Location: Central South America
La Paz (administrative capital)
Population (2011): 10,118,683
Surface area: 1,098,581 sq km
GDP per capita (2009): US $ 1,758
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, indigenous 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. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will allow him to continue his process of change.
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 exchange for a predetermined service fee. After higher prices for mining and hydrocarbons exports produced a fiscal surplus in 2008, the global recession in 2009 slowed growth. Nevertheless, Bolivia recorded the highest growth rate in South America that year. During 2010 an increase in world commodity prices resulted in the biggest trade surplus in history. However, a lack of foreign investment in the key sectors of mining and hydrocarbons and higher food prices pose challenges for the Bolivian economy.
Human Development Index ranking (2010): 95 out of 169
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (2009): US $ 726 million
Top Three Donors of gross (ODA) (2008-2009 average):
United States, Spain, IDB Sp.Fund
Total External Debt (2010): US $ 6.314 billion
HIPC Position (2011):Completion Point achieved.
United Nations Membership date:14 November 1945
New York Mission:
Address: Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations, 801 Second Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10017
Telephone: (212) 682-8132, -8133, -4113
Telefax: (212) 687-4642
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
National holiday: 6 August, Independence Day
Updated October 2011