tap its potential in the late 1980s.

Falls of Paraguay

Roughly the size of California, Paraguay is a country in Latin America just adjacent to Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Paraguay is known for its natural wonders: there are grassy plains, wooded hilly areas, tropical forests as well as waterfalls. The most famous waterfall chain in Paraguay is the Iguazu Falls, which is technically shared with both Brazil and Argentina because it is on the border of all three countires. Iguazu Falls are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and ranked the second largest in the world. The Iguaza falls are divided into several waterfalls themselves, many of which are spectacular. There used to be another distinct set of 18 waterfalls that comprised the Guaira Falls in Paraguay but these are no longer a natural attraction because of a hydroelectric project that completely submerged them.

History of The Iguazu Waterfalls

Discovered in 1542 by European explorer Cabeza de Vaca, the Iguazu Falls were initially named "waterfalls of Saint Mary" but morphed into their traditional Indian name over time. The banks of the Iguazu River were once inhabited by the Caigangue Indians. It was only in 1916 that the gentleman who publicized Iguazu diligently appeared, and Alberto Dumont, an aviation pioneer, was responsible for converting the area into a national park.

The Largest Iguazu Waterfall: Devil's Throat

The Iguazu river starts in Brazil, and flows gently for several miles until it reaches the Parana River, where there is a dramatic shift in course. Small islands and choppy terrain lead the river to become more agitated, and results in a spectacular drop off that was created by a fault formed more then 200,000 years ago. The Iguazu Falls themselves span 14 miles of pure crashing waterfalls that plummet to a depth of 229 feet. In this aspect, the Falls are much taller than the United States' Niagara Falls, which plummet to a maximum of 170 feet from their highest point. The Devil's Throat is the largest waterfall in the Iguazu Falls, and is located at the main channel of the river. Devil's Throat is about 80 meters tall.

An Important Iguazu Waterfall: The San Martin Fall

An impressive waterfall in the Iguazu chain features a double drop off of 70 meters. This waterfall is said to create a "constant roar" according to the site Patagonia Argentina, and is located in the north (upper) region of the Iguazu Falls. Since there are more than 270 waterfalls in total that comprise the chain of the Iguazu, not all individual falls are noteworthy or easy to spot, but the sheer height and unique double drop off nature of the San Martin Fall makes it easier to identify.

Smaller Iguazu Waterfalls: The Two Sisters and Others

Known as Dos Hermanas in Portuguese, the Two Sisters also features a natural pool that is 8 meters deep. This is a relaxing spot to take in the surrounding scenery that includes red soil, giant butterflies and also toucans. The Two Sisters is one of the smaller but important waterfalls in the Iguazu chain, as are the Alvar Núñez, the Bosetti and the Chico Alférez that split into two parts. Because of the continuous cascade of waterfalls in the Iguazu chain, the air is usually misty and leads to the frequent formation of rainbow

Lakes of Paraguay

Ypacaraí Lake is a major waterbody located in Paraguay about 25 km east of Asunción. The lake lies in the western part of theAsunción-Sapucai-Villarrica graben, a tectonic depression of Mesozoic age, and drains to the northwest trough Salado River intoParaguay River. The lake is surrounded by three cities: Aregua, Ypacarai and San Bernardino, abeit only the last one develops at its shores. But today, is the most polluted lake Paraguay, as a result of the proliferation of toxic algae or cyanobacteria, the government has banned access to its watersYpacarai is a relatively shallow lake. Boats and small ships can navigate it without inconvenience.Less than 20 miles east of Paraguay's capital, Asunción, lies Lake Ypacarai. Its sandy, tropical beaches, flanked by bountiful accommodation options ranging from inns to vacation homes, make it one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paraguay. A particular hot spot is the resort town of San Bernardino. Overall, Lake Ypacarai is a shallow, marshy lake, reaching a maximum depth of only 10 feet. Twenty streams and small rivers flow into Lake Ypacarai, but only one river stems out from it. Close to this outlet, a significant expanse of wetlands provides the habitat for verdant tropical vegetation growing in and around the water. About 40 miles south of Asunción lies Lake Ypoá, the country's second-largest lake. Lake Ypoá is best known outside Paraguay as the setting for the movie "The Fish Child." Lush flora and fauna surround the lake. Lake Ypoá drains into a smaller lake, Lake Ver The lake is surrounded by cities with necessary facilities for tourists and visitors. Beaches are open to public, and they are very popular during summer, especially in San Bernardino
Paraguay has only two lakes of consequence. The largest, Lake Ypoá, about 40 miles (65 km) south of Asunción, merges into Lake Verá; it is drained by channels of the Tebicuary and feeds the marshes of the Ñeembucú plain. Lake Ypacaraí, about 30 miles (50 km) east of Asunción, is the site of a favourite summer resort at San Bernardino.

Rivers of paraguay

The Paraguay River (Río Paraguay in Spanish, Rio Paraguai in Portuguese, Ysyry Paraguái in Guarani) is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. It flows about 2,621 kilometres (1,629 mi) from its headwaters in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso to its confluence with the Paraná River north of Corrientes.

The Paraguay's source is south of Diamantino in the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. It follows a generally southwesterly course, passing through the Brazilian city of Cáceres. It then turns in a generally southward direction, flowing through the Pantanal wetlands, the city of Corumbá, and then running close to the Brazil-Bolivia border for a short distance in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
From the city of Puerto Bahia Negra, Paraguay, the river forms the border between Paraguay and Brazil, flowing almost due south before the confluence with the Apa River.
The Paraguay makes a long, gentle curve to the south-southeast before resuming a more south-southwest course, dividing the country of Paraguay into two distinct halves: the Gran Chaco region to the west, a largely uninhabited semi-arid region; and the eastern forested departments of the country, accounting for some 98% of the country's inhabitants. As such the river is considered perhaps the key geographical feature to the country with which it shares its name.
Some 400 kilometres (250 mi) after flowing through the middle of Paraguay, at the confluence with the Pilcomayo River and passing the Paraguayan capital city, Asunción, the river forms the border with Argentina, flowing generally south-southwesterly for another 275 kilometres (171 mi) before it reaches its end, joining with the Paraná River.
Deep water port on the River Paraguay in Asunción, Paraguay
The Paraguay River is the second major river of the Rio de la Plata Basin, after the Paraná River. The Paraguay's drainage basin, about 365,592 square kilometres (141,156 sq mi), covers a vast area that includes major portions of northern Argentina, southern Brazil, parts of Bolivia, and the entire country of Paraguay. Unlike many of the other great rivers of the Rio de la Plata Basin, the Paraguay has not been dammed for hydroelectric power generation, and as such it is navigable for a considerable distance, second to the Amazon River only in terms of navigable length on the continent. This makes it an important shipping and trade corridor, providing a much needed link to the Atlantic Ocean for the otherwise landlocked nations of Paraguay and Bolivia. It serves such important cities as Asunción and Concepción in Paraguay and Formosa in Argentina.
The river is also a source of commerce in the form of fishing and providing irrigation for agriculture along its route. It also serves as a way of life for a number of poor fishermen who live along its banks and make the majority of their income selling fish in local markets, as well as supplying a major source of sustenance for their families. This has created issues in large cities such as Asunción, where poverty stricken farmers from the country's interior have populated the river's banks in search of an easier lifestyle. Seasonal flooding of the river's banks forces many thousands of displaced residents to seek temporary shelter until the waters recede from their homes. The Paraguayan military has been forced to dedicate land on one of its reserves in the capital to emergency housing for these displaced citizens. The river is a tourist attraction for its beauty.
Wetland controversy
The Paraguay River is the primary waterway of the 147,629-square-kilometre (57,000 sq mi) Pantanal wetlands of southern Brazil, northern Paraguay and parts of Bolivia. The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland and is largely dependent upon waters provided by the Paraguay River.
Owing to its importance as a navigable waterway serving Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the river has been the focus of commercial and industrial development. In 1997 the governments of the nations of the La Plata Basin proposed a bold plan under the Hidrovia Inter Governmental Commission (CIH) agency to develop the rivers into an industrial waterway system to help reduce the costs of exporting goods from the area, in particular the soybean crop that the area has embraced. The plan proposed constructing more hydroelectric dams along some of the waterways, along with a massive effort to restructure the navigable waterways—most notably the Paraguay River—through dredging of the waterway, rock removal, and channel restructuring.
Studies indicated that the proposed river engineering of the Paraguay would have lowered the river levels by several feet and have a devastating impact on the Pantanal wetlands, but the member nations of the CIH were determined to go ahead with the plan. An effort by the Rios Vivos coalition to educate people on the effects of the project was successful in delaying the project, and the nations involved have agreed to reformulate their plan. The final plan is still uncertain, however, along with the final effect it will have on the Pantanal and the ecology of the entire Río de la Plata basin is currently undetermined. The controversy as to whether or not the project will have a disastrous effect on the ecology, as well as the potential economic gains, continues to this day.
The project is considered to have extremely positive effects for Paraguay, Bolivia, western Brazil, and the north of Argentina, which presently rely on expensive overland transport. With this improved waterway system in place, the lower costs of transportation would make the regional industry more competitive in world markets, spur economic growth in the region, and create additional employment throughout the area. Paraguay's capital city, Asunción, would become a major inland port benefiting exporters of cattle, cotton, and in particular, the extensive soybean crop. Argentina's cereal producers near the Rosario port on the Paraná River would benefit from the lower transportation cost as well. Also, this project could trigger an economic boost to Brazil's mining companies and farmers since the central plains are rich in iron, manganese, and precious stones and soybeans, coffee, wheat, rice, and hardwoods flourish. Uruguay's aim is to develop Nueva Palmira at the southern end of the Hydrovia and establish it as the main port of the Southern Cone.