In the article by Miriam Jordan it says that America faces a dilemma of how to tighten the border control and deny access to drug-smugglers and terrorists while keeping alive the big industries like agriculture, construction, and lodging which require mass numbers of illegal immigrants from neighboring countries of Latin America (Jordan 2005).
One of the possible solutions would be to create more business in those countries for the mutual benefit: for them it is a desired possibility to bring more investments into the economy and for the investors this may mean a profitable business with skilled yet inexpensive labor. One of the economies to explore is Ecuador.
The population of the republic of Ecuador is about 13 212 700 people with an annual growth rate of 1.96 percent (CIA 2005). Ethnically the population breaks down into the following groups – mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Spanish) 65 percent, Amerindian 25 percent, Spanish and others 7 percent, black 3 percent (CIA 2005). 55 percent of population is concentrated in the urban areas (CIA 2005).
Median age indexes are 22.5 years for males and 23.5 years for females (Author Year). Only 4.4 percent of population are elderly people (Author Year). This is a typical situation for the developing countries, where high death rates, low standards of living, poor healthcare are the main causes for short average life expectancy.
In terms of religion 95 percent of population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church (CIA 2005). Religious affiliation should also be taken into consideration when preparing the American sales force for work in Ecuador.
Ecuador has a system of public primary education with a mandatory attendance from age of 6 until 14, though only about 50 percent accomplish this educational step (CIA 2005). This is the one of the key reasons of a big flow of emigrants to the US, seeking for better paid opportunities requiring little education. The last year tendency of increasing rates of enrollment in the primary schools about 4.4 percent creates hopeful situation for the education development. There is an open admission policy to public universities which attracts a lot of students. However, the budget deficit and unstable political situation lead to the deterioration of the academic standards. In Ecuador 90.1 percent of the total population of age 15 and older can read and write, with males at 92 percent, and females at 88.2 percent (CIA 2005). Two languages are common for Ecuador – Spanish (official) and Quechua (Amerindian languages).
Economic development is basically oriented to the domestic market. After experiencing a spate of crises in 1997-1999 Ecuador managed to break through in 2000. Nevertheless about 55 percent of the population (more than double rate compared to five years ago)live below the poverty line – what appears to be one more reason of a mass “traveling” to the US. Statistic shows that 4.2 million people are the active labor force in this country. Industry-wise: 30 percent work in agriculture field, 25 percent in industry, and 45 percent in services. Unemployment rate is as high as 12 percent, which provides a good potential for inexpensive yet skilled work-force (Economy of Ecuador 2005).
Overall, the situation on the labor market is favorable for investing into the plywood business in Ecuador, as thousands of immigrants seeking jobs in the USA for field works may find a good alternative in working on local manufactures run by American investors.
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