LA PAZ – President Evo Morales said on Monday that Bolivia’s economic progress in his 12 years in power has made it Latin America’s fastest-growing nation, with estimated 4.2 percent growth last year.
Morales began his state of the union address to Parliament with a review of Bolivia’s economic evolution since his 2005 election victory.
He emphasized that Bolivia ended 2017 with an estimated growth rate of 4.2 percent, above the predictions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, while none of the rest of the region’s countries reached 4 percent.
The Bolivian leader argued that domestic demand led to that growth rate amid an unfavorable external situation, and he stressed that the country has the region’s highest public investment at 12.6 percent of GDP, above Peru’s level of 8.5 percent.
In that regard, he hailed the fact that Bolivia’s GDP per capita has broken records and now stands at $3,393, as per the 2017 figure.
He also said that the country won the “battle” against inflation last year, estimated at 2.7 percent and one of the lowest in South America, far beneath neighboring Argentina with 24.8 percent, despite the fact that when he took office it was predicted that inflation would be his “downfall.”
In addition, he said that Bolivia’s foreign debt of 25.6 percent of GDP contrasts very favorably to the 74.8 percent it stood at in 2005, meaning that the country can borrow more, if needed.
Morales also praised Spain and Japan for having forgiven Bolivia’s debt to them in 2006 and yet continuing to make loans to La Paz.
“We have transformed the country,” he said, going on to note other economic figures from his 12 years in power, including reducing extreme poverty from 32.2 percent of the population to 17.9 percent.