The Alto Paraná department has experienced tremendous economic and population growth in the past 50 years. Most of this growth has been concentrated in the department capital of Ciudad del Este, and mainly occurred after the construction of the Puente de la Amistad bridge in 1961, which connects Paraguay and Brazil. This department is home to the Itaipu power plant, which supplies 95% of the energy consumed by Paraguay, and the Acaray Dam. Several ecological reserves, a zoo and the Taiwanese-Paraguayan Technology Park are situated in this department.
The city of Presidente Franco was the first city founded in this department. Several important agricultural establishments are centered in the region of Minga Guazú which is home of the Guarani International Airport.