•Press Release Latin America and the Caribbean World
October 17, 2019
Bolivian Economy Has Been the Fastest-Growing in South America While Following Heterodox Policies
For Immediate Release: October 17, 2019
Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460
Washington, D.C. — A new research report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) analyzes Bolivia’s economic changes since 2006 in the context of the Bolivian government’s main policy decisions. It finds that it has been policy choices, not merely a “commodities boom,” that have been the driving force in Bolivia’s surge to be the fastest-growing economy in South America over the past five years. Strong economic growth has allowed Bolivia to reduce poverty by 42 percent and extreme poverty by 60 percent since President Evo Morales took office in 2006.
“Bolivia has shown that it is possible for a small, poor country in South America to make substantial economic and social progress, with macroeconomic stability, solid income growth and redistribution, through a mix of state-led, heterodox economic policies, and markets,” said Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR and a co-author of the paper.
Notably, the Bolivian government ended 20 years of IMF agreements in 2006; many of the policies responsible for Bolivia’s economic success since 2006 were previously opposed by the IMF, including most importantly the renationalization of hydrocarbons (also opposed by former president Carlos Mesa, as the IMF noted in 2005).
The report finds that:
The paper also notes that “significant challenges remain,” in diversifying Bolivia’s export markets and products and reducing current account and public sector deficits, but that Bolivia’s public debt is fully sustainable.