- Official Name: Republic of Ecuador
- Official Languages: Spanish, and 13 different indigenous languages including Quichua and Jivaroan
- Population: 17,300,000
- Currency: United States dollar
- Ecuador is located in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean.
- Capital: Quito
- Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
- Ecuador is a megadiverse country, a designation given to a group of 17 countries which harbor the majority of Earth’s species as well as high numbers of endemic species.
- Ecuador’s 2008 constitution was the first worldwide to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
- Roman Catholic (79%), Protestant (13%), Irreligious (5%), Other (3%)
- In rural parts of Ecuador, indigenous beliefs and Catholicism are sometimes blended.
- Ecuador’s population is ethnically diverse, and the mainstream culture is defined by its Hispanic mestizo (Spanish & other European and indigenous) majority.
- Many self-liberated Africans (African slavery was not present in the Spanish colonies in the Andes mountains) settled in the northwest rain-forest region of what is now Esmeraldas, and Ecuador’s minority population of African descent is concentrated there.
- Elite and upper-middle class Ecuadorians value education, personal achievement, and the modern consumerism of Europe and North America. Many regard themselves as ‘muy culto’ or very cultured, and while they may learn English, French, or German in formal education, many disavow knowledge of any indigenous language.
- In contrast to the elite and middle class concern with capitalist thought and activity, indigenous people favor socialist reforms. Black Ecuadorians are often caught between the dominant elite, the prejudices of the middle classes, and a tenuous relationship with indigenous people.
- Ecuadorians are indirect communicators who tend to speak diplomatically and with courtesy. They are non-confrontational and will go out of their way to avoid saying ‘no’. Blunt communication is viewed as extremely rude.
Economy & Doing Business
- Ecuador is a developing economy highly dependent on commodities, primarily petroleum and agricultural products.
- In 2000, Ecuador moved to eliminate the sucre currency in favor of the U.S. dollar.
- Trust and personal relationships are the cornerstone of conducting business in Ecuador, and a person’s word is their bond.
- If visiting for business you may get by without speaking Spanish as senior personnel are usually fluent in English. It is however a good idea to learn some basic phrases to demonstrate an appreciation of their language.
- Ecuador’s economy is based on the export of oil, bananas, shrimp, gold, other primary agricultural products and money transfers from Ecuadorian emigrants employed abroad.