Country Profile Bolivia

Jun 29, 2012 by Emmanuel Besserve

Country Profile BoliviaBolivia, 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.

  • Capital:  La Paz
  • Population: 10,290,003 (July 2011 est.)
  • Currency: Boliviano (BOB)
  • Language:  Spanish (official),Quechua (official),Aymara (official), English
  • Time zone:  UTC-4
  • Government:  Republic
  • Chief of State: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma
  • Country Dialing Code: +591
  • Emergency numbers:  110 to contact the police 118 for medical assistance
  • Voltage: 220V but can find some areas with 110V

Detailed country profile

ECONOMY

GDP real growth rate:

  • 5.1% (2011 est.)
  • 4.1% (2010 est.)
  • 3.4% (2009 est.)
  • 5.6% (2008 est.)
  • 4.6% (2007 est.)
  • 4.8% (2006 est.)

GDP Composition by sector (2011)

  • Agriculture: 10%
  • Industry: 40%
  • Services: 50%  

Labor force by occupation (2006):

  • Agriculture: 40%
  • Industry: 17%
  • Services: 43%

Agriculture products:

  • Soybeans
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Cotton
  • Corn
  • Sugarcane
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Timber

Industries:

  • Mining
  • Smelting
  • Petroleum
  • Food and beverages
  • Tobacco
  • Handicrafts
  • Clothing

Exports:

  • $9.109 billion (2011 est.)
  • $7.038 billion (2010 est.)

Export Commodities

  • Natural gas
  • Soybeans and soy products
  • Crude petroleum
  • Zinc ore
  • Tin

Export Partners (2009):

  • Brazil 43.5%
  • US 12.3%
  • Peru 6.8%
  • Colombia 5.5%
  • Japan 5.1%
  • Argentina 4.8% 

Imports:

  • $7.613 billion (2011 est.)
  • $5.393 billion (2010 est.)

Import commodities:

  • Petroleum products
  • Plastics
  • Paper
  • Aircraft and aircraft parts
  • Prepared foods
  • Automobiles
  • Insecticides
  • Soybeans

Import partners (2009):

  • Brazil 27.4%
  • Argentina 17.3%
  • US 11.9%
  • Peru 9.6%
  • Chile 7.8%
  • China 4.1%

Ports and Terminal:

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, Paraguay

Unemployment rate:

  • 5.5% (2011 est.)
  • 5.7% (2010 est.)

GOVERNMENT

Government Type:Republic

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
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 6 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014)

Legal system:

Based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

GEOGRAPHY

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

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

Environment and international agreement:

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 and Marine Life Conservation

Environment and 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

PEOPLE

Ethnic groups:

  • Quechua 30%
  • Mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%
  • Aymara 25%
  • White 15%

Languages:

  • Spanish 60.7% (official)
  • Quechua 21.2% (official)
  • Aymara 14.6% (official)
  • Foreign languages 2.4%
  • Other 1.2% (2001 census)

Religion:

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

HISTORY

Express History

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.

Source: The world factbook www.cia.gov

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Bolivia
About The Author
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Emmanuel Besserve

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