Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1997-1998 is the fiftieth edition in this series. To mark this milestone, a special chapter has been included in this edition which traces the history of the publication and outlines the way in which the economic situation in the region has been viewed during each of the periods examined. Once again, the Survey has been published as a single volume consisting of three parts. Part 1 contains an overview of the economy in 1997 and the first half of 1998. Part 2 presents reports on the 20 countries of Latin American and on the situation in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. Part 3 reviews the 50 years of the Survey.




With inflation at its lowest level since 1975 (6.7%), the growth rate of the Bolivian economy exceeded 4% in 1997, but the external and fiscal deficits, mostly financed with external resources, widened considerably. Monetary and fiscal policy remained subordinate to the priority objective of consolidating macroeconomic stability. Supported by the flow of foreign capital, investment was as high as 19% of GDP, an increase linked to the privatization (capitalization) of public enterprises, thereby giving effect to one of the main goals of the outgoing Government. In accordance with the agreement on heavily indebted poor countries concluded with multilateral financing organizations, Bolivia's external debt was reduced by more than US$ 500 million over a period of 10 years. This debt reduction entails a commitment by the State to expand considerably its investments in education and health.


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