Country Information Database


Bolivia Country Information

Flag of Bolivia
Map of Bolivia
Introduction Bolivia
Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands.
Geography Bolivia
Central South America, southwest of Brazil
Geographic coordinates:
17 00 S, 65 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 1,098,580 sq km
land: 1,084,390 sq km
water: 14,190 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,940 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,423 km, Chile 860 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 1,075 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m
Natural resources:
tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 2.78%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.03% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,320 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
622.5 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.44 cu km/yr (13%/7%/81%)
per capita: 157 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
flooding in the northeast (March-April)
Environment - current issues:
the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
People Bolivia
9,247,816 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.5% (male 1,580,887/female 1,519,960)
15-64 years: 61.8% (male 2,800,457/female 2,912,375)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 192,701/female 241,436) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 22.6 years
male: 21.9 years
female: 23.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.383% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
22.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
7.35 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 49.09 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 45.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.53 years
male: 63.86 years
female: 69.33 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,900 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian
Ethnic groups:
Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
Spanish 60.7% (official), Quechua 21.2% (official), Aymara 14.6% (official), foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.7%
male: 93.1%
female: 80.7% (2001 census)
Education expenditures:
6.4% of GDP (2003)
Government Bolivia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia
Government type:
name: La Paz (administrative capital)
geographic coordinates: 16 30 S, 68 09 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sucre (constitutional capital)
Administrative divisions:
9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija
6 August 1825 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 August (1825)
2 February 1967; revised in August 1994; possible referendum on new constitution to be held in 2008
Legal system:
based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 18 December 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: Juan Evo MORALES Ayma elected president; percent of vote - Juan Evo MORALES Ayma 53.7%; Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez 28.6%; Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana 7.8%; Michiaki NAGATANI Morishit 6.5%; Felipe QUISPE Huanca 2.2%; Guildo ANGULA Cabrera 0.7%
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (27 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; 70 members are directly elected from their districts and 60 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 18 December 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PODEMOS 13, MAS 12, UN 1, MNR 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 73, PODEMOS 43, UN 8, MNR 6
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges appointed for 10-year terms by National Congress); District Courts (one in each department); provincial and local courts (to try minor cases); Constitutional Tribunal (five primary or titulares and five alternate or suplente magistrates appointed by Congress; to rule on constitutional issues); National Electoral Court (six members elected by Congress, Supreme Court, the President, and the political party with the highest vote in the last election for 4-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:
Free Bolivia Movement or MBL [Franz BARRIOS]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Juan Evo MORALES Ayma]; Movement Without Fear or MSM [Juan DEL GRANADO]; National Revolutionary Movement or MNR [Mirta QUEVEDO]; National Unity [Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana]; Poder Democratico Nacional or PODEMOS [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]; Social Alliance [Rene JOAQUINO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB
other: Cocalero groups; indigenous organizations; labor unions
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Erika DUENAS
chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Krishna URS
embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, Casilla 425, La Paz
mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34032
telephone: [591] (2) 216-8000
FAX: [591] (2) 216-8111
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band
note: similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band
Economy Bolivia
Economy - overview:
Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets. In 2005, the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company, which was made the sole exporter of natural gas. The law also required that the state energy company regain control over the five companies that were privatized during the 1990s - a process that is still underway. In 2006, higher earnings for mining and hydrocarbons exports pushed the current account surplus to about 12% of GDP and the government's higher tax take produced a fiscal surplus after years of large deficits. Debt relief from the G8 - announced in 2005 - also has significantly reduced Bolivia's public sector debt burden. Private investment as a share of GDP, however, remains among the lowest in Latin America, and inflation reached double-digit levels in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$39.75 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.19 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,400 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.5%
industry: 30.5%
services: 55% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
4.377 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 40%
industry: 17%
services: 43% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.5% in urban areas; widespread underemployment (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
60% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.3%
highest 10%: 47.2% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
59.2 (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8.7% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $5.723 billion
expenditures: $5.495 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
46.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber
mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing
Industrial production growth rate:
1.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.293 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.5% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
3.385 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports:
177,000 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
18,000 kWh (2007)
Oil - production:
46,470 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
31,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
18,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
8,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
440.5 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
12.74 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
1.486 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
10.58 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
651.8 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
$1.796 billion (2007 est.)
$4.49 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
Exports - partners:
Brazil 45.2%, Argentina 9.2%, US 8.6%, Colombia 6.7%, Japan 6.6%, South Korea 4.3% (2007)
$3.249 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans
Imports - partners:
Brazil 30%, Argentina 16.4%, Chile 10.4%, US 9.7%, Peru 8.1% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$582.9 million (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$5.318 billion (31 October 2007)
Debt - external:
$4.495 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$6.88 billion (31 December 2004)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.2 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
boliviano (BOB)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
bolivianos per US dollar - 7.8616 (2007), 8.0159 (2006), 8.0661 (2005), 7.9363 (2004), 7.6592 (2003)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bolivia
Telephones - main lines in use:
678,200 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.254 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: privatization beginning in 1995; reliability has steadily improved; new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities; mobile-cellular telephone use expanding rapidly; fixed-line teledensity of 7 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density of 35 per 100 persons
domestic: primary trunk system, which is being expanded, employs digital microwave radio relay; some areas are served by fiber-optic cable; mobile cellular systems are being expanded
international: country code - 591; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 171, FM 73, shortwave 77 (1999)
5.25 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
48 (1997)
900,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
24,363 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)
Internet users:
1 million (2007)
Transportation Bolivia
1,061 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,045
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 57
914 to 1,523 m: 183
under 914 m: 800 (2007)
gas 4,860 km; liquid petroleum gas 47 km; oil 2,475 km; refined products 1,589 km; unknown (oil/water) 247 km (2007)
total: 3,504 km
narrow gauge: 3,504 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
total: 62,479 km
paved: 3,749 km
unpaved: 58,730 km (2004)
10,000 km (commercially navigable) (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 25 ships (1000 GRT or over) 67,973 GRT/97,487 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 12, carrier 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 7, refrigerated cargo 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 9 (Bahamas 1, China 1, Egypt 1, Iran 1, Italy 1, Singapore 1, Syria 2, Taiwan 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Puerto Aguirre (inland port on the Paraguay/Parana waterway at the Bolivia/Brazil border); Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay
Military Bolivia
Military branches:
Bolivian Armed Forces: Bolivian Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana; includes marines), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for 12-month compulsory military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,295,746
females age 16-49: 2,366,828 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,600,219
females age 16-49: 1,815,514 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 107,051
female: 103,620 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.9% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Bolivia
Disputes - international:
Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile offers instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian natural gas and other commodities; an accord placed the long-disputed Isla Suárez/Ilha de Guajará-Mirim, a fluvial island on the Río Mamoré, under Bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute
Illicit drugs:
world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 25,800 hectares under cultivation in 2006, stable when compared to 2005; third largest producer of cocaine, estimated at 115 metric tons potential pure cocaine in 2006; transit country for Peruvian and Colombian cocaine destined for Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Europe; cultivation generally increasing since 2000, despite eradication and alternative crop programs; weak border controls; some money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade, especially along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay; major cocaine consumption

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Sun, 24 Sep 2023 06:28:55 +0000