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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.44 cu km/yr (13%/7%/81%)
per capita: 157 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
622.5 cu km (2000)

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

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

varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Map references:
South America

Geographic coordinates:
17 00 S, 65 00 W

Natural resources:
tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m

rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Geography - note:
landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru

total: 1,098,580 sq km
land: 1,084,390 sq km
water: 14,190 sq km

Central South America, southwest of Brazil

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Irrigated land:
1,320 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
flooding in the northeast (March-April)

Land use:
arable land: 2.78%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.03% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.67 children born/woman (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.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,900 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.53 years
male: 63.86 years
female: 69.33 years (2008 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)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.7%
male: 93.1%
female: 80.7% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
-1.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%

Median age:
total: 22.6 years
male: 21.9 years
female: 23.3 years (2008 est.)

9,247,816 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
6.4% of GDP (2003)

Population growth rate:
1.383% (2008 est.)

Spanish 60.7% (official), Quechua 21.2% (official), Aymara 14.6% (official), foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)

Death rate:
7.35 deaths/1,000 population (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.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 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.)

Birth rate:
22.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%

noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian

  Government Back To Top

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
note: as of September 2008, the Bolivian Government has expelled the US Ambassador to Bolivia

National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 August (1825)

18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB
other: Cocalero groups; indigenous organizations; labor unions

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
note: as of September 2008, the US has expelled the Bolivian ambassador to the US

International organization participation:

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

Legal system:
based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

6 August 1825 (from Spain)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia

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]

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)

2 February 1967; revised in August 1994; possible referendum on new constitution to be held 25 January 2009

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%

Administrative divisions:
9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija

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)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Brazil 46%, US 9.8%, Japan 7.6%, Argentina 5.8%, South Korea 4.8%, Peru 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
5.092 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
6.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$1.789 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$4.603 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
7.5% in urban areas; widespread underemployment (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
18,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,700 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
16.7% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$4.759 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$43.71 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$18.94 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
59.2 (2006)

Exchange rates:
bolivianos (BOB) per US dollar - 7.253 (2008 est.), 7.8616 (2007), 8.0159 (2006), 8.0661 (2005), 7.9363 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.8% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$3.032 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
4.457 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Brazil 29.9%, Argentina 16.2%, Chile 10.5%, US 9.8%, Peru 8.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.3%
industry: 36.9%
services: 51.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
8,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)

$6.384 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
boliviano (BOB)

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. In early 2008, higher earnings for mining and hydrocarbons exports pushed the current account surplus to 9.4% of GDP and the government's higher tax take produced a fiscal surplus after years of large deficits. Private investment as a share of GDP, however, remains among the lowest in Latin America, and inflation remained at double-digit levels in 2008. The decline in commodity prices in late 2008, the lack of foreign investment in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, and the suspension of trade benefits with the United States will pose challenges for the Bolivian economy in 2009.

Natural gas - exports:
11.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans

mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
60% (2006 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.86% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.729 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
5.668 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$4.782 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
465 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 40%
industry: 17%
services: 43% (2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
750.4 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$7.864 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
31,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Public debt:
52.7% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$6.88 billion (31 December 2004)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.263 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.3%
highest 10%: 47.2% (2002)

Exports - commodities:
natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin

Economic aid - recipient:
$582.9 million (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.5% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
14.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $8.044 billion
expenditures: $7.341 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
61,790 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
678,200 (2007)

900,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 171, FM 73, shortwave 77 (1999)

5.25 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.254 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
48 (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: privatization begun 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)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)

Internet hosts:
68,428 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

10,000 km (commercially navigable) (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)

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

Merchant marine:
total: 23
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 11, carrier 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 7, refrigerated cargo 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 7 (Bahamas 1, China 1, Iran 1, Singapore 1, Syria 2, Taiwan 1) (2008)

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)

total: 62,479 km
paved: 3,749 km
unpaved: 58,730 km (2004)

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)

1,061 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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 (2009)

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.)

Military branches:
Bolivian Armed Forces: Bolivian Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana; includes marines), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB) (2009)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 107,051
female: 103,620 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.9% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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 29,500 hectares under cultivation in 2007, a slight increase over 2006; third largest producer of cocaine, estimated at 120 metric tons of potential pure cocaine in 2007; 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 (2007)

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