My friend Arthur Tyde in the Philippines once quipped over dinner, “Manila is what Hong Kong would look like if it were turned over to the Mexicans…” I’ve always chuckle when I think about that.
If I may impose on the analogy, I would describe Paraguay as what Arkansas would look like if it were turned over to the Philippines: part tax haven, part agricultural powerhouse, in a better fiscal position than its peers, slightly underdeveloped, cheap, and lots of potential.
Nobody really knows anything about Paraguay. Ask your neighbors, they’ll probably think it’s in Africa.
The first thing you should know about Paraguay is that the country is the size of California. It looks tiny on a map– probably because it’s surrounded by Bolivia (the size of Alaska), Argentina (the size of Mexico and Central America), and Brazil (the size of the United States)– but there is a LOT of land here.
That is exactly what’s attracting companies like Monsanto, Philip Morris, Cargill, etc… cheap farmland. Staple exports from Paraguay include cotton, soy, tobacco, coffee, sugarcane, corn, beans, peanuts… you name it.