Bolivia and Paraguay will install on Wednesday, in La Paz, the first binational cabinet to deal with the Bi-oceanic train project and the waterway Paraná-Paraguay, as well as defence and security issues. It is a public and private mission. “We are in a new phase of a fruitful and positive relationship with Bolivia and this relationship have to take advantage of our peoples, so we are here,” said Paraguay’s Foreign Minister, Luis A. Castiglioni.
Bolivia’s Central Bank warned that the global uncertainty provoked by US-China trade war will impact on the prices of raw material in Latin America. One of the most impacted commodities by the US-China trade conflict has been the soybean, which has seen a sharp drop in price to $290 per tonne, one of the lowest levels in recent years.
Bolivia’s external debt dropped to 23.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by April this year, announced the Economy Ministry. By the end of 2018, Bolivia’s external debt represented 25.1% of its GDP. The total amount of the debt grew from $4.9 billion in 2005 to $10.3 billion by the end of April 2019. In the same period, Bolivia’s GDB grew from $9.6 billion to $40.6 billion.
Google’s blocking of Huawei has impacted the sales of the Chinese mobile device in La Paz. Local vendors in La Paz said that the actions of Google have translated in a fall in sales of Chinese brands Huawei and “Honor”.
Standard & Poor’s projected Bolivia’s economic growth by 4% for the period 2019-2022. The rating agency also kept Bolivia’s qualification in BB- with a stable outlook in a complex international economic environment where countries like Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Argentina have seen their risk rate decreasing in the last six months. S&P economic projections for Bolivia coincide with those of other international organisations such as the IMF (4%), ECLAC (4.3%) and the World Bank (4%).
Bolivia has launched a cloud computing system called “Sovereign Cloud” with the aim of achieving technological sovereignty, announced the Ministry of Public Works. The project, similar to systems such as Dropbox or Google Drive, will allow state and private institutions to safely storage information on the internet. The system is already available and the government now is promoting it so private and state institutions can use it, said Public Works Minister, Oscar Coca.
The project to export electricity to Argentina will not begin on 25 May, as it was programmed, and it could be delayed until 2020, said the Argentinian Ambassador in Bolivia, Normando Alvarez. Bolivian state electricity company ENDE is building a transmission cable to export electricity to the north of Argentina, however bureaucratic procedures in both countries have delayed the project.
Although Bolivia is one of the countries with the highest economic growth in Latin America, still remains as one of the poorest in the region, said independent UN expert, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky. He added that the current model based on what is called “extractivism” or the extraction of natural resources, is not sustainable in the long term. He warned that “growing challenges” are coming and the government should diversify the economy and invest more in science and technology.
Bolivian state sugar company San Buenaventura (EASBA) is looking for markets to export a 130,000 quintals-surplus of sugar and one potential buyer is Belgium. EASBA’s CEO, Ramiro Masanto, said that the company is currently negotiation with Belgian’s businessmen to export the sugar surplus production. He added that the company estimates to be able to export sugar by July or August.
Bolivia announced the execution of China Railway Construction’s warranty deposit for the construction of the Rorrenabaque-Riberalta highway. Public Works Minister, Oscar Coca, said that the project is delayed, which is a “serious problem”. The Chinese corporation has been repeatedly accused of violating labour rights in Bolivia and had to face protests and strikes that have impacted the building of the highway.