The Republic of Paraguay is one of the two South American landlocked countries, alongside Bolivia. The country, affectionately dubbed “Heart of America” due to its location in the centre of the continent, has been a presidential constitutional republic since 1993. The President is considered both the head of state and the head of government. The legislative power relies on the National Congress, which is made up of two chambers.
Most of its 6.5 million people speak both official languages, which are Spanish and Guarani, the latter being an indigenous language. A mixture between Spanish and Guarani, Jopara, is also spoken widely. The largest city in Paraguay is also the capital – Asunción. Other large cities include Ciudad del Este, San Lorenzo, and Luque.
Throughout the country, the climate ranges from temperate to subtropical and seasons are mainly divided into dry and wet periods. Winds also significantly influence Paraguayan weather, mainly because, unlike other South American countries, Paraguay does not benefit from the protection offered by the Andes Mountains.
For four consecutive decades, Paraguay has reported the highest economic growth in South America. However, despite these favourable figures, it is estimated that nearly 30-35% of the population lives in poverty, most of them located in rural areas. Though throughout much of its existence, Paraguay has been an agricultural economy, recent years have shown major developments in the industrial sector. The country’s major exports include cotton, feed, soybeans, meat, edible oils, leather, and wood. The local currency is the Guarani (PYG).