The boliviano, also denoted by BOB, is the official currency used in Bolivia. The currency is divided into 100 subunits, named centavos. In circulation are coins of denominations 1, 2, and 5 bolivianos, and banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 bolivianos. Before the boliviano was introduced in 1990, the nation's official currency was the Bolivian peso (BOP), which, after a period of significant inflation, was converted to bolivianos at a ratio of one million to one. An older boliviano existed before the peso, but because it was replaced by the BOP in 1963, there is rarely any confusion regarding the two versions.
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What does it look like?
The Republic of Bolivia is divided into nine departments, and the government consists of three main branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial branch. The President and the Vice President lead the executive branch, and the cabinet is appointed by the President from a panel of candidates selected by the Senate. The legislature is a bicameral National Congress consisting of a 27-member Chamber of Senators and a 130-member Chamber of Deputies. The judiciary is the Supreme Court on which judges, appointed by the National Congress, serve ten-year terms.
- Prominent Figures: The President of Bolivia is Juan Evo Morales.
Key Economic Factors Economic Overview
Bolivia has been economically unstable for many years. In 1982, in an effort to re-gain economic stability, Bolivia attempted to decrease inflation rates by implementing free market and free trade. Bolivia signed a free trade agreement with Mexico, and become a member of Mercosur, a Latin American Trade Organization. They have also privatized state airlines, telephone companies, railroads, electric companies, and oil companies. All these factors helped to expand Bolivia's economy throughout the 1990s. However, political instability and Bolivia's lack of natural resources are still a source of major volatility. Bolivia's extensive unemployment issues result in poor domestic activity and, in turn, cause decreases in gross domestic product rates. Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America and it is often predicted that without foreign aid, Bolivia will unlikely solve its economic problems.
Bolivia has large reserves of oil and natural gas, and has much hydroelectric potential, however, it has always been underemployed. Many of Bolivia's citizens make their living by growing coco, the source of cocaine. Government eradication of coco led to economic depressions in areas where the substance was grown. Bolivia trades mainly with the United States, Japan, the UK, and Brazil.