7. AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

7. AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

Nothing improves human productivity more than access to energy. A person who only has access to his own muscle energy can just barely subsist, whereas a person who has access to electricity can employ washing machines, cell phones, refrigerators, and a multitude of other productivity enhancing items. Energy consumption is almost perfectly correlated with economic development over time, so it is important for Bolivia to keep increasing its capacity to produce energy and to secure that all Bolivians have access to that energy.

Electricity coverage in Bolivia has increased substantially over the last decades, increasing from 67% of the population in 1990 to 91% of the population in 2012, implying that the coverage rate in Bolivia is now higher than the regional average, despite Bolivia being one of the poorest countries in the region. Reaching the last 9% of the population with clean energy sources (mainly hydro, solar, and geothermal), and thus helping them pull themselves out of extreme poverty is a high priority for Bolivia, and entirely possible with a concerted effort.

6. CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

6. CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

Water is of course essential for any person, so it is an absolute priority to make sure that every household has access to safe water at a reasonable price. Bolivia has made great progress in this area, increasing coverage from 78% in 2000 to more than 90% now.

Coverage of sanitation services is much lower, though, covering only about 50% of the population, and even when households are connected to a public sewage system, the used water usually just get channelled to a nearby river or lake without treatment, causing severe problems of water contamination in certain places (such as Lago Titicaca, which receives the waste water from Bolivia’s second biggest city, El Alto).

Reaching and maintaining 100% coverage of water services is a high priority in Bolivia, but it needs to be followed by long run strategies on how safely to dispose of the used water.

5. GENDER EQUALITY

5. GENDER EQUALITY

Bolivia is doing relatively well in some areas of gender equality. According to the World Bank Development Indicators, during the last decade, the ratio of girls and boys enrolled in primary and secondary levels in public and private schools in Bolivia has been close to parity, reaching 99 girls for every 100 boys in 2012. Moreover, in terms of women’s representation in parliament, Bolivia stands out globally with 53% of its parliament composed by women, which is the second highest share in the World.

However, several gender-related issues persist in Bolivia. In terms of gender violence, despite its penalisation by the new 2009 Constitution and the 2013 Integral Law to Guarantee Women a Life Without Violence, there has been little improvement. According to the latest survey on Prevalence and Characteristics of Violence Against Women, released by the national statistical office in 2016, 44.4% of women surveyed in Bolivia had suffered from inter-partner violence during the 12 months prior to the survey. Bolivia also has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Latin America.

Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme that should be embedded naturally in all development work. However, one problem which generates particularly profound and long-term disadvantages for women compared to men is teenage pregnancies, as these tend to interrupt, or severely delay, the education, career development, and income earning capacity of women. Almost half of all 20-year-old women in Bolivia already has at least one child to take care of, implying that they cannot focus on fully developing their own human potential.1

4. QUALITY EDUCATION

4. QUALITY EDUCATION

Quality education is one of the basic building blocks for sustainable development, and Bolivia has made great strides forward in terms of enrolment rates and by now has an economically active population with more years of education than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean (despite being one of the poorest countries in the region). Close to a third of the population is currently studying.

However, the quality of that education is in doubt. Bolivia has not participated in any of the standardized international tests (SIMECAL, PISA, TIMSS) since 1997. The situation was bad in 1997, especially in public schools, and it is unlikely that Bolivia has been catching up significantly in terms of better test scores. What is clear is that returns to education have been going down steadily over the last couple of decades. Bolivian workers with 12 years of education earn barely more than Bolivian workers with just 1 year of education1. This indicates a serious problem with the quality or relevance of the education most of Bolivia’s students are receiving.

Improving the quality and usefulness of education in Bolivia, and making sure the acquired education is being put to good use in the labour market is a major challenge, but one that must be addressed for Bolivia to improve its extremely low labour productivity.

3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Good health is a basic requirement for living well, but many people in Bolivia suffer and/or die too early from preventable causes.

For example, while the maternal mortality rate in Bolivia has been falling steadily, from 334 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 206 in 2015, this rate is still several times higher than in neighbouring countries, and three times higher than the global target for 2030 (less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births)1. Infant mortality rates have also been falling, from 58.5 infants dying before reaching one year of age per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 29.5 in 2016. However, this rate is also high compared to other countries in Latin America.

It is also important to note that the composition of diseases is changing rapidly in Bolivia. In 1990, Bolivia’s disease burden was dominated by infectious diseases and maternal health problems, which is typical of poor countries. By 2016, however, rich-country diseases associated with old age (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and mental disorders) have become dominant2.

While the Bolivian government has comprehensive systems and programs in place to reduce maternal and child mortality, large parts of the remaining population groups have limited access to health services.

2. ZERO HUNGER

2. ZERO HUNGER

While outright hunger is practically non-existent in Bolivia by now, malnutrition is still a widespread problem, showing itself mainly in the forms of stunting and/or obesity.

Malnutrition in early childhood has been shown to affect brain development, thus generating permanent adverse effects on learning and future income generation. Due to the long term damage caused by inadequate food quality and hygiene in early childhood, the Bolivian government has implemented many nutritional programs over the last several decades, and general malnutrition for children under five years old has fallen by more than 50% since 1990. However, chronic malnutrition is still high in the Bolivian Altiplano, with 39% of under-fives in Potosí being classified as chronically malnourished. In contrast, this is only the case for 9% of under-fives in the department of Santa Cruz1.

On the other hand, health surveys indicate that close to half of adult women in Bolivia are either overweight or obese, with important implications for general health and well-being.

1. NO POVERTY

1. NO POVERTY

Bolivia has made substantial progress towards this goal during the last few decades, as the extreme poverty rate has fallen steadily from 29.7% in 2000 to 6.8% in 20141.

General poverty has also fallen substantially, from 66.4% in 2000 to 38.6% in 20152, but more than a third of the population still live below the national poverty line.

Identifying and removing the remaining critical obstacles for people to permanently escape poverty is important for Bolivia.

Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (ABCE)

Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (ABCE)
Address: Av. Altamirano #6775, entre C. 4 y 5, Irpavi, La Paz
Phone: +591-2-2146069.
Institutional web-site: https://www.abce-edu.org/
Contact person: Enrique García-Ayaviri, Presidente
Contact e-mail: psucaf@hotmail.com
Description:
The Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (ABCE) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Founded in 1969, the ABCE is Bolivia’s top learned society and independent reference institution in the field of economic development.

Fundación Alternativas

Fundación Alternativas (Alternativas)
Address:
Av. 20 de Octubre (entre Aspiazu y J.J. Pérez) Edif. 2034 – Of. 204
Phone: 591 2 2419061
Institutional web-site: https://alternativascc.org
Contact person: María Teresa Nogales, Executive Director
Contact e-mail: mtnogales@alternativascc.org

Description:
Fundación Alternativas is a Bolivian non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable alternatives to guarantee food security in the cities of Bolivia. The work of Alternativas focuses on uniting civil, public and private efforts in designing and implementing public policies, programs and initiatives that permit citizens and communities to satisfy their universal right of alimentation. We work in three main areas: Food policy, socio-educational initiatives, and urban agriculture.

ARU Fundation

ARU Foundation (ARU)
Address:
Av. Arce Nro. 2970, Zona San Jorge, La Paz Bolivia
Phone: 591 2 2004492 – 591 2 2004491
Institutional web-site: http://www.aru.org.bo
Contact person:

  • Paul Mauricio Villarroel Via, Director Ejecutivo
  • Santiago Tommy Tapia Caspa, Oficial de Administración

Contact e-mail: pvillarroel@aru.org.bo , administracion@aru.org.bo
Description:
The ARU Foundation is an independent, plural public policy research institute that promotes and produces applied research of high quality to inform and orient the debate about public policies in Bolivia.