Economic Outline

flag Bolivia Bolivia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Though rich in mineral resources - with the second-largest reserves of natural gas in South America - Bolivia is one of the region's poorest countries. Bolivia also lacks economic diversification, making the country's economic growth largely supported by natural gas exports. In 2021, the country registered an estimated GDP growth rate of 5%, mainly driven by private and public consumption, as well as external demand (IMF). The economy is expected to continue to pick up in the coming years, albeit at a slower pace, with the IMF predicting a GDP growth of 4% for 2022 and 3.7% for 2023.

The Bolivian economy seems rather strong in appearance: a sustained growth, an inflation under control (1.3% in 2021), and large currency reserves. However, Bolivia is dependent on oil prices, and the large fall in gas export revenue has affected public accounts: the budget and current deficits are increasing. The expansionary budget also contributed to worsening public budget, which was negative by 9.7% in 2021. The financing of the deficit is expected to increasingly depend on multilateral donors, such as the IMF, the Andean Development Cooperation, and the World Bank. In 2021, the current account deficit reached 2.2%, and it should slightly increase to 2.8% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023. Overcoming the dependency on mineral resources, reforming justice, modernising infrastructure, the increase in the competitiveness of the labour force, combating insecurity and addressing the problem of violence against women are the country's main challenges in the long run. In 2021, the government continued implementing measures in response to the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that included the deferral of some tax payments, the creation of a USD 219 million fund to support micro, small, and medium businesses; and increased social spending to aid eligible individuals, such as those who receive the universal transfer, mothers, people with disabilities and citizens over the age of 18 who do not receive any type of public or private salary. Overall, the economy has been showing significant signs of recovery thanks to the measures adopted by the government in light of the pandemic.

In spite of a sharp fall in poverty in the last decade, nearly 40% of Bolivians still live below the poverty line. The country is also marked by inequalities in the distribution of its wealth and a strong informal sector. However, the unemployment rate is among the lowest in the region, as it stood at an estimated 6% in 2021. Moreover, the Bolivian justice system has been plagued by corruption, delays, and political interference. Additionally, impunity for violent crime and human rights violations remains a serious problem.

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 41.19e36.8438.5540.9043.87
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.2-8.85.04.03.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,591e3,168e3,2673,4193,616
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 59.178.882.783.984.0
Inflation Rate (%) 1.80.91.32.73.4
Current Account (billions USD) -1.39-0.18-0.86-1.16-1.46
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.4-0.5-2.2-2.8-3.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Boliviano (BOB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 0.190.200.200.190.18

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 30.5 19.4 50.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 12.2 25.2 50.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 5.3 0.1 3.5

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
Socio-Demographic Indicators 20212022 (e)2023 (e)
Unemployment Rate (%) 7.86.05.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - Latest available data

 

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The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 5,631,0985,758,7605,431,077

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 71.04%74.04%74.21%
Men activity rate 81.16%82.65%82.65%
Women activity rate 60.81%65.34%65.70%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
42,7/100
World Rank:
172
Regional Rank:
30

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
3/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
110/180

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
El Diario
El Deber
Página Siete
La Razón
El Mundo
Los Tiempos
Opinión
Jornada
Bolivian new-paper sites
Bolivia Information Forum
Useful Resources
Ministry of Economy and Pulbic Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy
Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy
Ministry of the Presidency
Ministry of Government
Central Bank of Bolivia
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2022