flag Bolivia Bolivia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

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. After the pandemic, Bolivia saw significant economic recovery and poverty reduction due to relaxed isolation measures and improved external conditions, including higher international prices for key exports. Yet, challenges persist with high public debt, declining natural gas output, and modest international reserves hindering government growth initiatives and straining the foreign exchange market, leading to a parallel exchange rate emergence. Furthermore, Bolivia faces various international risks, including commodity price volatility, global economic slowdown, and increasing international interest rates. However, Fitch projected a slowdown in growth, estimating it to have decreased to 2.1% in 2023 from 3.6% in 2022. The IMF anticipates growth of 1.8% in 2024 and 2.1% in 2025, although uncertainties remain, attributed to ongoing balance of payments pressures, low public investment, and limitations on private investment due to a weak regulatory framework.

Since the latter half of 2022, the current account shifted to a deficit due to the reduction in the trade surplus. This surplus transformed into a deficit in 2023, primarily driven by export underperformance caused by economic slowdowns in neighboring countries and China, alongside a decrease in natural gas production. In 2024, this negative trajectory is anticipated to persist, with further declines expected in gas production and sales (with a projected 20% annual export volume decrease in 2023 according to Coface) and ongoing import constraints. However, there has been a reduction in the services deficit, attributed to a rebound in tourist activity. Furthermore, remittances from expatriate Bolivian workers are anticipated to remain robust, supported by favorable employment conditions in Spain, Chile, and the United States. In recent years, the country registered a notable decrease in usable international reserves, reaching critically low levels, thereby increasing risks to both macroeconomic stability and debt servicing capacity. Persistent wide fiscal deficits, primarily funded by borrowing from the central bank, coupled with the absence of a clear consolidation plan, are expected to further strain reserves. Consequently, this has led to foreign exchange rationing and the emergence of parallel-market exchange rates within a stabilized currency regime. In 2024, the public deficit is projected to expand. The government, as detailed in its General State Budget (PGE) implemented at the beginning of January 2024, intends to increasingly depend on public expenditure to stimulate growth and contain inflation. Meanwhile, the IMF estimated the debt-to-GDP ratio at 80.8% in 2023, with a light uptick expected over the forecast horizon (82.1% by 2025). Inflation, at 3% last year, should increase to 4.4% during 2024.

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 4.1% in 2023. Nevertheless, informal employment is prevalent in the country. Moreover, the Bolivian justice system has been plagued by corruption, delays, and political interference.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 44.3246.4749.3352.5255.75
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,7053,8314,0144,2184,412
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 80.483.686.788.990.9
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.19-2.35-2.80-3.05-3.11
Current Account (in % of GDP) -0.4-5.0-5.7-5.8-5.6

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

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Boliviano (BOB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 9.338.899.228.638.86

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) 29.2 18.5 52.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 12.9 26.4 50.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.8 9.6 4.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Socio-Demographic Indicators 2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Unemployment Rate (%)

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


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The Active Population in Figures

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

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

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


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.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

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


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.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

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


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


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:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
El Diario
El Deber
La Razón
El Mundo
Los Tiempos
Useful Resources
Ministry of Economy and Pulbic Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 2024