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FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2022, FDI inflows increased from USD -1.1 billion in 2020 (due to the pandemic, political uncertainty in an election year, and commodity prices) to USD 594 million in 2021. Furthermore, the stock of FDI was estimated at USD 10.7 billion in 2021. The country's many natural resources offer investment opportunities (hydrocarbons, mining sector), as do the transport and communications sectors. Bolivia’s wealth of natural resources attracts significant investment, particularly  from both Russia and China (the country has the continent's second largest gas reserve and the world's largest lithium reserve). Lately, the majority of significant foreign projects in Bolivia have come from China. In early 2023, a consortium led by the Chinese Contemporary Amperex Technology signed an agreement with the government to invest more than USD 1 billion in infrastructure construction the mining, refining, processing, and sale of lithium.

Even though the Bolivian government states that it would like to attract more FDI, it has done little to do so. One of the most significant policies established in order to attract investment was the enactment of an investment law in 2014, which says that each Ministry will provide incentives for sector-specific investment, stipulates that the government can encourage investment in certain sectors that contribute to the economic and social development of the country, and specifically aims to promote investments in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. Since then, no major laws, regulations, or judicial decisions impacting foreign investment came out. Additionally, the government declared that it is working to create an investment promotion agency. Still, even without significant policies to attract FDI, Bolivia’s macroeconomic stability, abundant natural resources, and strategic location in the heart of South America make it an attractive country for investors. However, a key reason for the low level of foreign investment is the current government’s restrictions and bias against foreign investors, which have harmed the country’s attractiveness. The instability of the legal framework, corruption, the weakness of the rule of law and the prohibition to resort to international arbitration are elements which continue to affect the business environment. But, since many investors see Bolivia as a difficult country to invest in and chose to spend their money elsewhere, competition is significantly reduced, making it easier for those who chose to invest there to make a success of their venture.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Bolivia Latin America & Caribbean Estados Unidos Alemanha
Index of Transaction Transparency* 1.0 4.1 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 6.7 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) -1,129584-26
FDI Stock (million USD) 10,276.310,585.510,131.0
Number of Greenfield Investments*
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 31222472

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.


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Tax Rates

Value added tax (VAT) - Impuesto al valor agregado (IVA)
13% (standard rate - however, the effective rate is 14.94% as VAT must be included in the sales price).
Exports are zero-rated.
Exempt items include: goods imported by members of diplomatic corps recognized in Bolivia; “Bona fide” introduced merchandise, up to a limit of USD1,000; life insurance quotas (monthly payments with respect to a life insurance contract); for securities registered on the Bolivian Stock Exchange, capital gains generated by sales, results derived from the valuation processes determined by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Bolivia (Autoridad de Supervisión del Sistema Financiero, or ASFI) and results generated in the application of generally accepted accounting principles; transfers of goods or assets subject to the securitization process (titularización) administered by the securitization association, at the beginning and end of the process (under this process, the goods must be transferred to an independent fund [patrimonio autonomo] and, when the process is completed, the goods are returned to the original owner); operations regarding sales or transfers of portfolios (financial intermediation, insurance and pension); interest from loans received by financial entities; inbound tourism and lodging services for foreign tourists without a residence or address in Bolivia; artistic events focused on production, presentation and promotion of theater, dancing, national folklore, painting, sculpture and movies of Bolivian artists, if they are sponsored or developed in locations in Bolivia that are managed or owned by a municipal government or the Bolivian government; sale of books printed in Bolivia or those imported by or published by Bolivian institutions.
Company Tax
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0 (resident)/12.5% (non-resident), Interest: 0 (resident)/12.5% (non-resident), Royalties: 0 (resident)/12.5% (non-resident).
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
14.71% of gross salary (16.71% for the mining sector). The employer also must contribute 2% to the National Housing Fund.
Other Domestic Resources
Bolivian Taxation Authority
Overview of Bolivia's tax measures in response to Covid-19
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Individual Taxes

Personal income tax
13% (12.5% effective tax rate for individuals engaged in a profession or business activity)

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Bolivia Latin America & Caribbean Estados Unidos Alemanha
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 42.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 1,025.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 83.7 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Inter-American Development Bank, Tenders in South America
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Bolivia.
Useful Resources
Export Development and Investment Promotion in Bolivia

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Bolivia Latin America & Caribbean
Procedures (number) 12.00 8.00
Time (days) 39.50 25.22

Source: Doing Business.


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Latest Update: November 2023