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The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the internal conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, about 1 million refugees.


Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize

Natural Resources

petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Population - distribution

the vast majority of the populace resides in the southern half of the country, particularly in the mountainous regions; more than half of the population lives in rural areas

Spanish (official) 60%, Amerindian languages 40%
GUATEMALA CITY (capital) 2.918 million (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of Guatemala
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republica de Guatemala
Local short form
presidential republic
Guatemala City
Geographic coordinates
14 37 N, 90 31 W
Time difference
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly half the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.5% of GDP and 31% of the labor force; key agricultural exports include sugar, coffee, bananas, and vegetables. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala's large expatriate community in the US. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to over one-half of the country's exports and one-tenth of its GDP.
External debt stocks
US$ 20,181,918,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ 909,300,000
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 18,769,016,829
Exports of goods and services
US$ 13,427,224,042
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,164,300,000
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 2,597,100,000
sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism
sugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, manufacturing products, precious stones and metals, electricity
US 36.4%, El Salvador 12.1%, Honduras 8.8%, Nicaragua 5.4%, Mexico 4.2% (2015)
fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity, mineral products, chemical products, plastic materials and products
US 38.4%, Mexico 12%, China 11%, El Salvador 5.3% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Cautious economic policies: relatively small deficit and public debt
  • Support from the United States and multilateral lenders
  • Free trade agreements with the United States and the EU
  • Geographically close to the United States and Mexico
  • High potential for tourism, agriculture, mining, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy
  • Risk of social and political instability
  • Poor infrastructure
  • Vulnerability to external shocks (natural catastrophes and commodities prices)
  • Weakness of public revenue and institutions
  • Social tensions (poverty, inequality, underemployment, ethnic divisions)

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