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Countries > Bolivia Bolivia Flag

Languages   6 languages are spoken in Bolivia. We have 2008 products available for those languages.

Capital: La Paz
Population: 7,414,000
Description: This country has the highest percentage of Indians of any in the hemisphere. Spanish, the official language, is spoken by less than half the population. The two major Indian languages are Quechua, with about 2 million speakers, and Aymara, with about 1½ million. Others include Chiquito, Guarani, and Tacana.
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Bolivia Map


Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates: 17 00 S, 65 00 W

Map references: South America

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: Cerro Illimani 6,882 m

Natural resources: tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 24%
forests and woodland : 53%
other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,750 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: cold, thin air of high plateau is obstacle to efficient fuel combustion, as well as to physical activity by those unaccustomed to it from birth; 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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, 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


Population: 8,445,134 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.8% (male 1,626,596; female 1,565,124)
15-64 years: 57.07% (male 2,315,098; female 2,421,987)
65 years and over : 44.5% (male 169,583; female 208,156) (2002 )

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
male:67.1 years (2002 est.)
female :61.86 years

Total fertility rate: 3.37 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups: Quechua 30%, Aymara 25%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 25%-30%, white 5%-15%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist)

Languages: 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.)


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

Data code: BL

Government type: republic

National 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 Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez (since 7 August 2001); note - Vice President Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez assumed the presidency upon the resignation of former president Hugo BANZER Suarez; Vice President NA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez (since 7 August 2001); note - Vice President Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez assumed the presidency upon the resignation of former president Hugo BANZER Suarez; Vice President NA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from a panel of candidates proposed by the Senate
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 1 June 1997 (next to be held May or June 2002)
election results: Hugo BANZER Suarez elected president; percent of vote - Hugo BANZER Suarez (ADN) 22%; Jaime PAZ Zamora (MIR) 17%, Juan Carlos DURAN (MNR) 18%, Ivo KULJIS (UCS) 16%, Remedios LOZA (CONDEPA) 17%; no candidate received a majority of the popular vote; Hugo BANZER Suarez won a congressional runoff election on 5 August 1997 after forming a "megacoalition" with MIR, UCS, CONDEPA, NFR, and PDC; resigned 7 August 2001 and was succeeded by Vice President Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez

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 four-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 1 June 1997 (next to be held NA June 2002)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - ADN 11, MIR 7, MNR 4, CONDEPA 3, UCS 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - ADN 32, MNR 26, MIR 23, UCS 21, CONDEPA 19, MBL 5, IU 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges appointed for a 10-year term by National Congress

Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [leader NA]; Civic Solidarity Union or UCS [Johnny FERNANDEZ]; Conscience of the Fatherland or CONDEPA [Remedios LOZA Alvarado]; Free Bolivia Movement or MBL [Antonio ARANIBAR]; Movement of the Revolutionary Left or MIR [Jaime PAZ Zamora]; Nationalist Democratic Action or ADN [Hugo BANZER Suarez]; Nationalist Revolutionary Movement or MNR [Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA]; New Republican Force or NFR [leader NA]; Pachacuti Indigenous Movement [Filipe QUISPE]; United Left or IU [Marcos DOMIC]

International organization participation: AG, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marlene FERNANDEZ del Granado
chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410 through 4412
FAX : [1] (202) 328-3712
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador V. Manuel ROCHA
embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, San Jorge, La Paz
mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34032
telephone : [591] (2) 430251
FAX: [591] (2) 433900

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 - overview: With its long history of semifeudal social controls, dependence on volatile prices for its mineral exports, and bouts of hyperinflation, Bolivia has remained one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries. However, Bolivia has experienced generally improving economic conditions since the PAZ Estenssoro administration (1985-89) introduced market oriented policies which reduced inflation from 11,700% in 1985 to about 20% in 1988. PAZ Estenssoro was followed as president by Jaime PAZ Zamora (1989-93) who continued the free-market policies of his predecessor, despite opposition from his own party and from Bolivia's once powerful labor movement. By maintaining fiscal discipline, PAZ Zamora helped reduce inflation to 9.3% in 1993, while GDP grew by an annual average of 3.25% during his tenure. Inaugurated in August 1993, President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA has vowed to advance the market-oriented economic reforms he helped launch as PAZ Estenssoro's planning minister. His successes include the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) as well as the privatization of the state airline, phone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Furthermore, SANCHEZ DE LOZADA sponsored legislation creating private social security accounts for all adult Bolivians and capitalized these new accounts with the state's remaining 50% share in the privatized companies.

GDP: 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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 2% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 2.5 million
by occupation: agriculture NA%, services and utilities NA%, manufacturing, mining and construction NA%

Unemployment rate: 7.6% (2000)

revenues: $4 billion
expenditures : $4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)

Industries: mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing

Industrial production growth rate: 3.9% (1998)

Electricity - capacity: 804,300 kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 3.87 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 3.605 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber

total value: $1.2 billion (2001 est.)
commodities: metals 39%, natural gas 9%, soybeans 11%, jewelry 11%, wood 8%
partners: US 32%, Colombia 18%, UK 15%, Brazil 15%, Peru 6% (2000)

total value : $1.5 billion (2001 est.)
commodities: capital goods 48%, chemicals 11%, petroleum 5%, food 5% (1993 est.)
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)

Currency: 1 boliviano ($B) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: bolivianos ($B) per US$1 - 5.1720 (November 1996), 4.8003 (1995), 4.6205 (1994), 4.2651 (1993), 3.9005 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 327,600 (1996)

Telephone system: 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)

Radios: 5.25 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 48 (1997)

Televisions: 900,000 (1997)


total : 3,691 km (single track)
narrow gauge: 3,652 km 1.000-m gauge; 39 km 0.760-m gauge (13 km electrified) (1995)

total: 49,400 km
paved: 2,500 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 46,900 km (1996)

Waterways: 10,000 km of commercially navigable waterways

Pipelines: crude oil 1,800 km; petroleum products 580 km; natural gas 1,495 km

Ports and harbors: none; however, Bolivia has free port privileges in the maritime ports of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay

Merchant marine:
total : 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,214 GRT/6,390 DWT (1996 est.)

Airports: 941 (1996 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1,093 (2000 est.)
over 3,047 m : 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 1,080
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 65
914 to 1,523 m: 212
under 914 m: 800 (2000 est.)


Military branches: Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Navy (Fuerza Naval Boliviana, includes Marines), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana), National Police Force (Policia Nacional de Bolivia)

Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 2,005,660 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 1,306,452 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 90,120 (2001 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $147 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.8% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Chile over Rio Lauca water rights

Illicit drugs: world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Peru and Colombia) with an estimated 48,100 hectares under cultivation in 1996, a one percent decrease in overall cultivation of coca over 1995 levels; Bolivia, however, is the second-largest producer of coca leaf; even so, voluntary and forced eradication programs resulted in leaf production dropping from 85,000 metric tons in 1995 to 75,100 tons in 1996; government considers all but 12,000 hectares illicit; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported to or through Colombia and Brazil to the US and other international drug markets; alternative crop program aims to reduce illicit coca cultivation

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