Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay officially gained its independence from Spain in 1811 and then experienced a number of dictatorships throughout the next century and a half. Now Paraguay is a representative and pluralist democracy, although political unrest still plagues the country to some extent. The majority of the population is a mixture of Spanish and Guarani, known as ‘mestizos’. Paraguay is a bilingual nation, retaining the native Guaraní as its primary language and Spanish as its secondary language.
While Paraguay remains in the bottom half of the Ease of Doing Business reports, the growing economy has the potential to become one of the strongest worldwide with a population of 7 million and the resources to feed 70 million. The GDP per capita is improving rapidly and rates of poverty have declined immensely in the last decade. The main sector of the Paraguayan economy is agriculture (soy, rice, sugar, corn, cotton, various oils and wood), accounting for more than 30% of national GDP. Furthermore, the local currency of Guaraní is one of the most stable globally, having never suffered from hyperinflation or major fluctuations.
However, corruption, contraband and a weak judicial system pose risks to doing business in Paraguay. While the state is addressing the bureaucratic problems within government progress is slow and it is important to be aware of these challenges.
Business culture in Paraguay is both formal and relaxed. While Paraguayans may not be strict on adhering to timings for meetings, as a foreign visitor you should not be informal in observing appointment times. Business attire is smart, though when doing business be sure to show an interest in personal matters such as family.
Understanding the local culture, laws and regulations is vital for companies considering doing business in Paraguay. The World Business culture website is home to all the information needed to make sure business ventures in Paraguay are rewarding by reducing risk, simplifying knowledge and increasing confidence.