Colombia is richly endowed with metallic ores, emeralds, hydrocarbon resources, and the region's largest coal deposits. The country has a land area of 1.14 million km2 and ports on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The people have inherited the cultural characteristics of Andean as well as Caribbean countries. More than 50 percent of Colombia's 33 million people are mestizo, while 18 percent have European ancestry and 24 percent are mulatto. A smaller proportion has either pure African or Indian heritage. 1
The political situation in Colombia has been uneasy, because of the continuing activities of guerrilla groups and drug cartels. Economically, the country has done well -- much better than the political situation would suggest -- with inflation among the lowest in the region and GDP growing at an average of 3.5 percent annually during the 1980s. Economic growth accelerated from the 3.5 percent registered in 1992 to 5. 2 percent in 1993. Colombia's two most important exports are oil and coffee, accounting for 19 and 17 percent of trade revenue, respectively, in 1992. Other major exports are coal and metals. Colombia's main trading partner is the United States, which in 1992 accounted for 39 percent of both Colombia's exports and its imports. Other key trading partners are Venezuela, Germany, and Japan.
Colombia is a net energy exporter, with exports consisting mainly of high quality crude oil (169,800 b/d in 1991 and 181,800 b/d in 1992), oil products (71,100 b/d in 1992), and coal (16.3 million tonnes in 1991). It is the region's largest coal producer and exporter. Although its coal exports in 1992 were lower than the 1991 level, the increase was more than 50 percent over 1988. Primary