South America, water projects

A Long Time Coming: Coastal Access for Bolivia

3 Comments 04 April 2011

A Long Time Coming: Coastal Access for Bolivia

The War of the Pacific between Bolivia and Peru in the late 19th century led to major geopolitical, diplomatic, and economic restructuring that still negatively affects the region today.

In the early 1880s, Chile annexed the Peruvian province of Tarapacá and the Bolivian province of Litoral, both substantially mineral-rich territories. Bolivia was stripped of coastal access to the Pacific Ocean and became a landlocked country.

Since the 1884 Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Chile, Bolivian politicians including President Evo Morales, have consistently sought to reclaim access to the Pacific coastline in order to promote economic development and increase Bolivia’s international trade.

Recently, recovering maritime rights in Bolivia has made some headway. Last October, Peru granted La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia, access to a three-mile long strip of land, south of Peru’s Port of Ilo and 100 miles north of Tacna, a Peruvian city close to the northern Chilean border.

The agreement, called the Boliviamar secures a 99-year lease of the Port of Ilo and for a free-trade zone, which includes exemptions in the areas of customs duties, taxes, and labor law for Bolivia.

Bolivian President Evo Morales insisted this pact was an opportunity to open the intercontinental door to Bolivians. “The sea is for world trade, the sea is so that the products of our peoples can circulate and have access to these ports.”

The Boliviamar also requires construction of 245 miles of highway to connect Bolivia with the port facilities in southern Peru. According to Viviana Caro, the Bolivian Minister for Planning and Development, this will reduce goods transport from Bolivia into important Asian markets by some 40 per cent.

The Bolivian government also intends to invest $400 million in the development of the Port of Ilo to facilitate the import and export of goods, and to promote tourism.

Bolivia’s free access to its own international port is more than a mere diplomatic break-through. It represents a unique opportunity to boost Bolivia’s economy in several ways. Increased exports in Bolivian goods will generate more revenue for the country and strengthen its competitiveness on the global market.

Sustaining Bolivia’s economic development at a local and international level requires the cultivation of the country’s natural resources, including oil, gas, and other minerals. Trading these goods with neighboring countries and other entities will revolutionize marine trade in the region.

Providing marine access to Bolivia and developing its marine trade will promote economic growth and decrease rates of poverty by providing new employment opportunities for local residents. Marine trade will ultimately generate income for local artisans, farmers, and other small business owners who depend on mercantile trade for survival.

President Evo Morales stated, “Ninety-nine years, that gives us confidence to make significant investments in the Port of Ilo,” as the country seeks to encourage private companies to financially support that effort.”

By reducing duty payments to Chile, increasing exports, developing the tourism industry, and creating new jobs for Bolivians, coastal access will dramatically improve the lives of Bolivians and the economy of Bolivia.

Submitted by Guest Writer: Alice Jobard

The photo above is a picture of the Port of Ilo in Peru, taken by Bruno Moretti

If you enjoyed this article, you should also read:

Water Celebrity of the Week: Alicia Keys

A Long Time Coming: Coastal Access in Bolivia

Using Flickr to Save the World

Water for Steamy Hot Cocoa: Hot or Not?

Style Your Kitchen and Bath Sustainably



WaterWideWeb - who has written 108 posts on

Contact the author

Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Simon Bolivar says:

    This is a great idea that hopefully will help Bolivia in its long struggle to develop economically. Smart article and beautiful photo!

Share your view

Post a comment



© 2011 Powered by WaterWideWeb.