RELEASE DATE: 01 Aug, 2011


Bolivian Express: a culture vulture magazine? Sure, we do have a penchant for the arts. But the arts are also part of a wider industry: the exportable produce or wares of a country. The goods Bolivia produces, as compared to those it imports, are indicators of its stage of economic well-being and development. So how is Bolivian production faring, is Bolivia working hard? To start with, lets look at some back- ground statistics.

Bolivia has been through some tough times. The aftermath of the 1980s crisis left the country among the poorest nations of Latin America, and when people speak of the Bolivian economy it is this predicament that is highlighted. Poverty is staggering: the latest data from the World Bank has 60% of the population at the national poverty line, and unlike its South American neighbours, Peru; Argentina; Chile and Brazil, who rank within the top hundred nations for GDP (IMF 2009), Bolivia remains at position 127. That’s one place above the Sudan.

However, despite these crippling features, there are many reasons to be positive about the state of Bolivian industry and economy. In 2009, UNESCO declared Bolivia free of illiteracy, which is sure to have a healthy impact on the future productivity of the country. But most astounding are Bolivia’s recent growth and employment indicators. External debt is going down, private trade going up. Best of all: unemployment in Bolivia was at 5.2% in 2007. It beats both the USA and the UK. Bolivians may be poor, but they are working pretty damn hard. So, what are they getting up to in their working hours?

It would be easy to talk about agriculture and natural gas, the big winners for the Bolivian economy. But we hear enough about them. This month, we speak not of the industry of Bolivia, but of industrious Bolivia: a nation of enterprising and resourceful hard-workers. Thus we seek out an eclectic collection of local products and their dynamic creators, examining a range of companies and artifacts that range from the commercial to artistic, bacchanalian and coca-flavoured. Just like Bolivian Express, all our special features this month are sealed with a proud stamp: made in Bolivia.



07 Oct, 2011 | Robbie Macdonald

The people’s beer Paceña is the top brand in Bolivia. The red, white and gold logo can be seen nearly everywhere you look. In addition to the everyday press, an enthusiastic marketing team oversees...

Things you didn't know about coca

07 Oct, 2011 | Maeva Gonzalez

The coca leaf, discovered 3000 years ago by the Incas, is still cause for both pride and controversy. Eduardo Lopez Zavala, the director of the movie Inal Mama (see BX Issue 6) understands it as a s...

Networking Bolivia

22 Sep, 2011 | Robbie Macdonald

So you have your product. It’s going to be the next big thing for sure, but how do you get people to buy it? Welcome to the world of marketing. It may be something you associate with New York or Bueno...

True Bolivianite: The Story of Ametrine

31 Aug, 2011 | Matthew Grace

To reach the AnahI mine, one must trace the gems’ voyage in reverse, up the Paraguay River from Puerto Quijarro, a small, dusty town in the extreme east of Bolivia Ametrine, a purple-and-yellow blen...


22 Sep, 2011 | Maeva Gonzalez

At Altitude My fashion journey took me from the heights of El Alto in La Paz to the lively and hot city of Santa Cruz. Bolivia has many resources in alpaca and leather that make designs of great qua...

Project Durazno

22 Sep, 2011 | Xenia Elsaesser

Independent cinema has a hard time of it in the richest of countries, and in Bolivia it is no easier.Filmmakers must campaign for funds to finance their projects and expect little profit: here the dif...

Living the death road. Part 3

07 Oct, 2011 | Ivan Rodriguez P.

At the end of the Death Road awaits….La Senda Verde After your white-knuckled ride down The World’s Most Dangerous Road you are welcomed into a slice of heaven, a place otherwise known as La Senda V...