Bolivia has been one of Germany’s key partners in the context of its international cooperation for four decades. GIZ has maintained an office in La Paz since 1995 and currently has 13 seconded and around 160 national personnel, 22 development workers, nine peace experts (CPS) and seven integrated experts (CIM) in Bolivia.
Bolivia is a country of topographical and ethnic diversity, with tropical lowlands and cold, barren highlands and mountain ranges. The northern lowlands are humid, whereas the south of the country has a semi-arid to arid climate, with very short and irregular periods of rainfall in some parts of this region. According to the 2012 census, Bolivia – which is around three times larger than Germany – has a population of around 10 million. 41 per cent of Bolivians identify themselves as indigenous. In total, Bolivia has 36 different ethnic groups, but most of the country’s indigenous people belong to the Quechua and Aymara communities. Bolivia is the third poorest country in Latin America after Haiti and Paraguay, and despite some improvements in recent years, more than 50 per cent of its people are still classed as poor.
In the mid 1980s, after decades of military dictatorship, Bolivia began to privatise its state-owned enterprises and initiate reforms, with a focus on citizen participation and decentralisation of governance in the education, health and justice systems. The country’s first national poverty reduction strategy was formulated in dialogue with the Bolivian people.
From 2006, however, the privatisation trend was reversed. In January 2006, following a landslide victory for his Movement towards Socialism in early parliamentary elections, Evo Morales became Bolivia’s first indigenous President. He is seeking to introduce sweeping economic and political change geared to the interests of the indigenous rural and mainly unionised majority population, and is thus charting a new course for this country. A firm advocate of the concept of Vivir bien (Living well), Evo Morales has introduced various social welfare programmes which provide grants for school students and direct payments to pregnant women, new mothers and senior citizens as a means of promoting income redistribution within society. In January 2009, Bolivia adopted a new constitution, which places emphasis on the values of liberty, independence, self-determination, democracy, equality of opportunity, decentralisation and autonomy in this country, now renamed ‘the Plurinational State of Bolivia’.
GIZ cooperates with various governmental and non-governmental partners at national, regional and municipal level. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and together with the German development bank KfW, GIZ focuses on the following three priority areas:
- sustainable agricultural development
- water and sanitation
- governance and democracy
GIZ also supports projects on renewable energies, judicial reform and law-making, indigenous intercultural education, combating violence against women, and conflict monitoring and resolution. Gender equality and advisory services tailored to the multiethnic context are important cross-cutting topics in GIZ’s activities.
Projects and Programmes
Security, reconstruction and peace
Governance and democracy
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