2 | Uruguay at a glanceCountry Profile Uruguay is the most peaceful country of Latin America according to 2011 Global Peace IndexUruguay is a country which offers a high level of drawn up by the Institute for Economics andsecurity and welfare to live. Weather is pleasant Peace (IEP). In the list of 153 nations, Uruguayall year long, summer being the ideal season for is ranked 21st and in the region is followed bytourism. It is strategically situated as Paraná, Costa Rica, ranked in the 31st position.Río de la Plata and Uruguay rivers run intothe Atlantic Ocean, offering great competitiveadvantages. EconomyFor years the country has kept a strong political Uruguayan economy grew 8.5% in 2010,and social stability, supported by a consolidated consolidating the seventh consecutive growthdemocracy and strong legal certainty. year. The average growth rate over the last seven years is 6.3%. GDP per capita almostNowadays, the political system has three major doubled in the last six years and in 2010 itparties which have taken turns in office, always reached levels close to US$ 12,000.keeping a strong respect for the rules of gameand the essential grounds of economic activity. Inflation in 2010 reached 6.93%, practically inIts legal system is based on legal rules approved the upper limit of the target range establishedby the Parliament and passed by the Executive by BCU (3%-7%). Since June 2011, target rangeBranch, there being special judges for different is 4%-6%. It is worth mentioning that BCU’smatters. purpose is to control inflation, for which it uses the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) as instrument
Uruguay at a glance | 3thereof. Socio-Economic aspectsGross Fixed Capital Formation increased Uruguay is the highest rated country in Latinmore than two percentage points over the America on the 2011 Legatum Prosperity Indexlast years. This is explained not only by the which assesses the economy situation andinternal investment increase but also by the quality of life and is ranked No. 28 among thestrong foreign investment flow. Direct foreign 101 nations assessed by this ranking. Suchinvestment (DFI) has quadrupled over the last index takes into account economic indexesseven years. and assesses quality of life, health, population satisfaction and entrepreneurship developmentThe external sector reported great dynamism indexes.over the last years. Exports of goods andservices increased fourfold over the last seven The country is characterized by a long traditionyears, while imports grew as well. of respect for citizens’ rights and is part of the list of countries with the highest levels of equal opportunities for Latin American children, according to the Human Opportunity Index (HOI) drawn up by the World Bank. Uruguay is ranked as the second highest overall HOI in the region in 2010 behind Chile. Primary education is secular, free, compulsory and publicly funded. Population has access to free education from the first level of kindergarten (Early Education) until graduation from University, thus obtaining minimum illiteracy levels. Uruguay has been the first country to develop a social and digital inclusion plan called “Plan Ceibal” which involves the free delivery of one laptop per child and teacher in state elementary education and first level of secondary education throughout the country. This way, it is intended to promote digital inclusion in order to decrease the digital gap, both regarding other countries and among Uruguayan citizens, so that larger and better access to education and culture can be obtained.
Uruguay at a glance | 5Investment promotion and protectionUruguay has an attractive investment promotionsystem – Law 16,906 on Investment Promotionand Protection – and from 2008 there is anexclusive investor assistance center and anautomatic, modern, transparent and efficientmechanism which benefits more companiesand sets forth objective criteria for granting taxexemptions.There is no discrimination in the treatment restrictions for the purchase or sale of foreignof national and foreign capital, whereby all exchange and investments may be made in anyinvestors, regardless of their origin, can have currency.access to the benefits granted by the InvestmentPromotion Law and there are no limits to the In Uruguay there are international standardstransfer of benefits or repatriation of capitals regarding adherence to intellectual property.so no prior permits from the authorities are Copyright, trademarks and patents arerequired. The exchange market is free, with no specifically protected by Uruguayan laws. According to The Global Competitiveness Report (2011), Uruguay is the second country in Latin America to deeply protect intellectual property. Logistics, infrastructure and communications Localization and infrastructure in Uruguay are fit for concentrating and distributing merchandise to the wealthiest region of South America. It has deep ports, unique in South America, operating under the Free Port system and first-class port infrastructure in Montevideo,
6 | Uruguay at a glanceit being a regional hub par excellence for the country in South America regarding its roads’South American Cone. Uruguay is considered quality (source: The Global Competitivenessthe second country in South America regarding Report 2010-2011, World Economic Forum).infrastructure development (source: The GlobalCompetitiveness Report 2010-2011, World Uruguay has wide coverage telecommunicationEconomic Forum). services through the national territory. It has the largest cell phone teledensity rate in LatinMoreover, the country has a new modern airport, America: 132 lines every 100 inhabitants.a new belt highway in Montevideo and a roadexpansion to Colonia and a new ferry port inColonia, thus achieving an appropriate supportinfrastructure for passenger and merchandisetransportation by land and air.The road network is the heaviest in LatinAmerica (45 km of paved roads every 1,000 Km2of surface). Uruguay is considered the second