Photos of Colombia

Introduction

Background

Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A decades-long conflict between government forces, paramilitaries, and antigovernment insurgent groups heavily funded by the drug trade, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries demobilized by the end of 2006, and the AUC as a formal organization ceased to operate. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, illegal armed groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. After four years of formal peace negotiations, the Colombian Government signed a final peace accord with the FARC in November 2016, which was subsequently ratified by the Colombian Congress. The accord calls for members of the FARC to demobilize, disarm, and reincorporate into society and politics. The accord also committed the Colombian Government to create three new institutions to form a 'comprehensive system for truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition,' to include a truth commission, a special unit to coordinate the search for those who disappeared during the conflict, and a 'Special Jurisdiction for Peace' to administer justice for conflict-related crimes. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to expand its presence into every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug-related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates

4 00 N, 72 00 W

Map references

South America

Area

total: 1,138,910 sq km

land: 1,038,700 sq km

water: 100,210 sq km

note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank

country comparison to the world: 27

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 6,672 km

border countries (5): Brazil 1790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1494 km, Venezuela 2341 km

Coastline

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain

flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)

Elevation

mean elevation: 593 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,730 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 37.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 34.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.4% (2018 est.)

other: 8.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10,900 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated

Natural hazards

highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

volcanism: Galeras (4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace

Geography - note

only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Colombian(s)

adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups

Mestizo and White 87.6%, Afro-Colombian (includes Mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 6.8%, Amerindian 4.3%, unspecified 1.4% (2018 est.)

Languages

Spanish (official)

Religions

Roman Catholic 79%, Protestant 14% (includes Pentecostal 6%, mainline Protestant 2%, other 6%), other 2%, unspecified 5% (2014 est.)

Demographic profile

Colombia is in the midst of a demographic transition resulting from steady declines in its fertility, mortality, and population growth rates. The birth rate has fallen from more than 6 children per woman in the 1960s to just above replacement level today as a result of increased literacy, family planning services, and urbanization. However, income inequality is among the worst in the world, and more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line.

Colombia experiences significant legal and illegal economic emigration and refugee outflows. Large-scale labor emigration dates to the 1960s; the United States and, until recently, Venezuela have been the main host countries. Emigration to Spain picked up in the 1990s because of its economic growth, but this flow has since diminished because of Spain’s ailing economy and high unemployment. Colombia has been the largest source of Latin American refugees in Latin America, nearly 400,000 of whom live primarily in Venezuela and Ecuador. Venezuela’s political and economic crisis since 2015, however, has created a reverse flow, consisting largely of Colombians returning home.

Forced displacement continues to be prevalent because of violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and Colombian security forces. Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected. Even with the Colombian Government’s December 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the risk of displacement remains as other rebel groups fill the void left by the FARC. Between 1985 and September 2017, nearly 7.6 million persons have been internally displaced, the highest total in the world. These estimates may undercount actual numbers because many internally displaced persons are not registered. Historically, Colombia also has one of the world’s highest levels of forced disappearances. About 30,000 cases have been recorded over the last four decades—although the number is likely to be much higher—including human rights activists, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and farmers in rural conflict zones.

Because of political violence and economic problems, Colombia received limited numbers of immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries, mostly from the Middle East, Europe, and Japan. More recently, growth in the oil, mining, and manufacturing sectors has attracted increased labor migration; the primary source countries are Venezuela, the US, Mexico, and Argentina. Colombia has also become a transit area for illegal migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean -- especially Haiti and Cuba -- who are en route to the US or Canada.

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.27% (male 5,853,351/female 5,567,196)

15-24 years: 16.38% (male 4,098,421/female 3,939,870)

25-54 years: 42.04% (male 10,270,516/female 10,365,423)

55-64 years: 9.93% (male 2,307,705/female 2,566,173)

65 years and over: 8.39% (male 1,725,461/female 2,390,725) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.4

youth dependency ratio: 32.3

elderly dependency ratio: 13.2

potential support ratio: 7.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 31.2 years

male: 30.2 years

female: 32.2 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Birth rate

16.51 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Death rate

5.53 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Net migration rate

-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Population distribution

the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated

Urbanization

urban population: 81.4% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 1.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

11.167 million BOGOTA (capital), 4.034 million Medellin, 2.810 million Cali, 2.299 million Barranquilla, 1.349 million Bucaramanga, 1.071 million Cartagena (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.7 years (2015 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

83 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.88 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 15.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.91 years

male: 73.77 years

female: 80.23 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 86.4% of population

total: 97.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 13.6% of population

total: 2.7% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.19 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 80.1% of population

total: 94.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 19.9% of population

total: 5.3% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Colombia; as of 6 April 2021, Columbia has reported a total of 2,446,219 cases of COVID-19 or 4,807.55 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 125.96 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 10 April 2021, 4.4% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.1%

male: 94.9%

female: 95.3% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 18.5%

male: 14.4%

female: 24% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia

conventional short form: Colombia

local long form: Republica de Colombia

local short form: Colombia

etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Bogota

geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: originally referred to as "Bacata," meaning "enclosure outside of the farm fields," by the indigenous Muisca

Administrative divisions

32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, Archipielago de San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina (colloquially San Andres y Providencia), Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada

Independence

20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest promulgated 4 July 1991

amendments: proposed by the government, by Congress, by a constituent assembly, or by public petition; passage requires a majority vote by Congress in each of two consecutive sessions; passage of amendments to constitutional articles on citizen rights, guarantees, and duties also require approval in a referendum by over one half of voters and participation of over one fourth of citizens registered to vote; amended many times, last in 2020

Legal system

civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Colombia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ivan DUQUE Marquez (since 7 August 2018); Vice President Marta Lucia RAMIREZ Blanco (since 7 August 2018); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Ivan DUQUE Marquez (since 7 August 2018); Vice President Marta Lucia RAMIREZ Blanco (since 7 August 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single 4-year term; election last held on 27 May 2018 with a runoff held on 17 June 2018 (next to be held in 2022); note - political reform in 2015 eliminated presidential reelection

election results: Ivan DUQUE Marquez elected president in second round; percent of vote - Ivan DUQUE Marquez (CD) 54%, Gustavo PETRO (Humane Colombia) 41.8%, other/blank/invalid 4.2%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of:
Senate or Senado (108 seats; 100 members elected in a single nationwide constituency by party-list proportional representation vote, 2 members elected in a special nationwide constituency for indigenous communities, 5 members of the People's Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) political party for the 2018 and 2022 elections only as per the 2016 peace accord, and 1 seat reserved for the runner-up presidential candidate in the recent election; all members serve 4-year terms)
Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (172 seats; 165 members elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote, 5 members of the FARC for the 2018 and 2022 elections only as per the 2016 peace accord, and 1 seat reserved for the runner-up vice presidential candidate in the recent election; all members serve 4-year terms)

elections:  
Senate - last held on 11 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2022)
Chamber of Representatives - last held on 11 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2022)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CD 19, CR 16, PC 15, PL 14, U Party 14, Green Alliance 10, PDA 5, other 9; composition - men 77, women 31, percent of women 28.7%
Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 35, CD 32, CR 30, U Party 25, PC 21, Green Alliance 9, other 13; composition - men 147, women 25, percent of women 14.5%; total Congress percent of women 20%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 27 judges); Superior Judiciary Council (consists of 13 magistrates)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Supreme Court members from candidates submitted by the Superior Judiciary Council; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Constitutional Court magistrates - nominated by the president, by the Supreme Court, and elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Council of State members appointed by the State Council plenary from lists nominated by the Superior Judiciary Council

subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts

Political parties and leaders

Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Jorge Enrique ROBLEDO]
Citizens Option (Opcion Ciudadana) or OC [Angel ALIRIO Moreno] (formerly known as the National Integration Party or PIN)
Conservative Party or PC [Hernan ANDRADE]
Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez]
Green Alliance [Claudia LOPEZ Hernandez]
Humane Colombia [Gustavo PETRO]
Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA]
People's Alternative Revolutionary Force or FARC [Rodrigo LONDONO Echeverry]
Radical Change or CR [Rodrigo LARA Restrepo]
Social National Unity Party or U Party [Roy BARRERAS]

note: Colombia has numerous smaller political movements

International organization participation

BCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco SANTOS Calderon (since 17 September 2018)

chancery: 1724 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338

FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark (NJ), Orlando, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

consulate(s): Boston, Chicago, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Philip S. GOLDBERG (since 19 September 2019)

telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000

embassy: Carrera 45, No. 24B-27, Bogota

mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogota, D.C.

FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600

Flag description

three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830; various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in attaining freedom; alternatively, the colors have been described as representing more elemental concepts such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), loyalty and vigilance (blue), and valor and generosity (red); or simply the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity

note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

National symbol(s)

Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)

lyrics/music: Rafael NUNEZ/Oreste SINDICI

note: adopted 1920; the anthem was created from an inspirational poem written by President Rafael NUNEZ

Economy

Economic overview

Colombia heavily depends on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices. Colombia is Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer and the world’s fourth largest coal producer, third largest coffee exporter, and second largest cut flowers exporter. Colombia’s economic development is hampered by inadequate infrastructure, poverty, narcotrafficking, and an uncertain security situation, in addition to dependence on primary commodities (goods that have little value-added from processing or labor inputs).

Colombia’s economy slowed in 2017 because of falling world market prices for oil and lower domestic oil production due to insurgent attacks on pipeline infrastructure. Although real GDP growth averaged 4.7% during the past decade, it fell to an estimated 1.8% in 2017. Declining oil prices also have contributed to reduced government revenues. In 2016, oil revenue dropped below 4% of the federal budget and likely remained below 4% in 2017. A Western credit rating agency in December 2017 downgraded Colombia’s sovereign credit rating to BBB-, because of weaker-than-expected growth and increasing external debt. Colombia has struggled to address local referendums against foreign investment, which have slowed its expansion, especially in the oil and mining sectors. Colombia’s FDI declined by 3% to $10.2 billion between January and September 2017.

Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; the US-Colombia FTA went into effect in May 2012. Colombia is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance—a regional trade block formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote regional trade and economic integration. The Colombian government took steps in 2017 to address several bilateral trade irritants with the US, including those on truck scrappage, distilled spirits, pharmaceuticals, ethanol imports, and labor rights. Colombia hopes to accede to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Real GDP growth rate

3.26% (2019 est.)

2.51% (2018 est.)

1.36% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.5% (2019 est.)

3.2% (2018 est.)

4.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Baa2 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB- (2017)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$741.099 billion (2019 est.)

$717.7 billion (2018 est.)

$700.091 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 32

GDP (official exchange rate)

$323.255 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$14,722 (2019 est.)

$14,452 (2018 est.)

$14,314 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 114

Gross national saving

15.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

16.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

16.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.8% (2017 est.)

services: 62.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 68.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 14.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -19.7% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 70.1 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 87 (2020)

Trading score: 62.7 (2020)

Enforcement score: 34.3 (2020)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, milk, oil palm fruit, potatoes, rice, bananas, cassava leaves, plantains, poultry, maize

Industries

textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 17%

industry: 21%

services: 62% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.2%

highest 10%: 39.6% (2015 est.)

Budget

revenues: 83.35 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 91.73 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

49.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

49.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities

country comparison to the world: 102

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$13.748 billion (2019 est.)

-$13.118 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

Exports

$61.697 billion (2019 est.)

$60.151 billion (2018 est.)

$59.644 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Exports - partners

United States 31%, China 11%, Panama 6%, Ecuador 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, coal, refined petroleum, coffee, gold (2019)

Imports

$87.072 billion (2019 est.)

$80.546 billion (2018 est.)

$76.136 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Imports - partners

United States 27%, China 20%, Mexico 7%, Brazil 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, packaged medicines, corn (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$47.13 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$46.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Debt - external

$135.644 billion (2019 est.)

$128.238 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Exchange rates

Colombian pesos (COP) per US dollar -

3,457.93 (2020 est.)

3,416.5 (2019 est.)

3,147.43 (2018 est.)

2,001 (2014 est.)

2,001.1 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 97% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 86% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 6,774,363

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.93 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 64,033,049

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131.67 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: fastest growing sector is mobile broadband with LTE infrastructure and investment in 5G; strong demand in rural areas for mobile broadband, potential is high while penetration is low; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities; the cable sector commands about half of the market by subscribers, with DSL having a declining share while fiber-based broadband is developing strongly; competition among the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) sector has promoted 2.9 million subscribers as of mid-2018; most infrastructure is primarily in high-density urban areas; growing popularity of bundled services (2020)

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 14 per 100 persons; mobile cellular telephone subscribership is about 132 per 100 persons; competition among cellular service providers is resulting in falling local and international calling rates and contributing to the steep decline in the market share of fixed-line services; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations (2019)

international: country code - 57; landing points for the SAC, Maya-1, SAIT, ACROS, AMX-1, CFX-1, PCCS, Deep Blue Cable, Globe Net, PAN-AM, SAm-1 submarine cable systems providing links to the US, parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 10 (6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 3 fully digitalized international switching centers) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media provide service; more than 500 radio stations and many national, regional, and local TV stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 29,990,017

percent of population: 62.26% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 6,678,543

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 12 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 157

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 33,704,037 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,349,450,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 121 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 39 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 53 (2017)

under 914 m: 18 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 715 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 25 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 201 (2013)

under 914 m: 488 (2013)

Heliports

3 (2013)

Pipelines

4991 km gas, 6796 km oil, 3429 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 2,141 km (2015)

standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge (2015)

narrow gauge: 1,991 km 0.914-m gauge (2015)

country comparison to the world: 72

Waterways

24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 6

Merchant marine

total: 120

by type: general cargo 22, oil tanker 8, other 90 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 81

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Cartagena, Santa Marta, Turbo

oil terminal(s): Covenas offshore terminal

container port(s) (TEUs): Cartagena (2,663,415) (2017)

river port(s): Barranquilla (Rio Magdalena)

dry bulk cargo port(s): Puerto Bolivar (coal)

Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Military Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Militares de Colombia): National Army (Ejercito Nacional), Republic of Colombia Navy (Armada Republica de Colombia, ARC; includes Coast Guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC); Colombian National Police (civilian force that is part of the Ministry of Defense) (2021)

Military expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2019)

3.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

3.2% of GDP (2017)

3.1% of GDP (2016)

3.1% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 24

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Military Forces of Colombia (FMC) have approximately 295,000 total active troops (235,000 Army; 45,000 Navy, including about 22,000 marines; 14,000 Air Force); approximately 185,000 Colombian National Police (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Colombian military inventory includes a wide mix of equipment from a variety of suppliers, including Brazil, Canada, Europe, Israel, South Korea, and the US; Germany, Israel, and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware since 2010; Colombia's defense industry is active in producing air, land, and naval platforms (2019 est.)

Military deployments

275 Egypt (MFO) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months (2019)

Military - note

the Colombian Armed Forces are primarily focused on internal security, particularly counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and counterinsurgency operations against drug traffickers, militants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist/guerrilla organizations, and other illegal armed groups; the Colombian Government signed a peace agreement with the FARC in 2016, but some former members (known as dissidents) have returned to fighting; the Colombian military resumed operations against FARC dissidents and their successor paramilitary groups in late 2019; in 2017, the Colombian Government initiated formal peace talks with the ELN, but in January 2019, the government ended the peace talks shortly after the ELN exploded a car bomb at the National Police Academy in Bogotá and resumed counter-terrorism/counterinsurgency operations against the group; operations against both the FARC and ELN continued into 2021; the military is also focused on the security challenges posed by its neighbor, Venezuela

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

National Liberation Army (ELN); Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) (2021)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

in December 2007, ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as maritime boundary with Nicaragua; managed dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all neighboring borders and have caused Colombian citizens to flee mostly into neighboring countries; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 729,361 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or received alternative legal stay) (2020)

IDPs: 7,967,965 (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and drug traffickers since 1985; about 300,000 new IDPs each year since 2000) (2020)

stateless persons: 11 (2019)

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 188,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2016, a 18% increase over 2015, producing a potential of 710 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2016, the Colombian government reported manual eradication of 17,642 hectares; Colombia suspended aerial eradication in October 2015 making 2016 the first full year without aerial eradication; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; Colombia probably remains the second largest supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation was estimated to be 1,100 hectares in 2015, sufficient to potentially produce three metric tons of pure heroin