LA PAZ – Bolivia received nearly $1.1 billion in remittances last year, more than twice the $507 in foreign direct investment going to the Andean nation, an economist with the Inter-American Development Bank said on Monday.
The IDB’s Omar Zambrano said that money sent home by emigrants now represents between 5 percent and 9 percent of Bolivia’s gross domestic product.
He told ATB television that according to IDB forecasts, Bolivia will see a drop in remittances in 2009, the first such decline this decade, due to recession in the United States and Europe.
Nearly half of Bolivian remittances come from Spain and other European countries, Zambrano said, while the rest originate in the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
He said that Bolivia is less vulnerable to the fall in remittances than countries such as El Salvador, where money sent home by expats amounts to 12 percent of more of GDP.
Zambrano said the decline in remittances will hurt the roughly 60 percent of Bolivia’s 10 million people who are living below the poverty line. EFE