The decline in Guatemala’s real GDP growth rate from 6.3% in 2007 to 4% in 2008 and -0.5% in 2009 is largely attributable to the declining export demand from the United States and the other Central American nations. Nearly 90% of Guatemala’s GDP is contributed by the private sector, with the government’s involvement limited to some public utilities and development oriented financial institutions.
Like all developing nations, the services segment plays a significant role in Guatemala’s economy and contributes nearly 65% of its GDP, while employing 50% of the country’s population. Although the country’s abundant and unique ecosystem allows it to have a diversity of crops, inequitable distribution of land and scarcity of resources act as constraints and restrict the agriculture sector’s contribution to the GDP to around 10%. Guatemala’s agriculture segment employs nearly 50% of the country’s population and the major products grown are sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom, cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens. In recent years products like fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants are being grown for export purposes.