Departments of La Paz, Chuquisaca and Oruro


Bolivia has more than 10 million inhabitants, 65% of which live in urban areas. Since 1994, the Bolivian government has been decentralizing power, giving more importance to local authorities. The change is not yet complete and there is still a clear need to reinforce the decision-making process. Even if the country has tripled public spending in ten years, social and economic inequalities remain persistent. One fifth of the population still lives in extreme poverty.

Bolivia’s main handicaps are structural, but thanks to the country’s economic development, the manufacturing sector is now in second position for the first time in Bolivia’s history. This places the manufacturing sector behind the hydrocarbons sector and ahead of the mining sector.

According to the IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute), Bolivia is among the 43 countries whose GHI (Global Hunger Index) has significantly dropped.

Indicators Bolivie Belgium
Population (thousands) 10 631 486 11 203 992
Surface area (km²) 1 098 581 30 528
Density (people/km2) 9,68 367
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births) 38,61 4,18
Life expectancy (in years) 69 81
Human Development Index (HDI) out of 100 66,7 88,1
Number of doctors (per 1,000 people) 1,2 4,2
Literacy rate (%) 90 99
GDP per capita (PPP – $) 5 928 40 760

Food and Economic Security

securite_red_rondBolivia began a major transformation of its economic system in 2006 by implementing a regulatory process for the country’s finances. But this was not enough to ensure company competitiveness, both nationally and regionally. The project has not generated substantial economic growth either; this would have produced fairer income distribution and better living conditions for the population. Nevertheless, some niche markets, such as the quinoa production sector, are thriving thanks to high prices in the global market.

The program implemented by Louvain Coopération aims to extend quinoa production and to increase yields through innovative techniques. Field staff also improves the storage, collection and commercialization capabilities of producers in local and national markets. The farmers receive assistance during the whole production process and thus benefit from better management and technical support adapted to their needs.

Key figures
  • • Strengthening capabilities for quinoa production (availability and access), consumption (use) and marketing (sustainability)
  • • 126 Rural Production Units (RPU) have benefited from more than 300 Economic Development Services in three years and their income has increased by 12%. These services were provided by local business advice offices
  • • 7 documents presenting processes and experiences related to quinoa, the environment and rural entrepreneurship were published
Partners in the South
  • Aprosar
  • Esperanza


soin_red_rondIn Bolivia, the urban zones in the Oruro and La Paz departments are among the poorest of the country. Crisis in the mining and agricultural sector triggered a heavy flow of migration to El Alto. El Alto is a city next to La Paz which now has more than 900,000 inhabitants, and whose demographic growth index is the highest in South America, at more than 9% a year. The city’s family violence index is also one of the highest in the country and psychological problems are constantly on the rise. Healthcare services are however limited and staff lack skill and motivation.

In order to fight poverty, Louvain Coopération ensures prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and mental health troubles. To achieve this efficiently, it is necessary to strengthen capabilities in the public health and education sectors through medical training. The NGO also works to enhance the quality of healthcare and social structures for better treatment and follow up of patients. Louvain Coopération makes an effort to involve individuals and communities in the process as much as possible, and to include public institutions in prevention and awareness activities, so that they can take the lead.

Key figures
  • Five municipalities now have a yearly funded operational plan for medical care.
  • 180 communities have local development plans
  • Maternal mortality rates have dropped by 20% in the NGO’s working zones
  • There were 202,206 mother and child consultations in 2013, compared to 74,358 in 2010
Partners in the South
  • Aprosar
  • CIES