GARCÍA LINERA: This is the ideal scenario because one of the
limitations for foreign investment in Bolivia the lack of access
to the sea. As of now, we are using the proximity to Brazil and
Argentina for the sale of gas, which is a great advantage.
We are working on making Bolivia run only on renewable
energy. Thus, all the energy produced by hydroelectric or thermoelectric means is left for export.
Currently, Bolivia produces 60 million cubic meters of gas
per day, of which the domestic market consumes 12. This leaves
48 million cubic meters of gas for export, and this number is
expected to increase in the coming years. Companies that deliver
gas for electricity also receive the export price, as this gas will
be sold in the form of electricity to Peru, Brazil, and
Argentina has resources, but it also needs energy and Brazil
needs 2,000 megawatts each year. Thus, Bolivia has invested in
a large-capacity power plant to convert gas into electricity.
Even with these measures, we are not reaching our full potential, so we are exploring the feasibility of freezing the gas
and send it to other countries. At the moment we are working
on agreements with Peru to gain access to the sea, not only to
export frozen gas, but also to serve as a connection between
Brazil and China.
Nowadays, Brazil exports to China about $70 billion per year
in goods, and imports $40 billion per year. Our plan is to build
a railway with European or Chinese investment that connects
Brazil to a Peruvian port, forming a corridor that allows for the
free movement of these goods. Once this corridor is done, the
next step would be to export the frozen gas through it, solving
the landlocked issue.
All these mega projects that Bolivia is working require
a high level of technology and human capital with such
knowledge. What is Bolivia doing to ensure this human
capital in the country?
GARCÍA LINERA: We have started from the basics to deal with
this need. After Cuba, we are the country in Latin America that
invests more in education. We invest 13% of the state budget
in education versus 6% in the rest of the continent. The results
have begun to appear, but we still have a way to go. For now,
we are absorbing knowledge abroad as fast as possible.
We have a free project for masters and doctorates abroad
with the agreement of satisfactory results and to work for the
country for four to six years. This way we increase the technical
education of the population. We have followed the footsteps of
other countries such as India and Ecuador, by sending young
people abroad to learn and then apply their knowledge in the
country. We know this is a long-term investment, but eventually
this will generate an added value to the resources of Bolivia.