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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)
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, Ozone Layer Protection
Geography - note:
landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
People Bolivia
8,989,046 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (male 1,603,982/female 1,542,319)
15-64 years: 60.4% (male 2,660,806/female 2,771,807)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 182,412/female 227,720) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.8 years
male: 21.2 years
female: 22.5 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.45% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
23.3 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
7.53 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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 (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 51.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.84 years
male: 63.21 years
female: 68.61 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.85 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,900 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
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 (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.2%
male: 93.1%
female: 81.6% (2003 est.)
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
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); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
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 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)
Political parties and leaders:
Bolivian Socialist Falange or FSB [Romel PANTOJA]; Civic Solidarity Union or UCS [Johnny FERNANDEZ]; Free Bolivia Movement or MBL [Franz BARRIOS]; Marshal of Ayacucho Institutional Vanguard or VIMA [Freddy ZABALA]; Movement of the Revolutionary Left or MIR [Jaime PAZ Zamora]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Juan Evo MORALES Ayma]; Movement Without Fear or MSM [Juan DEL GRANADO]; National Revolutionary Movement or MNR [Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA]; New Republican Force or NFR [Manfred REYES-VILLA]; Pachakuti Indigenous Movement or MIP [Felipe QUISPE Huanca]; Poder Democratico Nacional or PODEMOS [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]; Socialist Party or PS [Jeres JUSTINIANO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Cocalero groups; indigenous organizations; labor unions; Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB [Roman LOAYZA]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gustavo GUZMAN Saldana
chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
consulate(s) general: Houston, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Philip S. GOLDBERG
embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, 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; similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band
Economy Bolivia
Economy - overview:
Bolivia, long one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries, reformed its economy after suffering a disastrous economic crisis in the early 1980s. The reforms spurred real GDP growth, which averaged 4% in the 1990s, and poverty rates fell. Economic growth, however, lagged again beginning in 1999 because of a global slowdown and homegrown factors such as political turmoil, civil unrest, and soaring fiscal deficits, all of which hurt investor confidence. In 2003, violent protests against the pro-foreign investment economic policies of President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA led to his resignation and the cancellation of plans to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets. In 2005, the government passed a controversial natural gas law that imposes on the oil and gas firms significantly higher taxes as well as new contracts that give the state control of their operations. Bolivian officials are in the process of implementing the law; meanwhile, foreign investors have stopped investing and have taken the first legal steps to secure their investments. Real GDP growth in 2003-06 - helped by increased demand for natural gas in neighboring Brazil - was positive, but still below the levels seen during the 1990s. Bolivia's fiscal position has improved in recent years, but the country remains dependent on foreign aid from multilateral lenders and foreign governments to meet budget shortfalls. In 2005, the G8 announced a $2 billion debt-forgiveness plan over the next few decades that should help reduce some fiscal pressures on the government in the near term.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$27.21 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$10.22 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.3% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,000 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.8%
industry: 36.1%
services: 51.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
4.3 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
7.8% in urban areas; widespread underemployment (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
64% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 32% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
60.6 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
12.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $4.153 billion
expenditures: $3.619 billion; including capital expenditures of $741 million (2006 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:
5.7% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
4.472 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.5% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
4.168 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
9 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
42,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
47,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
458.8 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
10.05 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
2.14 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
7.91 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
679.6 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$688 million (2006 est.)
$3.668 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
Exports - partners:
Brazil 44.2%, US 12.5%, Argentina 10.9%, Colombia 7.8%, Peru 4.8% (2005)
$2.934 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans
Imports - partners:
Brazil 21.9%, Argentina 16.7%, US 13.8%, Chile 6.9%, Peru 6.5%, Japan 6.1%, China 5.8% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.303 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$5.916 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$221 million (2005 est.)
Currency (code):
boliviano (BOB)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
bolivianos per US dollar - 8.01039 (2006), 8.0661 (2005), 7.9363 (2004), 7.6592 (2003), 7.17 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bolivia
Telephones - main lines in use:
646,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.421 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities; mobile cellular telephone use expanding rapidly
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)
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:
20,085 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)
Internet users:
480,000 (2005)
Transportation Bolivia
1,084 (2006)
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 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,068
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
914 to 1,523 m: 207
under 914 m: 797 (2006)
gas 4,860 km; liquid petroleum gas 47 km; oil 2,475 km; refined products 1,589 km; unknown (oil/water) 247 km (2006)
total: 3,519 km
narrow gauge: 3,519 km 1.000-m gauge (2005)
total: 62,479 km
paved: 3,749 km
unpaved: 56,730 km (2004)
10,000 km (commercially navigable) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 127,297 GRT/198,525 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 8, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 10
foreign-owned: 10 (Argentina 1, China 1, Egypt 2, Iran 1, Singapore 3, Taiwan 1, Yemen 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Puerto Aguirre (on the Paraguay/Parana waterway, at the Bolivia/Brazil border); also, 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) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; one estimate holds that 40% of the armed forces are under the age of 18, with 50% of those under the age of 16; conscript tour of duty - 12 months (2002)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,923,234
females age 18-49: 2,007,315 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,311,414
females age 18-49: 1,502,177 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 101,101
females age 18-49: 98,671 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$130 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.4% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Bolivia
Disputes - international:
Chile rebuffs Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, offering instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian natural gas and other commodities
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Bolivia is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, as well as to Spain; children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation, forced mining, and agricultural labor; illegal migrants from Asia transiting Bolivia are vulnerable as trafficking victims
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Bolivia has failed to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in the areas of prosecutions and victim protection
Illicit drugs:
world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 26,500 hectares under cultivation in August 2005, an 8% increase from 2004; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported mostly to or through Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to European drug markets; cultivation steadily increasing despite eradication and alternative crop programs; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade, especially along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007