Quitois the capital of Ecuador, the country's most populous city,and at an elevation of 2,850 metres above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, a It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichinchaan active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains.In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.The historic centre of Quito is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved in the Americas.Quito and Kraków, Poland, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO, in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre of zero latitude. Quito was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.
A capital city high in the Andes, Quito is dramatically situated, squeezed between mountain peaks whose greenery is concealed by the afternoon mist. Modern apartment buildings and modest concrete homes creep partway up the slopes, and busy commercial thoroughfares lined with shops and choked with traffic turn into peaceful neighborhoods on Sundays.
Data and Facts
- The oldest traces of human presence in Quito were excavated by the American archaeologist Robert E. Bell in 1960 on the slopes of the Ilaló volcano
- Quito is the highest constitutional capital in the world. It sits at 2,850m above sea level
- Quito was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1978
- Quito is nicknamed “Florence of the Americas”. This comes from the mix of European influence and indigenous art
- According to UNESCO the historical center of Quito is the best preserved and least altered in Latin America
- There Are Only 2 Seasons in Quito. The dry season (June-Sept) is considered winter and the wet season (Oct-May) is slightly warmer with more rainfall
- Quito is so close to the equator that there are roughly 12 hours of daylight daily all year long
Quito is governed by a mayor and a 15-member city council. The mayor is elected to a five-year term and can be re-elected. The position also doubles as Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Quito . The current mayor is Jorge Yunda Machado.
In Ecuador, cantons are subdivided into parishes, so called because they were originally used by the Catholic Church, but with the secularization and liberalization of the Ecuadorian state, the political parishes were spun off the ones used by the church. Inside Quito , subdivision into urban parishes depends on the organizations that use these parishes . The urban parishes of different types are not necessarily coterminous nor the same in number or name.
As of 2008, the municipality of Quito divided the city into 32 urban parishes. These parishes, which are used by the municipality for administrative purposes, are also known as cabildo since 2001. Since the times of the Metropolitan District of Quito, parishes of this type are also grouped into larger divisions known as municipal zones .
The Council consists of the mayor and 15 other council members, each of whom is elected to their position by a general election of the people of Quito for a term of four years. Members may be re-elected. The current mayor is Jorge Yunda Machado, who was elected on 24 March 2019 and took office on 14 May 2019, succeeding Mauricio Rodas,who had held the position since 2014In Quito, the first use of the title of mayor, or alcalde in Spanish, was established in 1946. The office has since been held by 21 men with an average term of about 3½ years.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador has been the main commander in stabilizing the country’s economy, but always has been in catch 22 situation between preserving its indigenous heritage and marching towards globalization. It’s economy is comparable to topography, rough with a number of ups and downs. Recessions, ouster’s of presidents, political instability have always affected the country’s progress. Especially in the late 90’s, the country went through a massive recession as oil prices fell and foreign debts were hanging like a demon’s sword. When banks started to close down, the only solution for the then President Jamil Mahuad was to switch over to the dollar, so that the country could get up and stand up on its own. In 2000, dollar became the official currency of Ecuador. While dollar did help in stabilizing the economy, it took away the country’s power of manipulating its own exchange rate and remains dependent on the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Quito has the highest level of tax collection in Ecuador, exceeding the national 57% per year 2009, currently being the most important economic region of the country, as the latest «study» conducted by the Central Bank of Ecuador.
The top major industries in Quito include textiles, metals and agriculture, with major crops for export being coffee, sugar, cacao, rice, bananas and palm oil.
TAME, an airline of Ecuador, has its headquarters in Quito.
Petroecuador, the largest company in the country and one of the largest in Latin America is headquartered in Quito.
Headquarters and regional offices of many national and international financial institutions, oil corporations and international businesses are also located in Quito, making it a world class business city.
In 2016, Ecuador had a nominal GDP of $97.8 billion. After several years of robust economic growth, in 2016 GDP growth fell to -1.5 percent. This slowdown was largely driven by the decline in oil prices during late-2014 and 2016 and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, Ecuador’s currency since 2000.The U.S.-Ecuador commercial relationship is significant with $9.3 billion in total trade during 2016. In 2016, U.S. exports to Ecuador exceeded $3.9 billion and included mineral fuel, machinery, electrical machinery, plastic, and vehicles. Top U.S. exports of agricultural goods include soybean meal, wheat, and cotton.In 2016, total FDI inflows into Ecuador were $744 million with $87.2 million coming from the United States.In order to promote economic growth and encourage the inflow of dollars into the economy, the Ecuadorian government actively encourages foreign investment in certain sectors of the economy.Ecuador has no limits on royalties that may be remitted when it comes to license and franchise transactions. Remittances are subject to a capital exit tax, currently set at five-percent.Since 1986, Ecuador has had an Investment Guarantee Agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Ecuador is also a signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agreement.Ecuador’s overall investment climate remains challenging as economic, commercial, and investment policies are subject to frequent changes. Regular updates in Ecuador’s tax code make business planning difficult. Please see the Investment Climate Statement for additional information on this subject.Ecuador has a civil codified legal system. Several high-level investment disputes involving U.S. companies, mostly linked to the energy sector, are under international arbitration.In April 2017, the United States Trade Representative mantained Ecuador in Watch List in its annual Special 301 Report on intellectual property. This decision was in recognition of a number of positive actions taken in 2016, including lowering patent fees, withdrawing compulsory licenses on U.S. products, and conducting an inclusive process during the drafting of the Code of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation Social Economy. . Enforcement against intellectual property infringement remains a serious problem in Ecuador.
With relatively easy access to the US, many companies are coming to Ecuador to take advantage of its excellent trade routes, sometimes friendly trade agreements, and dynamic workforce. The minimum wage raised to $375 USD this year, ranking as one of the highest in South America. Ecuador’s close proximity to bordering countries, Colombia and Peru, make it a prime location for trade and a source for cheaper materials.
However, many believe that Ecuador’s size, in comparison to its neighbors, has a significant impact on its economy. Size-wise, the country is smaller than the state of Nevada. This was reduced from 25% in 2011 as a way to promote more investment in Ecuador. This rate can also be lowered ten percentage points more when companies reinvest their profits. In addition, there is an exemption from income tax for five years when an investment is made in the following sectors: food production, forestry, metal mechanic, petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, tourism, renewable resources, logistics in foreign trade, biotechnology, and software. These tax structures have made it easier for entrepreneurs and investors to do business in the country.
Ecuador’s economy is deeply rooted in the petroleum industry, accounting for 40% of the country’s wealth. Additionally, it’s a major exporter of crops like coffee, cut flowers, shrimp, fruit and palm oil. After an increase in government spending over the last decade which many thought would slow GDP growth, GDP was $183.4 billion.
The tax, legal, and regulatory environment can be difficult to navigate without a local expert. The World Bank and IFC rank Ecuador 114th for ease of doing business, which is quite low.
The MetrobusQ network, also known as «Red Integrada de Transporte Público», is the bus rapid transit system running in Quito, and it goes through the city from south to north. It's divided into three sections—the green line , the red line , and the blue line . In addition to the bus rapid transit system, there are many buses running in the city. The buses have both a name and a number, and they have a fixed route. Taxi cabs are all yellow, and they have meters that show the fare. There are nearly 8,800 registered taxicabs.
In August 2012 the Municipality of Quito government established a municipal bicycle sharing system called Bici Q.
Although public transportation is the primary form of travel in the city, including fleets of taxis that continually cruise the roadways, the use of private vehicles has increased substantially during the past decade. Because of growing road congestion in many areas, there were plans to construct a light rail system, which were conceived to replace the northern portion of the Trole.These plans have been ruled out and replaced by the construction of the first metro line in 2012. The two main motorways that go from the northern part of the city to the southern are Avenue Oriental on the eastern hills that border the city, and Avenue Occidental on the western side of the city on the Pichincha volcano. The street 10 de Agosto also runs north to south through most of the city, running down the middle of it. The historic centre of the city is based on a grid pattern, despite the hills, with the streets Venezuela, Chile, García Moreno, and Guayaquil being the most important.The Mariscal Sucre International Airport serves as the city's principal airport for passenger travel and freight. The airport is located 18 kilometres east of the city's centre in the Tababela parish. It began operations on February 20, 2013, replacing the Old Mariscal Sucre International Airport located 10 kilometres north of the city centre within city limits. A 23 kilometres metro subway system is under construction. Phase One, begun in 2013, entailed the construction of stations at La Magdalena and El Labrador. Phase Two, begun in 2016, involves 13 more stations, a depot and sub-systems. The project is expected to carry 400,000 passengers per day and to cost $1.5 billion with financing coming from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank , the European Investment Bank and the Development Bank of Latin America and is expected to be operating in 2020.Quito has the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic centre in the Americas.This centre was, together with the historic centre of Kraków in Poland, the first to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978. The Historic Centre of Quito is located in the centre south of the capital on an area of 320 hectares , and is considered one of the most important historic areas in Latin America.There are about 130 monumental buildings and 5,000 properties registered in the municipal inventory of heritage properties.Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua is the largest urban park in South America at 1,376 acres as reference, New York's Central Park is 843 acres .
From edtech to medical companies, Ecuador is experiencing a new influx of innovative companies. One example is Cuestionarix, an online platform designed to help students get ahead and prepare for exams by providing interactive tools. Another, Siplik, is changing the way patients communicate with medical professionals, offering a platform that makes it easy to do consultations and receive results online. And YaEstá is one of the largest e-commerce platforms to come out of Ecuador. Listen to YaEsta’s founder, Alejandro Freund on the Crossing Borders podcast for a deeper understanding of the market.
Ernesto Kruger established Kruger Corporation in 1993, with the goal of promoting innovation and leadership in Ecuador. Kruger is a serial entrepreneur and after his company IPO’d in Spain, he decided to give back to the Ecuadorian startup community by creating Kruger Labs, an accelerator founded in 2013. Kruger Labs, is based in Quito, specializing in digital startups with a laser focus on innovation. The accelerator offers perks like mentoring, public relations, and legal assistance for local companies. Impaqto, located in Cumbaya and Quito, is another coworking space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business professionals of all backgrounds. There are plenty of ways to get connected with the thriving startup community in Ecuador. Latinnova organizes frequent events around entrepreneurship, and monthly meetup groups include Lean Quito, Quito Lambda, and Quito Geeks Night.
All in all, Ecuador is a viable option for those looking to invest in or start a business. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about Yachay, a planned city for technological innovation and knowledge-intensive businesses that will help push Ecuador from a commodity-based economy to a knowledge-based one.
As of 2017, Ecuador’s new government does not share the same vision for Yachay, so it remains to be seen if the city is ever fully completed as envisioned.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Quito is a city with a mix of modern-day and traditional culture. There is a large Catholic presence in Quito; most notably, Quito observes Easter Week with a series of ceremonies and rituals that begin on Palm Sunday. At noon on Good Friday, the March of the Penitents proceeds from the Church of San Francisco.[According to the National Council for Higher Education of Ecuador , these are the universities founded in or around Quito before 2006.
One of the oldest and most important library in Ecuador is the Central University Library in Quito. It was founded in 1586 and has 170,000 volumes in its possession.The Aurelio Espinoza Polit in Cotocollao, Casas de la Cultura and Catholic University are also important ones. Deportivo Quito was also the first out of the three home teams to win the title. LDU Quito is the only Ecuadorian club to have won 4 continental titles. El Nacional is the second most titled team in Ecuador's history. América de Quito was one of the most titled clubs in the past but has recently played in the lower divisions.One of the more interesting facts of Quito is that the stadiums are located over 2,800 metres above sea level, this gives the city the special feature and a great advantage for local teams when they play against foreign teams and it is one of the reasons that has allowed Ecuador to qualify for the last two World Cups.The U.S. Approximately 80% of the population are mestizos. The majority of the population identify their religion as Roman Catholic. There are also communities of Mormons and Jews that reside in Quito. This city has seen strong and steady growth throughout the years, and its job and educational opportunities, as well as its history, culture, and attractions will continue to attract new residents to this bustling city.
71.9 percent of Ecuadorians are mestizo, an ethnicity made up of both Spanish and indigenous heritage. Afro-Ecuadorians make up 7.2 percent of the population. Indigenous people comprise another 7 percent, with heavy concentrations around Otavalo and the Amazon Basin. 6.1 percent of the population is white.