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Aruba

(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)


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Introduction

Background: Formerly one of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba became an autonomous part of the Netherlands in 1986.

Geography

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates: 12 30 N, 69 58 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area
  total: 193 sq km
  land: 193 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 68.5 km

Maritime claims
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m

Natural resources: NEGL; white sandy beaches

Land use
  arable land: 7% aloe plantations included (0.01%)
  permanent crops: NA%
  permanent pastures: NA%
  forests and woodland: NA%
  other: 93% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 0.01 sq km

Natural hazards: lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt

Environment - current issues: NA

People

Population: 69,539 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 22% (male 7,770; female 7,194)
  15-64 years: 69% (male 22,944; female 24,810)
  65 years and over: 9% (male 2,831; female 3,990) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.7% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 13.1 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.13 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 78.37 years
  male: 75 years
  female: 81.9 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Aruban(s)
  adjective: Aruban

Ethnic groups: mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%

Religions: Roman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish

Languages: Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish

Literacy
  definition: NA
  total population: 97%
  male: NA%
  female: NA%

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: none
  conventional short form: Aruba

Data code: AA

Dependency status: part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Oranjestad

Administrative divisions: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; in 1990, Aruba requested and received from the Netherlands cancellation of the agreement to automatically give independence to the island in 1996)

National holiday: Flag Day, 18 March

Constitution: 1 January 1986

Legal system: based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Olindo KOOLMAN (since 1 January 1992)
  head of government: Prime Minister Jan (Henny) H. EMAN (since 29 July 1994) and Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Lili BEKE-MARTINEZ (since NA)
  cabinet: Council of Ministers (elected by the Staten)
  elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held 12 July 1997 (next to be held by December 2001)
  election results: Jan (Henny) H. EMAN elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA; Dr. Lili BEKE-MARTINEZ elected deputy prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
  elections: last held 12 December 1997 (next to be held by NA December 2001)
  election results: percent of vote by party - AVP 43%, MEP 39%, OLA 9% PPA 4%, ADN 2%, PARA 1%, MAS 0.5%; seats by party - AVP 10, MEP 9, OLA 2

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice (judges are appointed by the monarch)

Political parties and leaders: Aruban Democratic Party or PDA [Leo BERLINSKI]; Aruban Liberal Party or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Jan (Henny) H. EMAN]; Aruba Solidarity Movement or MAS [leader NA]; Democratic Action '86 or AD '86 [Arturo ODUBER]; Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson ODUBER]; Electoral People's Movement or MEP [Betico CROES]; For a Restructured Aruba Now or PARA [Urbana LOPEZ]; National Democratic Action or ADN [Pedro Charro KELLY]; New Patriotic Party or PPN [Eddy WERLEMEN]

International organization participation: Caricom (observer), ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), WCL, WToO (associate)

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Consul General James L. WILLIAMS
  embassy: J. B. Gorsiraweg #1, Curacao
  mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
  telephone: [599] (9) 461-3066
  FAX: [599] (9) 461-6489

Flag description: blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner

Economy

Economy - overview: Tourism is the mainstay of the Aruban economy, although offshore banking and oil refining and storage are also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the reopening of the country's oil refinery in 1993, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, has further spurred growth. Aruba's small labor force and less than 1% unemployment rate have led to a large number of unfilled job vacancies, despite sharp rises in wage rates in recent years.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.6 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3% (1998)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $22,800 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: NA%
  industry: NA%
  services: NA%

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 41,501 (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 0.6% (1996 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $NA
  expenditures: $541 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 475 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 442 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: aloes; livestock; fish

Exports: $1.17 billion (including oil reexports)(1998)

Exports - commodities: transport equipment, live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment

Exports - partners: US 53.2%, Colombia 14.9%, Netherlands 8.8% (1998)

Imports: $1.52 billion (1998)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport; foodstuffs

Imports - partners: US 55.5%, Netherlands 12.3%, Japan 3.5% (1998)

Debt - external: $285 million (1996)

Economic aid - recipient: $26 million (1995); note - the Netherlands provided a $127 million aid package to Aruba and Suriname in 1996

Currency: 1 Aruban florin (Af.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Aruban florins (Af.) per US$1 - 1.7900 (fixed rate since 1986)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 27,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,718 (1995)

Telephone system
  domestic: more than adequate
  international: 1 submarine cable to Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles); extensive interisland microwave radio relay links

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 6, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 50,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)

Televisions: 20,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 800 km
  paved: 513 km
  unpaved: 287 km (Note: most coastal roads are paved, while unpaved roads serve large tracts of the interior (1995 est.))

Ports and harbors: Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Airports: 2 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 2
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: drug-money-laundering center and transit point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe

 

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