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Tulane University Vietnamese Association
By Entry Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Bolivia
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Map of Bolivia
IntroductionTop
Background: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 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, resolving disputes with coca growers over Bolivia's counterdrug efforts, and waging an anticorruption campaign.
GeographyTop
Location:Central South America, southwest of Brazil
Geographic coordinates:17 00 S, 65 00 W
Map references:South America
Area: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: 6,743 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,400 km, Chile 861 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 900 km

Coastline:0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:none (landlocked)
Climate:varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
Terrain: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: 2.67%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.14% (2001)

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, 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
PeopleTop
Population:8,857,870 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 35.7% (male 1,613,049/female 1,551,023)
15-64 years: 59.8% (male 2,591,328/female 2,701,892)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 178,486/female 222,092) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 21.47 years
male: 20.79 years
female: 22.17 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.49% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:23.76 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.64 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 53.11 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 65.5 years
male: 62.89 years
female: 68.25 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.94 children born/woman (2005 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.)
Nationality:noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups:Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Religions:Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
Languages:Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.2%
male: 93.1%
female: 81.6% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia

Government type:republic
Capital: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
Independence:6 August 1825 (from Spain)
National holiday:Independence Day, 6 August (1825)
Constitution:2 February 1967; revised in August 1994
Legal system:based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)
Executive branch:chief of state: President Eduardo RODRIGUEZ Veltze (since 9 June 2005); Vice President (vacant); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Eduardo RODRIGUEZ Veltze (since 9 June 2005); Vice President (vacant); 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 five-year terms; election last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held June 2007)
election results: as a result of no candidate winning a majority in the 30 June 2002 election, Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante was chosen president by Congress; congressional votes - Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante 84, Evo MORALES 43; note - following the resignation of the elected president on 17 October 2003 and Vice President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert on 9 June 2005, Eduardo RODRIGUEZ Veltze, President of the Supreme Court and constitutional successor, became president.

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; 68 are directly elected from their districts and 62 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held 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 [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 [Evo MORALES]; Movement Without Fear or MSM [Juan DEL GRANADO]; Nationalist Democratic Action or ADN [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]; Nationalist Revolutionary Movement or MNR [leader NA]; New Republican Force or NFR [Manfred REYES-VILLA]; Pachakuti Indigenous Movement or MIP [Felipe QUISPE]; 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:CAN, CSN, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OAS, ONUB, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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
EconomyTop
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 percent 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. Foreign investment dried up as companies adopted a wait-and-see attitude regarding new President Carlos MESA's willingness to protect investor rights in the face of increased demands by radical groups that the government expropriate foreign-owned assets. Real GDP growth in 2003 and 2004 - helped by increased demand for natural gas in neighboring Brazil - was positive, but still below the levels seen during the 1990s. Bolivia remains dependent on foreign aid from multilateral lenders and foreign governments.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $22.33 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:3.7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $2,600 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 13%
industry: 28%
services: 59% (2004 est.)

Labor force:3.8 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:9.2% in urban areas
note: widespread underemployment (2003 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:44.7 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):4.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):10.4% of GDP (2003 est.)
Budget:revenues: $2.264 billion
expenditures: $2.769 billion, including capital expenditures of $741 million (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber
Industries:mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing
Industrial production growth rate:5.7% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:4.132 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.5% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:3.848 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:3 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:9 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:39,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:49,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:458.8 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:8.44 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:1.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:2.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:727.2 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:$273 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$1.986 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
Exports - partners:Brazil 33.9%, US 12.7%, Colombia 11.8%, Venezuela 11.6%, Peru 5.1%, Japan 4.2% (2004)
Imports:$1.595 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans
Imports - partners:Brazil 25.3%, Argentina 17%, US 13.1%, Chile 9.2%, Peru 7.2% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$1.214 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$5.439 billion (June 2004 est.)
Currency (code):boliviano (BOB)
Currency code:BOB
Exchange rates:bolivianos per US dollar - 7.9363 (2004), 7.6592 (2003), 7.17 (2002), 6.6069 (2001), 6.1835 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:600,100 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1,401,500 (2003)
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)
Radios:5.25 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:48 (1997)
Televisions:900,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.bo
Internet hosts:7,080 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):9 (2000)
Internet users:270,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 3,519 km
narrow gauge: 3,519 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 60,282 km
paved: 3,979 km
unpaved: 56,303 km (2002)

Waterways:10,000 km (commercially navigable) (2004)
Pipelines:gas 4,860 km; liquid petroleum gas 47 km; oil 2,457 km; refined products 1,589 km; unknown (oil/water) 247 km (2004)
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: 32 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 413,407 GRT/699,901 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 16, chemical tanker 1, container 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 11 (Argentina 1, Egypt 2, Eritrea 1, Germany 1, Iran 1, Singapore 2, United Kingdom 1, United States 2) (2005)

Airports:1,065 (2004 est.)
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 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 1,049
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: 778 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Navy (Fuerza Naval; includes Marines), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana) (2004)
Military manpower - military 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)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 1,923,234 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 1,311,414 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 101,101 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$132.2 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.6% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
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
Illicit drugs:world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 28,450 hectares under cultivation in June 2003, a 23% increase from June 2002; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported mostly to or through Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to European and US drug markets; eradication and alternative crop programs under the MESA administration have been unable to keep pace with farmers' attempts to increase cultivation; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade, especially along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay



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