Highlights de Bolivia

Bolivia, as the rest of the region, suffered from the international economic crisis especially as two of its more important sectors, mining and oil and gas production had to deal with falling international prices resulting in a significant fall in the value of exports.

Also remittances from Bolivians resident abroad fell, affecting household consumption, especially in the lower and lower-middle income groups, which represent 60% od the population.

In spite of these adverse circumstances in September 2009, Fitch Ratings upgraded the Bolivian country rating from B- to B for local and foreign debt. This improvement has been achieved because macroeconomic stability was maintained throughout the crisis.

This macroeconomic stability is the result of the accumulation of savings and international reserves during several years enabling the Bolivian government to apply counter-cyclical economic policies such as the reduction of interest rates, the expansion of public expenditure and the development of social assistance programs; for example Renta Dignidad (for people above 65 years), Bono Juancito Pinto (for children in public schools) and Bono Madre Niño (for women with newborn babies).

On the political front during 2009 the new Constitution was approved and Evo Morales was reelected as Bolivian President for a further five year term (2010-2015). Also Morales' political party, Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), gained control of the Congress (Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional - the new name of the former Bolivian Congress) with a two thirds majority.