Bolivia is a South American country bordering Chile, Peru, and Brazil. The country’s size equates to approximately three times the size of Montana. The Bolivian terrain consists of rugged mountains, highland plateaus, hills, and plains in the Amazon Basin. The climate varies in altitude. The country is mostly humid and tropical. The temperatures vary from cold to semiarid. The mountains boast of beautiful sceneries, while offering trails for bicyclists and rivers for rafting. The tourism of this country is an untapped resource.
In spite of the increase in the GDP, Bolivia is still considered to be one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Some of the issues that complicate or hinder the country’s ability to progress is linked to health and education. The country is a high risk for infectious diseases. The last outbreak of yellow fever was in 1999. Common forms of food or waterborne diseases are bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever. Safe drinking water sources are improving. The following are the percentage of unimproved areas: urban – 4%, rural 33%. Improvement in the rural areas continues to be a need. Other forms of diseases are borne by insects (vector borne), such as the dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever. One of the best ways to combat poverty has been through the use of GDP. As stated earlier, Bolivia has been able to increase its GDP through the higher prices earned for hydrocarbons. As a participant of the 2002 UN Millennium Summit, Bolivia continues to make strides to meet the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of “reducing … the proportion of humanity that suffers from hunger.” Hughes, B. & Hillebrand, E. (2006). The Vice-President of Bolivia, Alvaro Garcia Linera, in his response to critics regarding fulfillment of political promises, drew attention to the improvements seen by the country under its current government’s policies in the areas of poverty and equality. GLW (2011) The current government boasted that its efforts from 2000-2010 have resulted in a reduction of the populations in poverty from 66.4% in 2000 to 49.6% in 2010. This was a 16.8% reduction. The Bolivian proportion of people “living in extreme poverty” was 45.2% in 2000 and by 2010 that percentage was 25.4%. This equated to a 19.8% reduction. The country’s social unrest around 2003-2005 resulted in an increase in poverty levels. The country was unable to improve on its poverty levels until 2005. Also noted in his report with regard to the inequality of income earners “In rural areas, where inequality is … more pronounced, the ratio had been reduced from 157 times to 76 times.” GLW (2011).
As seen above through the International Future’s Model (a/k/a IFS), we compared how South American countries are doing with regards to the percentage of safe water in rural areas, the increase in the country’s GDP, and the percentage of access for rural areas to sanitation. Though Bolivia is improving the amount of GDP earned, the country is able to boast better access to safe water but the rural communities appear to be lacking in proper sanitation. The country is a high risk for infectious diseases. The last outbreak of yellow fever was in 1999. Common forms of food or waterborne diseases are bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever. Safe drinking water sources are improving. The following are the percentage of unimproved areas: urban – 4%, rural 33%. Improvement in the rural areas continues to be a need. Other forms of diseases are borne by insects (vector borne), such as the dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever. Because of the high rate of vector borne diseases, the improvement of sanitation facilities is important. Bolivia has improved the sanitation facilities as is demonstrated by the listing of areas that have been “improved: urban – 34%, rural 9%.” The improvements made across the country (rural and urban) for water and sanitation have been slow since 1990. However, it is important to note that this trend of improvement continues to grow for the country. (CIA World Factbook)
We can see above that Bolivia has the lowest life expectancy rate and Chile, its neighbor has the highest for all of South America. This is of particular interest because rural access to safe water appears to be at a higher rate for Bolivians than for Chile. It is curious that Brazil had a higher indoor pollution death rate and yet they have a substantially higher rate of life expectancy compared to Bolivia. We can also see by the size of the bubbles that Bolivia has the highest infant mortality rate and Chile has the lowest. This tells us that sanitation is a variable we will want to look at altering to see if we can change the infant mortality rates by affecting those variables that affect the health of the people.
Here we can see that the largest contributor to the infant mortality rate is not nutrition but comunicable diseases and this is also affecting the elderly. This reinforces our need to address the sanitation and health of the people.
Here we can see that there is an increase in the population that are completing their secondary education and it appears to be balanced between male and female. As we look at the older population we see that there is an increase in females completing tertiary education; however, when compared to the overall population this group is still significantly small and the population with no indication is substantially large. Looking at the pyramid it appears that the levels receiving no education has been growing based on the age groups with reported education. Increasing education is a factor that needs to be looked at to improve the situation. Additionally we can see that there has been an improvement over the years in the distribution of education between males and females. This is a positive for Bolivia. To recap what we have seen above. Bolivia has the lowest calorie per capita and needs improvement in sanitation. Improvement can be seen in the education levels but there appears to be a growth in the number of uneducated people and this may need to be addressed along with improving the sanitation to help the people out of their poverty levels.
A simulation in the forecasting model increasing the government’s expenditure from the GDP in the areas of Health, Education, and Sanitation was completed and a then the simulation ran to see the effects of these changes against the Human Poverty Index. Here the model increased spending on health by 50% over a five year period and repeated every 10 years, increased spending on education by 50% over a three year period and repeated every 10 years, and increased spending on sanitation by 50% over a two year period and repeated this every 10 years. We can see that the effects of the changes are very slow. However, by 2017 changes begin to appear and a dramatic change drop of almost a full index point occurs between 2021 and 2025.
The Index begins to see improvement on or about 2015. Improving the country’s human development index translates to the country’s ability to support an increase in technology and ultimately an increase in government funds. Next we will look at the country’s gross domestic product per capita under this scenario for potential benefits.
Here we see that the life expectancy decreases when compared to the base. However, by 2025 we see for both male and female an improvement that appears sustainable and provides for elevated years than following the base simulation.
Bolivia is struggling with many issues and the largest issue that affects the country as a whole is their ability to care and seek to resolve the issues of poverty. As noted earlier people suffering from poverty are the primary cause for government instability and this has been the country’s underlying issue since it separated from Spain. As long as there is a large population suffering, no form of government will be able to remain in the position to influence change if the issues of the poor are not the focus of the government with tangible solutions. One of the recent concerns the people raised was that the country benefitted from an increase in its GDP; however, the income from the increased GDP did not flow down to efforts that benefitted its poor indigenous people. This issue increases the instability of the country and changes the focus on the government from effecting changes to relieve the pressures felt as the result of poverty to maintaining the stability of the country.
POVERTY IN BOLIVIAAn Ongoing Issue
BACKGROUND – THE COUNTRY Peru Brazil Chile Paraguay Argentina