By George Porter, Knowledge Manager
Following the resolution of the political crisis of 2019 and the challenge of the pandemic, Bolivia has re-emerged as an increasingly attractive destination for investment. With its vast reserves of silver, copper, and most importantly lithium, alongside a new approach to international investment signalled by the ruling MAS party, there is growing interest in the country.
There has been a concerted effort to improve access to company data in Bolivia in recent years. The Open Company Data Index ranks Bolivia poorly based on its 2014 registry. The system in place then only allowed a basic online search that could confirm if a company was registered under a certain name and if it was active. However, since April 2022, the SEPREC system has increased access for Bolivian citizens to company information (a digital citizens ID is required to access full details). This, in addition to the Electronic Gazette system, allows access to company annual reports, shareholding information and registration details of companies registered in Bolivia.
Bolivia has a searchable online register for its agrarian courts with relatively comprehensive options for searching by party name or case number. The Supreme Court site also provides several options for searching for previous rulings and jurisprudence.
Compared to similar countries in the region, these options are easy to use and provide a wealth of information, but do not provide a comprehensive view of all case types and court levels. Some provincial courts are still fully offline and other regional courts, such as the magistrate councils or appellate courts, have sites that are not always fully functional.
In the event a full litigation check on an individual entity is required, working with local legal professionals will ensure all possible court records are checked.
Reporters without Borders has noted the surge in anti-press attacks in Bolivia that accompanied the political crisis of 2019. While the situation has calmed significantly since then, and direct attacks on journalists have reduced, Bolivia remains ranked 126th of 180 evaluated countries in the World Press Freedom Index. Journalists in the country are often caught between state-owned or state-influenced media, which are often intolerant of criticism, and highly concentrated privately owned media sources. Bolivia remains a dangerous place to be a journalist and organisations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have been closely monitoring media freedoms.
This is likely to impact the quality and availability of human sources willing to talk on the record during any investigative process, though guaranteeing anonymity during human source enquiries may go some way towards mitigating this. The quality of media sources that may be analysed during the course of an investigation is also likely to be impacted, and when investigating it is best practice to consult experienced local investigators able to identify any potential implicit or explicit censorship.
While the offline nature of Bolivia’s company and litigation record keeping systems can make it difficult to access information, working with the right people with the right skills and local knowledge will help overcome these challenges. The GTI platform is the simplest way to access hard-to-get information. With a network of 1500+ intelligence sources, we connect you with a community of on-the-ground experts to navigate the complexities of due diligence in Bolivia and beyond.