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Paraguay: Foreign Assistance
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > External Sector > Foreign Assistance


Most of Paraguay's foreign assistance came in the form of concessional loans from multilateral development banks, particularly the World Bank and the IDB. These sources of assistance accounted for the high percentage of the country's debt with official creditors. From 1946 to 1982, the World Bank provided Paraguay US$1.3 billion, the IDB US$409 million, and United Nations agencies, US$30 million. Paraguay received no money from the IMF in the 1980s. Multilateral bank lending went toward energy, agriculture, transportation, communications, public health education, rural electrification, and support activities, such as statistics gathering. In addition, the IDB also made loans to smaller projects benefiting low-income farmers and small-scale enterprises in Asunción's large informal sector.

The United States was traditionally the largest bilateral donor in Paraguay, but in the 1980s Japan and West Germany surpassed the United States in bilateral economic assistance. From 1946 to 1987, the United States provided US$212 million to Paraguay, 61 percent in the form of project-specific funding, 18 percent through the "Food for Peace" program, and 20 percent for other programs, including narcotics interdiction. The last year of major United States funding was 1981. From 1982 to 1987, United States assistance was under US$12 million. During the 1980s, AID classified Paraguay as an "advanced developing country" and offered that as one reason for its declining economic assistance. Other reasons were political. Despite the dwindling financial support of AID, the United States maintained a large Peace Corps volunteer program. The InterAmerican Foundation also remained active in Paraguay.

After decades of sparse research and publishing on the Paraguayan economy, in the 1980s there appeared unprecedented documentation of the rapidly changing economy. Most of the research and publication efforts inside Paraguay took place at the Paraguayan Center for Sociological Studies (Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Sociológicos). This institute published numerous valuable articles in its journal, Revista paraguaya de sociología. Outside the Center, the Central Bank published the most comprehensive data through its Department of Economic Studies, including the Boletín estadístico (monthly) and Cuentas nacionales (annual).

One of the most encyclopedic studies on the Paraguayan economy in the 1980s was Guillermo F. Peroni and Martin Burt's Paraguay: Laws and Economy. Two more critical essays were Ricardo Rodríguez Silvero's La deformación estructural: Reflexiones sobre el desarrollo socio-económico en el Paraguay contemporáneo and Anibal Miranda's Desarrollo y Pobreza en Paraguay. The most in-depth book concerning Itaipú was Itaipú: Dependencia o desarrollo by Ricardo Canese and Luis Alberto Mauro. As of 1988, there was no book published in the United States that examined in detail the Paraguayan economy of the 1970s and 1980s. Two of the best journal articles published in the United States were written by Werner Baer and Melissa Birch: "Expansion of the Economic Frontier: Paraguayan Growth in the 1970s" and "The International Economic Relations of a Small Country: The Case of Paraguay."

In general, data on the economy varied greatly, and no single source was definitive as of 1988. The most reliable data were produced by the IMF, the World Bank, the IDB, and the Economist Intelligence Unit. (For further information and complete citations,see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Paraguay was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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