Uruguay's economy has traditionally been based on
agriculture with meat and wool as the main products. The
most important export items are beef and sheep meat, rice,
maize, soy and cellulose. The primary industry's share of
GDP in 2017 was only five per cent (figures from the World
Bank). In recent years, the authorities have invested a
great deal in developing the light industry and the service
industry, the latter also with a view to regional service
activities. The service sector contributed 64 per cent of
GDP in 2014, while the industry's contribution was 24 per
cent in 2018 (figures from the World Bank).
COUNTRYAAH, in 2018 Uruguay had a GDP
of just over $ 17,000 per capita (the corresponding figure
for Norway was 81,000). According to official figures,
unemployment in Uruguay is 9.2 percent (INE, November 2019).
Of the service industries, tourism in particular has
increased in importance. According to the Ministry of
Tourism, Uruguay was visited by 3.7 million in 2018, of
which about 2.5 million were tourists, while the rest came
in a work context or to visit family. Most tourists come
from Argentina and Brazil. Along the entire coast, from
Colonia in the west to Chui in the east, are many popular
small tourist and seaside resorts.
Uruguay experienced severe economic downturns in the
early 1980s, partly due to low world demand for the
country's export goods and high foreign debt. After
extensive restructuring, much of the negative development
was reversed. In the early 2000s, the country was once again
hit by an economic crisis as a result of a crash in
Argentina, Uruguay's main trading partner, and both the
export and tourism industries were hit hard. However, from
2003 inflation and foreign debt were under control. Uruguay
is among the more prosperous in South America. Together with
Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, Uruguay was founding the
Mercosur Free Trade Association in 1995. Venezuela has also
been a member, but was expelled in 2017 for lack of
democracy. Bolivia is on its way to becoming a full member
Agriculture and fishing
About 4.5 per cent of the employed are employed in
agriculture, which in 2017 contributed 5 per cent of the
gross domestic product (GDP) (figures from the World Bank).
About 90 per cent of the area is used for agricultural
purposes, this is used approximately 3/4
to pasture and animal husbandry and livestock have long
dominated the agricultural sector with significant
production and export of meat and wool, hides and skins.
Dairy products are also exported. In 2016, 13.8 per cent of
the land area was cultivated land (figures from the World
Bank). In 2005, there were 11.7 million cattle, 9.5 million
sheep and 380,000 horses. Arable farming dominates the
production of cereals, rice, sugar beet, potatoes, corn,
fruits and vegetables. On the coastal plain in the southwest
and the river plain along the Río Uruguay, wheat and other
cereals are grown, rice is grown especially in the east.
Fruit and vegetable cultivation as well as wine production
takes place especially along the central coastal country and
the areas within. Uruguay is self-sufficient with most basic
10.7 percent of the area is covered by forests (World
Bank, 2017): eucalyptus, pine and hardwood species such as
quebracho and urunday grow in the river valleys. 4–6 million
cubic meters of timber are harvested annually; The main part
(about 75 per cent) goes to fuel, and also to lumber and
Fishing was identified as an important industry for
foreign exchange earnings, but the catches have been subject
to large fluctuations. In 2004, approximately 117,000 tonnes
Uruguay has limited mineral resources. There are small
amounts of iron ore, lead, copper and limestone. Gold
discoveries have also been made, but these have not yet been
exploited. Some granite, marble, plaster, clay and
semi-precious stones are extracted. Petroleum exploration in
the southwest has so far produced negative results.
In 2018, 97 per cent of produced electrical energy came
from renewable energy sources. Of the country's total energy
consumption in 2019, 60 per cent was from renewable energy
sources (figures from the UN). The country has undergone a
major restructuring of the energy supply as the share of
renewable energy as of 2012 was only 40 per cent. The most
important energy sources are hydropower and wind power,
which account for around 60 and 30 per cent respectively.
Other sources of energy are solar energy and bioenergy.
Expansion of renewable energy sources in recent years has
contributed to Uruguay being less dependent on imported
petroleum than before. Gas is imported from Argentina
In 2018, the industry (including mining and power supply)
contributed almost 24 per cent of GDP and employed approx.
1/5 of the working population (World
Bank figures). Up until the 1970s, the country's industry
was mainly aimed at the domestic market, which was small,
thus hindering major industrial development. During the
1970s and 1980s, the tariff barriers were partially
dismantled, and the country's industry was increasingly
aimed at the world market.
The industry is largely agricultural-based, with
extensive meat packing, food and beverage production,
tobacco products, textiles and clothing, footwear, skin and
leather preparation and more. In addition, petroleum
products, chemicals, cellulose, cement and transport
equipment and equipment are manufactured. The industry is
mainly located to the metropolitan area in the south.
Agricultural products and foodstuffs have long been a
dominant part of the country's exports. Of the US $ 3400
million export value (2005), 44 percent consisted of
agricultural products, of which animal products such as
meat, wool, hides and skins make up the bulk; vegetable
products, beverages and tobacco a minor part. A lot of
textiles and textiles are also exported; moreover, some
plastic and rubber products, ceramics and glassware.
Petroleum, machinery and vehicles, chemical products as well
as metals and metal products are important import goods.
The main trading partners are Brazil, Argentina, the USA
Transport and Communications
Uruguay has a well-developed road network, among the best
in South America. The main road network is 8730 kilometers,
and is fan-shaped from Montevideo and connects the capital
with the larger cities inland (INE, 2018). There are approx.
3000 km of railways, with connecting lines to all parts of
the country, as well as to the rail network in Brazil and
Argentina. Uruguay has a total fleet of 75,000 gross tonnes.
River traffic goes on Río Uruguay and the bee Río Negro (to
Mercedes); In total there are about 1250 km of navigable
waterways. The country's most important port is Montevideo
with a large export of agricultural and industrial goods.
The main international airport is Carrasco, about 20 km east