The country of Ecuador is made up of four geographic regions: the coastal area along the Pacific Ocean, the Andes mountain range with its majestic peaks and volcanoes, the lush forest of the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. In relation to its area, the nation has the highest level of biodiversity in the world. But nature and the environment are threatened by climate change and raw material exploitation. The most significant economic factor for the nation is associated with high environmental risks and is also a double-edged sword in the economic sense: the country’s high dependency on oil exports leads to huge drops in growth and problems with public finance due to decreasing raw materials prices.
The country was also hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Of the approximately 17 million inhabitants, 450,000 caught the disease by mid 2021 and 20,000 of them had died. The numbers are probably much higher due to unreported cases. The level of social inequality remains as high as it was before the coronavirus pandemic. However, during the past 20 years, the country was able to reduce its poverty levels in the long term. As a result, Ecuador has since been classified as one of the countries in the World Bank’s category of “Upper Middle Income Countries” (UMIC). On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW Development Bank is supporting Ecuador as it reconciles its economic development with the protection of its natural resources.