Canada Helps Bolivians Benefit from their Oil and Gas Resources

Through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and with the assistance of the Canadian Revenue Agency, Canada has been helping Bolivia to increase its tax revenues from oil and gas exploration and, more generally, to consolidate good governance practices, reform public-sector institutions, establish better regulations in strategic economic sectors, and reduce poverty.

The oil and gas (hydrocarbon) industry is a key driver of Bolivia's economy, accounting for more than 50 percent of the government's annual revenues and the country's exports.

Through Canada’s support, Bolivian government agencies have received training and technical assistance to monitor and manage the petroleum industry. This includes support to establish regulatory agencies, operational guidelines, national legislation and environmental standards. Having internationally accepted procedures and standards has led to increased hydrocarbon production and export.

"Canadian advisors helped Bolivia implement a regulatory framework and laws that led to huge investments in large-scale exploration and development,".

– Industry expert Tony Galisheff

A specialized unit to collect and manage taxes paid by the oil and gas companies was established within the Bolivian Revenue Agency, modelled on the Canadian Revenue Agency. As a result, the Bolivian government’s revenues from the hydrocarbon sector increased from $548.5 million to $2.19 billion between 2004 and 2010, helping the government finance its own poverty reduction programs and improve the oil and gas sector’s financial transparency.

Canada’s support has also helped open the door for women professionals to enter the petroleum industry.  Through high school career-orientation programs and university internships, women are breaking down barriers that used to limit their access to jobs:

When Martha Saucedo left high school in La Paz, no one thought she could become a petroleum engineer. "My father asked why I'd go into a man's career, instead of some job like teaching that women can do," she says. "And oil companies didn't think women could handle the tough field conditions." But after a one-year internship funded by CIDA, Martha is now monitoring operations in Bolivia's oil fields as a full-time employee in the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy and mentoring other young women eager to get into the field.