RELEASE DATE: 30 May, 2020

EDITORIAL BY Caroline Risacher

Our Cover: Ivan Rodriguez P.

As we settle into new dynamics and learn to adjust to a new reality which is beyond our control it can be hard to see what opportunities lie out there. We are all on some level affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic. Like most businesses, Bolivian Express has had to retreat to an exclusively online platform with the addition of weekly online talks where Bolivian commentators discuss relevant issues and try to make sense of what the world is becoming.

Bolivia’s economic growth is estimated to fall by about three percent in 2020 instead of the 2,8 percent planned growth announced at the beginning of the year. Vulnerable populations will be affected heavily by the recession and businesses who rely on tourists or in-person transactions will take months if not years to recover. It’s a bleak panorama but if there is one positive side it is the opportunity for Bolivia to make up for its lack in digitalisation and innovation.

Now, thanks to an app on your phone, you can get food delivered from most restaurants and coffee shops, order medicine from pharmacies and groceries from your favourite shop. You can look for housing and buy clothes from home, and you can do most of your business transactions online. In Bolivia, this wouldn’t have been possible five years ago, or at least not as easily. The quarantine will undoubtedly speed up this process and push entrepreneurs to innovate in digital areas, finding new ways to survive and help businesses stay alive when we are all staying home.

But, even if these enterprises are welcome and necessary in the current context, it will only deepen the gap between those who have smartphones and internet connections and those who don’t. Internet connectivity has greatly improved in the past decade but still represents a considerable cost in families budgets and should not be taken for granted. If changes are coming and Bolivia is transforming, let’s make sure that we can include everyone in the process and that no one is left behind.



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