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 Aruba
(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
[Country Flag of Aruba]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Aruba]

Aruba

Geography

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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: negligible; white sandy beaches

Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 89% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt

Environment—current issues: NA

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

People

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Population: 68,325 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (male 7,775; female 7,114)
15-64 years: 69% (male 22,616; female 24,700)
65 years and over: 9% (male 2,523; female 3,597) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.47% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 13.74 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.4 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.96 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.92 years
male: 73.22 years
female: 80.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman (1998 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: NA

Government

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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

National 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 Glenbert F. CROES
cabinet: Council of Ministers (elected by the Staten)
elections: the queen is a constitutional monarch; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the queen; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for a four-year term; election last held 12 July 1997 (next to be held by December 2001)
election results: inconclusive; no party won majority in December 1997 parliamentary elections; no new government formed as of May 1998

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote and 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—NA; seats by party—AVP 10, MEP 9, OLA 2; although elections were held 12 December 1997, a new government had not been formed as of May 1998

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice; judges are appointed by the Netherlands monarch

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

International organization participation: 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: 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

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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—$1.4 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$21,000 (1996 est.)

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

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3.2% (1996)

Labor force: NA
by occupation: most employment is in the tourist industry (1996)

Unemployment rate: 0.6% (1996 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $376 million
expenditures: $409 million, including capital expenditures of $107 million (1997 est.)

Industries: tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 90,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 340 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 5,154 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: aloes; livestock; fishing

Exports:
total value: $1.7 billion (including oil re-exports) (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: mostly refined petroleum products
partners: US 64%, EU

Imports:
total value: $2 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: food, consumer goods, manufactures, petroleum products, crude oil for refining and reexport
partners: US 8%, EU

Debt—external: $669 million (December 1995)

Economic aid: the Netherlands provided a 1996 aid package of $224 million to Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and Suriname

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

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Telephones: 22,922 (1993 est.)

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 4, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 19,000 (1993 est.)

Transportation

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Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
note: most coastal roads are paved, while unpaved roads serve large tracts of the interior

Ports and harbors: Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Merchant marine:
total: 2 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 18,365 GRT/29,170 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

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

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: drug money-laundering center and transit point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; added to the US list of major drug producing or drug transit countries in December 1996