Recent economic success has moved Bolivia from a low-income economy to a lower-middle-income economy. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin and has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America. The Bolivian population, estimated at roughly over 11 million, is multi-ethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans and has tripled in the last 50 years.
Despite recent economic progress, the challenges faced by the country are still considerable, mainly linked to the high inequality in income distribution, the overall weak capacities in the country for efficient public policy implementation and the pressures on natural resources put by the developmental model.
The EU is one of the main donors in the country.
Our allocation for the 2014-2020 programming period is €281 million, covering 3 focal sectors:
- justice reform
- fight against illicit drugs
- integral water management
The EU has strong and continuous relations with civil society. In particular, in the scope of the EU working groups on human rights and justice, civil society organisations have been consulted and proactively participated - with the regular presence of women organisations. Coordinadora de la Mujer, a national network representing more than 30 women's Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has been particularly active.
Bolivia benefits from the Regional Cooperation Programmes for Latin America (€805 million for 2014-2020). Priorities are the security-development nexus; good governance, accountability and social equity; inclusive and sustainable growth; environmental sustainability and climate change; and higher education via Erasmus+.
The EU and member countries together with Switzerland agreed a joint cooperation framework with Bolivia worth €530 million. The Joint European Strategy is dedicated to improving the lives for the Bolivian people in 8 priority sectors, including culture and tourism, rural development and food security, integral development with coca and the fight against drug trafficking, education, governance, environment and climate change, health, economic development and employment.
Bolivia also participates in the Cocaine route programme, an EU programme involving over 40 countries aimed at combating transnational organised crime.
Bolivia benefits from the preferential access that the EU grants under the EU's Generalized Scheme of Preferences, including through the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).