| By Hinojosa, L.; Chumacero, J.P.; Cortez, G. y Bebbington, A. | Published in De Yucatán a Chiloé: Dinámicas territoriales rurales en América Latina. Edited by J. Berdegué y F. Modrego. Buenos Aires: Editorial Teseo. |
Abstract: How is rural development achieved in contexts where the national development strategy is dominated by the extraction of natural resources? Based on research in Southern Bolivia, this chapter argues that rural development has been possible through a deliberated policy and institutional arrangements to facilitate the expansion of foreign investments in the gas industry; these have impacted the relationships between state and companies and the formation of territorial projects. The aforementioned strategy has produced economic progress and poverty reduction at regional and local scales under the following conditions: (1) a significant transfer of financial resources to regional and local levels of government; (2) an articulated public policy that combines investments in infrastructure and social policies; (3) the ability of local leaders and organizations to negotiated the orientation of public investment and expenditure; (4) a regional level of government capable of distributing public resources among areas with different resource endowments. Additionally, the strategy has been environmentally-sustainable due to the minor changes that the gas industry and the increase of public infrastructure have caused in the rural territories. However, the overstated popular perception of environmental change, the unequal distribution of benefits and the political confrontation for gas rents between intra-regional territories — groups within each territory — and regions at national level have reduced the potential of the gas industry to generate rural development.