Dominican Republic

May 20, 2012, 2:45 pm
Source: CIA World Factbook
Content Cover Image

Santo Domingo. Source: Edwin Casado Baez/Wikimedia Commons

The Dominican Republic is a nation of ten million people on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region.

The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries, Saint Martin being the other.

Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean island nation, after Cuba.

Its major environmental issues include:

The Dominican Republic lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October. There is occasional flooding and periodic droughts.

The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories.

Christopher Columbus explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland.

In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti.

The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821 but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years. It finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844.

In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865.

A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo from 1930-61.

Juan Bosch was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963.

In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore Bosch.

In 1966, Joaquin Balaguer defeated Bosch in an election to become president. Balaguer maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency.

Former President (1996-2000) Leonel Fernandez Reyna won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.

Geography

Location: Eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti

Geographic Coordinates: 19 00 N, 70 40 W

Area: 48,730 sq km (48,380 sq km of land, 350 sq km of water)

arable land: 22.49%
permanent crops: 10.26%
other: 67.25% (2005)

Land Boundaries: 360 km border with Haiti

Coastline: 1,288 km

Maritime Claims:

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 6 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

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

Terrain: Rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys intersperse. The lowest point is Lago Enriquillo (-46 meters) and the highest point is Pico Duarte (3,175 meters).

Climate: Tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall.

Capital: Santo Domingo

Topography of the Isalnd of Hispaniola. The western two-thirds of the island is the Dominican Republic. Source: NASA

Ecology and Biodiversity

The Caribbean Islands hotspot consists mainly of three large groups of islands between North and South America: the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles, and the Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, and Hispaniola, which includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti).

The Dominican Republic hosts four distinct ecoregions and some of the greatest biodiversity in the Caribbean.

 

Ecoregions of Hispaniola. The western two-thirds of the island is the Dominican Republic. Source: World Wildlife Fund

  1. Hispaniola dry forests (yellow)
     
  2. The pine forests of Hispaniola (green) are located on slopes with shallow soils and higher elevations of the mountain systems of both Dominican Republic and Haiti. Located primarily in the central Dominican mountain range with the highest point in the Antilles then continuing in the northern massif of Haiti. This ecoregion is mainly in mountainous areas of the Cordillera Caentral, the Sierra de Bahoruco and other small patches of both countries. In the Dominican Republic, this ecoregion is protected in parts of the Armando Bermúdez National Park (766 km2), the José del Carmen Ramírez National Park (764 km2), the Valle Nuevo Scientific Reserve (409 km2), the Ébano Verde Natural Scientific Reserve (23 km2), the Sierra de Neiba National Park (407 km2), and the Sierra Bahoruco National Park (1,027 km2I).
     
  3. The wet forests of Hispaniola  (purple) originally occupied more than half (~60%) of the original vegetation on the island of Hispaniola, from the lowlands particularly on the eastern coast of the island (Haiti) to the valleys, plateaus, slopes and foothills of the many mountain ranges, up to an altitude of about 2,100 meters. In the Dominican Republic, moist forest frequently occur covering most of the eastern half of the country all along these shores till ending at the higher elevations of the mountains. Between the slopes of the eastern range and along the northern range in Haiti, the moist forests continue across the entire island of Hispaniola only lacking distinct presence in the southern extension of the island.
     
  4. It is estimated that the Dominican Republic has about 325 km2of mangroves that are part of the Greater Antilles mangroves (also Bahamoan-Antillean mangroves) ecoregion (pink) and it also is home to much biodiversity.
     
  5. Consisting of a series of lagoons, the Enriquillo wetlands ecoregion (blue) corresponds to the remains of an old marine channel that divided the island of Hispaniola into two paleoislands more than 5,000 years ago. The largest lake in this ecoregion, Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic is the largest and most hypersaline lake in all of the Antilles. It consists of a depression that is approximately 44 meters (m) below sea level, surrounded by thorny subtropical mountains and dry forests of great biological interest. This lake is home to the largest population of American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), although currently its populations are at risk. It is also the habitat for the iguana cornuda, which is endemic to the island of Hispaniola and the iguana de Ricord, the latter being at risk of extinction due to its limited distribution. In addition, it is a resting, feeding, and reproductive location for the flamenco and many other species of migratory birds. There are three islands on the lake: Cabritos Island, Islita, and Barbarita Island. There are also other smaller lakes near Enriquillo, with highly valuable biota, including the manatí in Lake Saumatre and the island's endemic Hispaniolan slider, particularly in Lake Rincón .

See also: Common coral reef fishes of the Dominican Republic and Biological diversity in the Caribbean Islands

National Parks

The Domininican Republic has numerous National Parks, including:

  • Del Este National Park (Parque Nacional Del Este)
  • El Choco National Park (Parque Nacional El Choco)
  • Jaragua National Park (Parque Nacional Jaragua)
  • Armando Bermúdez National Park (Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez) in the mountains of the Cordillera Central.
  • José del Carmen Ramírez National Park (Parque Nacional José Del Carmen Ramírez): in the center of the island
  • Los Haitises National Park (Parque Nacional Los Haitises) at Samaná bay
  • Monte Cristi National Park (Parque Nacional Monte Cristi) iin the north-west, close to Haiti border.
  • Isabel De Torres National Park (Parque Nacional Isabel De Torres)
  • Isla Cabritos National Park (Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos) on Cabritos Island in the Enriquillo Lake, in the south-west close to Haiti.
  • Sierra De Baoruco National Park (Parque Nacional Sierra De Baoruco)
  • Perez Rancier National Park (Parque Nacional Pérez Rancier)
  • Cueva de las Maravillas National Park (Cueva de las Maravillas) - "Cave of miracles"

People and Society

Population: 10,088,598 (July 2012 est.)

Slightly fewer than half of Dominicans live in rural areas; many are small landholders. Haitians form the largest foreign minority group. All religions are tolerated; the state religion is Roman Catholicism.

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

South shore of Lago Enriquillo, looking northward to the Sierra de Neiba mountains; Independencia Province, Dominican Republic. Source: Tim Ross/Wikimedia Commons

The only saltwater lake in the world inhabited by crocodiles, Lake Enriquillo can be seen in this near-nadir looking view.

Lake Enriquillo is located in a rift valley that extends 79 miles (127 km) from Port-au-Prince Bay in Haiti in the west (not visible on the image) to near Neiba Bay in the Dominican Republic in the east (not visible on the image).

The rift valley, a former marine strait, is 9 to 12 miles (15-20 km) wide. Known as the Cul-de-Sac Depression in Haiti and the Hoya de Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic, parts of the rift valley are below sea level and are covered by large salt lakes.

Lake Enriquillo covers an area of 102 sq. miles (265 sq. km) and is the lowest point in the Caribbean falling 144 feet (44 meters) below sea level. Its drainage basin includes ten minor river systems. The rivers that rise in the Neiba Mountains to the north (lower center and lower right of the image) are perennial. Those rivers that rise in the Baoruco Mountains to the south (upper center and upper left of the image) are intermittent. Lake Enriquillo has no outlet. The lake’s water level varies because of the high evaporation rate. Earthquakes in the region are common. Just above the right center of the image, the other salt lake in the rift valley, Etang Suamatre located in the country of Haiti, is visible.

Source: NASA

The city of Santiago in the northwest of the Dominican Republic. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Los Haitises National Park. Source:  Mike Deslauriers

Age Structure:

0-14 years: 29.5% (male 1,493,251/female 1,441,735)
15-64 years: 64% (male 3,251,419/female 3,120,540)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 300,245/female 349,458) (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 1.305% (2012 est.)

Birthrate: 19.44 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death Rate: 4.41 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net Migration Rate:  -1.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 77.44 years

male: 75.28 years
female: 79.69 years (2012 est.)

Total Fertility Rate: 2.41 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Languages: Spanish

Literacy: 87%

Urbanization: 69% of total population (2010) growing at an annual rate of change of 2.1% (2010-15 est.)

History

The island of Hispaniola, of which the Dominican Republic forms the eastern two-thirds and Haiti the remainder, was originally occupied by Tainos, an Arawak-speaking people. The Tainos welcomed Columbus in his first voyage in 1492, but subsequent colonizers were brutal, reducing the Taino population from about 1 million to about 500 in 50 years. To ensure adequate labor for plantations, the Spanish brought African slaves to the island beginning in 1503.

In the next century, French settlers occupied the western end of the island, which Spain ceded to France in 1697, and which, in 1804, became the Republic of Haiti. The Haitians conquered the whole island in 1822 and held it until 1844, when forces led by Juan Pablo Duarte, the hero of Dominican independence, drove them out and established the Dominican Republic as an independent state. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire; in 1865, independence was restored. Economic difficulties, the threat of European intervention, and ongoing internal disorders led to a U.S. occupation in 1916 and the establishment of a military government in the Dominican Republic. The occupation ended in 1924, with a democratically elected Dominican Government.

In 1930, Rafael L. Trujillo, a prominent army commander, established absolute political control. Trujillo promoted economic development--from which he and his supporters benefited--and severe repression of domestic human rights. Mismanagement and corruption resulted in major economic problems. In August 1960, the Organization of American States (OAS) imposed diplomatic sanctions against the Dominican Republic as a result of Trujillo's complicity in an attempt to assassinate President Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela. These sanctions remained in force after Trujillo's death by assassination in May 1961. In November 1961, the Trujillo family was forced into exile.

In January 1962, a council of state that included moderate opposition elements with legislative and executive powers was formed. OAS sanctions were lifted January 4, and, after the resignation of President Joaquin Balaguer on January 16, the council under President Rafael E. Bonnelly headed the Dominican Government.

In 1963, Juan Bosch was inaugurated president. Bosch was overthrown in a military coup in September 1963. Another military coup, on April 24, 1965, led to violence between military elements favoring the return to government by Bosch and those who proposed a military junta committed to early general elections. On April 28, U.S. military forces landed to protect U.S. citizens and to evacuate U.S. and other foreign nationals.

Additional U.S. forces subsequently established order. In June 1966, President Balaguer, leader of the Reformist Party (now called the Social Christian Reformist Party--PRSC), was elected and then re-elected to office in May 1970 and May 1974, both times after the major opposition parties withdrew late in the campaign. In the May 1978 election, Balaguer was defeated in his bid for a fourth successive term by Antonio Guzman of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). Guzman's inauguration on August 16 marked the country's first peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to another.

The PRD's presidential candidate, Salvador Jorge Blanco, won the 1982 elections, and the PRD gained a majority in both houses of Congress. In an attempt to cure the ailing economy, the Jorge administration began to implement economic adjustment and recovery policies, including an austerity program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In April 1984, rising prices of basic foodstuffs and uncertainty about austerity measures led to riots.

Balaguer was returned to the presidency with electoral victories in 1986 and 1990. Upon taking office in 1986, Balaguer tried to reactivate the economy through a public works construction program. Nonetheless, by 1988 the country had slid into a 2-year economic depression, characterized by high inflation and currency devaluation. Economic difficulties, coupled with problems in the delivery of basic services--e.g., electricity, water, transportation--generated popular discontent that resulted in frequent protests, occasionally violent, including a paralyzing nationwide strike in June 1989.

In 1990, Balaguer instituted a second set of economic reforms. After concluding an IMF agreement, balancing the budget, and curtailing inflation, the Dominican Republic experienced a period of economic growth marked by moderate inflation, a balance in external accounts, and a steadily increasing GDP that lasted through 2000.

The voting process in 1986 and 1990 was generally seen as fair, but allegations of electoral board fraud tainted both victories. The elections of 1994 were again marred by charges of fraud. Following a compromise calling for constitutional and electoral reform, President Balaguer assumed office for an abbreviated term and Congress amended the constitution to bar presidential succession.

Since 1996, the Dominican electoral process has been seen as generally free and fair. In June 1996, Leonel Fernandez Reyna of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) was elected to a 4-year term as president. Fernandez's political agenda was one of economic and judicial reform. He helped enhance Dominican participation in hemispheric affairs, such as the OAS and the followup to the Miami Summit. On May 16, 2000, Hipolito Mejia, the PRD candidate, was elected president in another free and fair election, defeating PLD candidate Danilo Medina and former president Balaguer. Mejia championed the cause of free trade and Central American and Caribbean economic integration. The Dominican Republic signed a free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States and five Central American countries in August 2004, in the last weeks of the Mejia administration. During the Mejia administration, the government sponsored and obtained anti-trafficking and anti-money-laundering legislation, sent troops to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and ratified the Article 98 agreement it had signed in 2002. Mejia faced mounting domestic problems as a deteriorating economy--caused in large part by the government's measures to deal with massive bank fraud--and constant power shortages plagued the latter part of his administration.

During the Mejia administration, the constitution was amended to permit an incumbent president to seek a second successive term, and Mejia ran for re-election. On May 16, 2004, Leonel Fernandez was elected president, defeating Mejia 57.11% to 33.65%. Eduardo Estrella of the PRSC received 8.65% of the vote. Fernandez took office on August 16, 2004, promising in his inaugural speech to promote fiscal austerity, to fight corruption and to support social concerns. Fernandez said the Dominican Republic would support policies favoring international peace and security through multilateral mechanisms in conformity with the United Nations and the OAS. On May 16, 2008, President Fernandez was re-elected president with 53.8% of the vote. The Fernandez administration works closely with the United States on law enforcement, immigration, and counterterrorism matters.

Congressional and municipal elections were held in May 2010, with Fernandez’s PLD winning a slim majority of seats in the House of Representatives and 31 of 32 Senate seats, as well as a plurality of mayoral seats. President Fernandez’s role in the victorious congressional campaign led his supporters to promote his candidacy for re-election in 2012. The new constitution promulgated in January 2010 would seem to prohibit this, and ultimately Fernandez announced that he would not run in the 2012 elections. Following primary contests, the 2012 presidential race is divided between the ruling PLD's candidate, Danilo Medina, and the opposition PRD's candidate, former President Hipolito Mejia.

Government

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy with national powers divided among independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president appoints the cabinet, executes laws passed by the legislative branch, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for 4-year terms. Legislative power is exercised by a bicameral Congress--the Senate (32 members) and the House of Representatives (178 members).

The Dominican Republic has a multi-party political system that until 2010 held national elections every 2 years (alternating between presidential elections and congressional/municipal elections). The 2010 constitution adjusted the terms of the 2010 elections on a one-time basis to 6 years, so that beginning in 2016 the presidential, congressional, and municipal elections will be held simultaneously every 4 years in years evenly divisible by four. International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally free and fair. Elections are supervised by a Central Elections Board (JCE) of 9 members chosen for a 4-year term by the newly elected Senate. JCE decisions on electoral matters are final.

Government Type: Democratic republic

Capital: Santo Domingo - 2.138 million (2009)

Administrative divisions:  31 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, El Seibo, Elias Pina, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Valverde

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Independence Date:  27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

Legal System:   civil law system based on the French civil code; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system. The Dominican Republic accepts compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction; and accepts International criminal court (ICCt) jurisdiction.

Under the constitutional reforms negotiated after the 1994 elections, the 16-member Supreme Court of Justice is appointed by a National Judicial Council, which is comprised of the president, the leaders of both houses of Congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an opposition or non-governing-party member. One other Supreme Court Justice acts as secretary of the Council, a non-voting position. The Supreme Court has sole authority over managing the court system and in hearing actions against the president, designated members of his cabinet, and members of Congress when the legislature is in session.

The Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts and chooses members of lower courts. Each of the 31 provinces is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Mayors and municipal councils to administer the 124 municipal districts and the National District (Santo Domingo) are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.

International Environmental Agreements

The Dominican Republic is party to international agreements on: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, and Wetlands.

Water

Total Renewable Water Resources: 21 cu km (2000)

Freshwater Withdrawal:   3.39 cu km/yr (32% domestic, 2% industrial, 66% agricultural)

Per Capita Freshwater Withdrawal: 381 cu m/yr (2000)

Access to improved sources of drinking water: 86% of population

Access to improved sanitation facilities: 83% of population

 

Agriculture

Agricultural products: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs

Irrigated Land: 2,750 sq km (2008)

Resources

Natural Resources:  nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Land Use:

arable land: 22.49%
permanent crops: 10.26%
other: 67.25% (2005)

Economy

After a decade of little to no growth in the 1980s, the Dominican Government initiated a program of economic reform in the early 1990s, adopting sound macroeconomic policies and opening the country to foreign investment. The economy grew at an average rate of 7.6% annually from 1996 to 2000. Growth faltered in the early 2000s as several of the Dominican Republic’s main trading partners suffered recessions, reducing demand for manufactured goods. The economy contracted in 2003 (-0.3%) in the wake of a domestic banking crisis. The Mejia administration negotiated an IMF standby agreement in August 2003, though failed to comply with fiscal targets. The Fernandez administration signed the agreement in January 2005, after securing required tax legislation. Fernandez successfully renegotiated official bilateral debt with Paris Club member governments, commercial bank debt with London Club members, and sovereign debt with a consortium of lenders. Growth recovered, averaging 7.8% from 2004 to 2007. The standby agreement concluded in January 2008 with fiscal and financial targets largely met but reform in the electricity sector and financial markets unrealized.

Remittances from the US amount to about a tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts.

The global economic crisis, and in particular the U.S. recession, started to impact the Dominican economy in 2008. Remittances, exports, and tourism fell, and continued to fall throughout 2009, driving down government revenue. In October 2009, seeking to shore up dwindling revenues and improve its ability to secure more favorable rates with private lenders, the Fernandez administration negotiated a new 28-month, U.S. $1.7 billion IMF standby agreement; it was approved by the IMF in November 2009. Among other goals, the agreement aimed to address the unrealized reform from the previous agreement by addressing electricity sector inefficiencies and improving fiscal management. In February 2012, the Dominican Government announced it was discontinuing the agreement due to the IMF’s demands to increase electricity rates further.

Trade
The Dominican Republic's most important trading partner is the United States. Other markets include Haiti, Western Europe, and China. The country exports goods manufactured in free trade zones (FTZs), such as textiles, electronic products, jewelry, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, as well as cacao, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Aside from inputs into FTZs, it imports petroleum and petroleum-derived products, durable consumer goods (automobiles, etc.), and food and foodstuffs.

On September 5, 2005, the Dominican Congress ratified the free trade agreement with the U.S. and five Central American countries known as CAFTA-DR. The CAFTA-DR agreement entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007. U.S. direct investment in the Dominican Republic is primarily in the manufacturing sector. Remittances were over $3 billion in 2011.

FTZs accounted for an estimated U.S. $4.08 billion in Dominican exports for 2010 (61.8% of total exports). FTZ exports rebounded after a slump in 2009, though they are still roughly 15% lower than they were at their peak in 2000. The textiles sector--which constituted 53.6% of FTZ exports in 2000--has increasingly played a smaller role in the FTZ sector. It experienced an estimated 17% drop since 2008 (and a 62% drop since 2000) due in part to the appreciation of the Dominican peso against the dollar, Asian competition following expiration of the quotas of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, and a government-mandated increase in salaries. In 2009, the largest category of FTZ exports was the aggregate of non-traditional FTZ exports followed by textiles and electric products.

Electricity
An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of participants in the electricity sector to establish long-term financial viability for the system. The sector is divided between privately-owned electricity generators and state-owned electricity distributors. Installed generation capacity is currently adequate, but a steadily increasing demand coupled with anemic recapitalization in generation point toward a looming shortage. Baseline demand is projected to overtake installed capacity by 2014. The investment climate remains unattractive due to late payment to generators by the government-owned distribution companies and the worries that generators have about fair competition. In 2009, the World Bank recorded that electricity distribution losses totaled about 40%, a rate of loss exceeded in only two other countries. Estimates continue to place total losses in the range of 35% to 42% due to low collection rates, theft, infrastructure problems, and corruption. As a result, the government is always in arrears to the generators, and timely payments remain a challenge. An estimated 85% of Dominican citizens receive a subsidized billing rate, which was projected to cost the government U.S. $1 billion in 2011. In response, the government announced an across-the board 8% increase in electricity rates in 2011, citing the relentless rise in oil prices. This followed an 11% rate increase on December 1, 2010.

The Dominican Republic's frequent blackouts, lasting at times up to 20 hours per day, have sparked public demonstrations, some of which have been violent. The current situation arises from a lack of investment in generating capacity. The government has opened the sector to foreign companies, but many have liquidated their investments there due to chronic payment arrays from the government-owned electricity distribution company. As a result, the government has begun to re-nationalize generation assets. It remains unclear whether the situation will improve in the near-term, particularly when the government reportedly owes power companies over $400 million. The devalued peso, in particular, continues to hurt the solvency of private companies, which receive payments in pesos, but pay debts and other services in U.S. dollars.

See Energy profile of Caribbean

The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP.

High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge.

GDP: (Purchasing Power Parity): $93.23 billion (2011 est.)

GDP: (Official Exchange Rate): $54.4 billion (2011 est.)

GDP- per capita (PPP): $9,300 (2011 est.)

GDP- composition by sector:

agriculture: 7.3%
industry: 27.9%
services: 64.8% (2011 est.)

Industries: tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco

Natural Resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver 

 Currency: Dominican pesos (DOP)

Further Reading

  1. World Wildlife Fund Homepage
  2. FAO Water profile (Spanish only)
Glossary

Citation

Administration, N., Agency, C., Fund, W., & Department, U. (2012). Dominican Republic. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/151775

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