By Luis Carlos Jemio (auth.)
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Additional info for Debt, Crisis and Reform in Bolivia: Biting the Bullet
Natural gas alone represented 39 per cent of total exports. During the 1990s, non-traditional exports picked up and reduced the importance of mining and hydrocarbon exports. Bolivia is therefore largely a primary quasi-mono-product commodity exporter. This factor makes the economy extremely vulnerable to international market fluctuations. The importance of the external sector was augmented during the 1980s by the increased significance of illegal coca export revenues, estimated at US$ 115 million and US$600 million in 1978 and 1986, respectively (INE 1990).
By 1986, although government participation in GDP had reduced to 19 per cent, in investment to 50 per cent, and in gross savings to 36 per cent, the level of public sector involvement in economic activity is still one of the highest in Latin America. Some of the reforms implemented during the 1990s, (such as the capitalization and privatization of the public enterprises) have considerably reduced the public sector's involvement in activities that produce goods and services; the public sector, however, accounted for 50 per cent of total investment in 1995.
Other authors (Vos, Lee and Mejia, 1998) argue that Bolivia's initial conditions do not seem to provide the best prospects for a smooth transition towards the creation of a 'virtuous cycle' of growth, employment creation, and poverty reduction. Firstly, its export orientation shows heavy reliance on primary commodities (agriculture and mining), most of which is produced with low labour intensity. The collapse of world markets of minerals (tin in particular) led to a decline in one part of export sector, while expansion of agricultural export production in Santa Cruz area (soya, in particular) also mainly applies large scale technologies.
Debt, Crisis and Reform in Bolivia: Biting the Bullet by Luis Carlos Jemio (auth.)