Bolivia



Official Country Name
Bolivia

Bolivia Overview
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.

Bolivia Economy
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.

Bolivia Location
Bolivia is located in Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Region
Bolivia is located in South America

Bolivia Population
Bolivia has population of 8,989,046 (July 2006 est.)

Bolivia Climate
Bolivia has varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

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

Bolivia Natural Resources
tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

Ethnic Groups in Bolivia
Bolivia has the following ethnic groups - Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%

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

Bolivia Languages
Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)

Bolivia Capital
Bolivia capital is La Paz

Bolivia Currency
Bolivia currency is boliviano

Map of Bolivia