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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 counter-coups. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in the 1980s, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, continuing the privatization program, and waging an anticorruption campaign.
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
water: 14,190 sq km
land: 1,084,390 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,743 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,400 km, Chile 861 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 900 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: 1.73%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 98.06% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,280 sq km (1998 est.)
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, Nuclear Test Ban, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, 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
8,445,134 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.8% (male 1,626,596; female 1,565,124)
15-64 years: 57.7% (male 2,383,852; female 2,491,823)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 169,583; female 208,156) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.69% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
26.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
8.05 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
57.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.42 years
female: 67.1 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.86 years
Total fertility rate:
3.37 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,200 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
380 (1999 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)
Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.1%
male: 90.5%
female: 76% (1995 est.)
Government Bolivia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
Government type:
La Paz (seat of government); Sucre (legal capital and seat of judiciary)
Administrative divisions:
9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, 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 Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante (since 4 August 2002); Vice President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (since 4 August 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante (since 4 August 2002); Vice President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (since 4 August 2002); note - the president is both the 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 five-year terms; election last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held NA June 2007)
election results: the new president was chosen by Congress, a result of no candidate winning a majority in the 30 June 2002 election; Congressional votes - Gonzalo SANCHEZ de Lozada 84, Evo MORALES 43
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (27 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note - some members are drawn from party lists, thus not directly elected)
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held NA June 2007)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MNR 11, MAS 8, MIR 5, NFR 2, other 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MNR 36, MAS 27, MIR 26, NFR 25, others 16
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 [Otto RICHTER]; Civic Solidarity Union or UCS [Johnny FERNANDEZ]; Conscience of the Fatherland or CONDEPA [Remedios LOZA Alvarado]; Free Bolivia Movement or MBL [Franz BARRIOS]; Movement of the Revolutionary Left or MIR [Jaime PAZ Zamora]; Movement to Socialism or MAS [leader NA]; Nationalist Democratic Action or ADN [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]; Nationalist Revolutionary Movement or MNR [Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA]; New Republican Force or NFR [Manfred REYES-VILLA]; United Left or IU [Marcos DOMIC]
note: the ADN, MIR, and UCS comprise the ruling coalition
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Cocalero Groups; indigenous organizations; labor unions; Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB [Felipe QUISPE]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jaime APARICIO Otero
chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador David N. GREENLEE
embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, San Jorge, La Paz
mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34032
telephone: [591] (2) 2430120, 2430251
FAX: [591] (2) 2433900
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, has made considerable progress toward the development of a market-oriented economy. Successes under President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA (1993-97) included the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and becoming an associate member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur), as well as the privatization of the state airline, telephone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Growth slowed in 1999, in part due to tight government budget policies, which limited needed appropriations for anti-poverty programs, and the fallout from the Asian financial crisis. In 2000, major civil disturbances in April, and again in September and October, held down overall growth to 2.5%. Bolivia's GDP failed to grow in 2001 due to the global slowdown and laggard domestic activity. Growth is expected to pick up in 2002, but the fiscal deficit and debt burden will remain high.
purchasing power parity - $21.4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,600 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 31%
services: 55% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 46% (1997) (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
59 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
2.5 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
7.6% (2000)
note: widespread underemployment (2000)
revenues: $4 billion
expenditures: $4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing
Industrial production growth rate:
3.9% (1998) (1998)
Electricity - production:
3.87 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 48%
hydro: 50%
other: 2% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
3.605 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
5 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
11 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber
$1.2 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
soybeans, natural gas, zinc, gold, wood
Exports - partners:
US 32%, Colombia 18%, UK 15%, Brazil 15%, Peru 6% (2000)
$1.5 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, raw materials and semi-manufactures, chemicals, petroleum, food
Imports - partners:
US 24%, Argentina 17%, Brazil 15%, Chile 9%, Peru 5% (2000)
Debt - external:
$5.8 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$588 million (1997) (1997)
boliviano (BOB)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
bolivianos per US dollar - 6.8613 (January 2002), 6.6069 (2001), 6.1835 (2000), 5.8124 (1999), 5.5101 (1998), 5.2543 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bolivia
Telephones - main lines in use:
327,600 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
116,000 (1997)
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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)
Internet users:
78,000 (2000)
Transportation Bolivia
total: 3,691 km
narrow gauge: 3,652 km 1.000-m gauge; 39 km 0.760-m gauge (13 km electrified) (1995 est.)
total: 49,400 km
paved: 2,500 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 46,900 km (1996)
10,000 km (commercially navigable)
crude oil 1,800 km; petroleum products 580 km; natural gas 1,495 km
Ports and harbors:
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
Merchant marine:
total: 36 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 196,399 GRT/320,137 DWT
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 15, chemical tanker 2, container 1, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of Belize 2, China 2, Cuba 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 1, Honduras 1, Latvia 2, Liberia 2, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 1, South Korea 3, Switzerland 1, Ukraine 1, United Arab Emirates 5, United States 1 (2002 est.)
1,109 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,069 1,096
over 3,047 m: 1 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 64 65
914 to 1,523 m: 225 236
under 914 m: 776 790 (2002)
Military Bolivia
Military branches:
Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Navy (Fuerza Naval, includes Marines), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana), National Police Force (Policia Nacional de Bolivia)
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,062,321 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,343,755 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 90,120 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$147 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Bolivia
Disputes - international:
continues to demand a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama region was lost to Chile in 1884
Illicit drugs:
world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 24,400 hectares under cultivation in June 2002, a 23% increase from June 2001; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported to or through Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to the US and other international drug markets; eradication and alternative crop programs under the SANCHEZ DE LOZADA administration have been unable to keep pace with farmers' attempts to increase cultivation after significant reductions in 1998 and 1999; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade, especially along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003