Human Capital Investment in SomaliaSomalia is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. UNICEF estimates that 43 percent of the Somali population live on less than a dollar a day, while around half of the labor force is unemployed. Social unrest caused by a long civil war, coupled with weak institutions have contributed to devastatingly high levels of poverty in the region. One especially prominent effect of this has been the incredibly weak education system in Somalia. Only half of the Somali population is literate and in 2016, only 32 percent of Somali children were enrolled in school. This has undermined much of the government’s attempts to build successful anti-poverty initiatives, as economic development requires substantial improvements in the human capital development of Somalia.

Partnership with the World Bank

Somalia had previously been unable to attain a partnership with the World Bank, due to high levels of debt carrying over from previous World Bank loans. However, the ambitious economic reforms of the new Somali government which was established in 2012, offer hope for improvement, culminating in the new Country Partnership Framework established by the World Bank in 2018. The World Bank has dedicated its resources to aiding the Somali government in developing stronger institutions and economic growth, in line with the government’s National Development plan. As a result of the new partnership, the World Bank now accounts for 15 percent of total financing (around $28.5 million) for Technical and Vocational Education and Training programs in Somalia.

Human Capital Investments

These investments play a significant role in human capital development, as they offer an opportunity for Somalia to diversify its economy and offer the potential for granting individuals access to sustainable long-term income. This is especially true of the role that education plays, as creating a more educated population can be vital to ensuring continued economic growth, reducing the overall reliance on foreign aid. Improvements in human capital have the potential for massive returns. The World Bank estimates that human capital growth can produce a 10 to 30 percent increase in per-capita GDP, providing economic resilience, as well as developing the tools necessary to help lift a country out of poverty. 

Such programs can play a vital role in improving employer confidence and organizing effective human capital advances. While many other reforms may contribute to economic growth, it is important to note that since the World Bank began the partnership in 2018, the country’s GDP has grown by 0.7 percent.

Overall, by securing this partnership with the World Bank, Somalia is working toward major educational reforms to boost human capital development for this and future generations.

– Alexander Sherman
Photo: Flickr

QANDIL's Humanitarian Efforts
Sweden’s renown as a humanitarian superpower stems from its involvement in global aid initiatives. In 2018, the country devoted 1.04 percent of its gross national income (GNI) to overseas development, making Sweden the sixth-largest humanitarian aid contributor among the world’s countries and the largest one proportional to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). From 1975 onward, Sweden’s humanitarian aid efforts have continually surpassed the U.N.’s minimum target of developed nations spending 0.7 percent of GNI on overseas development initiatives.

One of the most well-regarded Sweden-based NGOs is QANDIL. Established in Stockholm in 1991, QANDIL’s initiatives aim to foster lasting peace and development in Iraq. Beneficiaries of its aid range from refugees and returnees to internally displaced persons and local host communities. Since 2016, QANDIL has concentrated its efforts on development in the Kurdistan region, serving as the most prominent partner of UNHCR in this region. Below are seven facts about QANDIL’s humanitarian efforts.

7 Facts About QANDIL’s Humanitarian Efforts

  1. Economic Assistance — Two Cash-Based Intervention projects implemented in 2017 raised $2,695,280 for 3,829 families in need in the Kurdistan region’s Duhok governorate. In Erbil, QANDIL distributed $3,155,800 to 3,054 families in the Erbil governorate, while $648,290 went to 1,900 families in the Sulaymaniyah governorate. Ultimately, QANDIL distributed $6,499,370 to 8,783 refugees and IDP families within three of the Kurdistan region’s governorates. This provides a foundation by which these uprooted people may become economically stable and productive.
  2. Shelter — Through the Shelter Activities Project, QANDIL supported uprooted people in search of shelter, which included 7,246 families. Among QANDIL’s successes in providing shelter-based aid is the implementation of 25 major shelter rehabilitation initiatives, encompassing five camps in the Sulaymaniyah governorate. This helped resolve the long-term problem of incomplete and hazardous structures allotted to displaced persons.
  3. Legal Services — The Outreach Project, operating in the Erbil and Duhok governorates, offers legal services to IDPs and refugees. With the participation of volunteers from both the displaced and host communities, QANDIL’s efforts have granted legal assistance to 319,773 IDPs and refugees and outreach services to 19,894 persons in the Erbil governorate alone. In the Duhok governorate, beneficiaries included 69,093 refugees and IDPs. Furthermore, in 2017, QANDIL participated in an initiative to provide mobile magistrates to administer court-related matters for displaced persons.
  4. Assistance for Gender-Based Violence Victims — With the participation of UNFPA, QANDIL commits resources to finance and submitting reports to seven local NGOs that operate 21 women’s social centers. These centers function in both responsive and preventative capacities for women both within and outside camps. Services that these centers offer include listening, counseling, referrals to other institutions, distribution of hygiene kits and even recreational activities. In total, this program has assisted 67,108 women and girls in the Duhok governorate, 11,021 in the Erbil governorate and 43,797 in the Sulaymaniyah governorate.
  5. Youth Education — Starting in 2017, QANDIL devised an educational initiative targeting Syrian refugee students, funded at approximately $271,197. The soft component of this initiative provided funding and resources for recreational activities and catch-up classes, as well as teacher capacity building training and the maintenance of parent-teacher associations, in schools enrolling refugee students in the Sulaymaniyah governorate. The initiative’s hard component comprises aid for special needs students at seven refugee schools in the Sulaymaniyah governorate.
  6. Skills Training — In collaboration with the German development aid organization GIZ, QANDIL embarked on a vocational and educational initiative aiming to benefit displaced persons residing at Debanga camp. These individuals received access to skills training and qualifications certification, ranging from plumbing and electricity to language and art, in three-week courses offering free tuition. As a whole in 2017, the vocational and educational training centers that QANDIL supported with funding from GIZ have improved the employment prospects for 1,756 individuals, out of which 546 were women.
  7. Immediate Response in Crisis Situations — With an upsurge in regional conflict on Oct. 16, 2017, came an increase in IDPs in Tuz Khurmatu, a city 88 kilometers south of Kirkuk. This event tested the efficacy and efficiency of QANDIL’s humanitarian aid efforts. By Oct. 24, QANDIL’s Emergency Response Committee began dispensing out emergency kits to persons that the conflict escalation affected. Included in these packages were necessities, food and non-food items alike. By Oct. 25, QANDIL parceled out 1,237 emergency kits to aid-seekers distributed over 25 locations in the Sulaymaniyah and Garmian regions. That same day, 600 aid-seekers received aid packages in the Erbil and Koya regions, while the rest of the aid made its way to other camps in the Sulaymaniyah area.

From education to vocational training to sanitation and hygiene and shelter and legal services, QANDIL’s humanitarian efforts in the Kurdistan region of Iraq continue to make a difference for the lives of thousands of displaced and settled people alike. Thus, QANDIL serves as an ambassador for Sweden’s humanitarian aid mission. Whether in the course of sustained initiatives or responses to imminent crises, QANDIL persists in its constructive humanitarian aid role in an unstable region. It is through the tireless efforts of such NGOs as QANDIL that Sweden continues to serve as a model in humanitarian aid initiatives to the rest of the world.

Philip Daniel Glass
Photo: Flickr


Every year Congress must approve the fiscal budget, which includes a request for foreign aid spending from the current Secretary of State. By examining the proposals for foreign aid spending through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2008 to 2020, it highlights the United States’ international goals and concerns. A common thread amongst all three budgets is a concern of national security and instability within foreign nations.

The 2008 Congressional Budget Justification – Secretary Condoleezza Rice

In the 2008 Congressional Budget Justification, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outlined the international concerns of the Bush Administration. As a whole, Secretary Rice requested $36.2 billion in funding from Congress for the 2008 fiscal year, as well as $6 billion in supplemental funding in 2007 for, as she details, additional expenses from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Secretary Rice stated that the overarching goal of this budget for foreign aid spending is to “mobilize our [the U.S.] democratic principles, our diplomacy, our development assistance and our compassion to win what will be a generational struggle.” As a result of this priority, much of the outlined spending in the report focused on the allocation of funds to programs that support democracy-building programs, peacekeeping, diplomacy and child-health programs. The United States, Secretary Rice details, ought to shift from a historically paternalistic relationship towards other nations in the world and, rather, act in partnership with foreign countries in the hope that it can establish positive and lasting change.

The 2016 Congressional Budget Justification – Secretary John Kerry

In the 2016 Congressional Budget Justification, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concerns that were similar to those of Secretary Rice under the Bush Administration. In 2016, the international sphere continued to face uncertainty. He places emphasis on this by asking that Congress “begin by understanding what is at stake – by realizing that our overseas actions, the alliances and partnerships that we form, the cooperation we engender, and the investments we make have a direct bearing on the safety of our citizens and the quality of life enjoyed by our people.” The budget that Secretary Kerry requested $50.3 billion from Congress, a marked increase from the proposal of Secretary Rice in 2008.

Despite a change in the party — from Republican to Democrat — the concerns of each administration are the same. In the 2016 proposed budget for foreign aid spending, Secretary Kerry expresses concern on behalf of the Obama Administration for the stability of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, as well as for the health, education and safety of families around the world. Secretary Kerry asked for the allocation of $7 billion to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which works to establish stable political environments in volatile regions in which the U.S. involves itself. Also included in this budget is $5.6 billion in humanitarian aid for Migration and Refugee Assistance, International Disaster Assistance and food assistance. On a similar note to the 2008 proposal, Secretary Kerry states that “the United States will continue to do its part to ease suffering and prepare the groundwork for recovery.”

The 2020 Congressional Budget Justification – Secretary Michael Pompeo

The 2020 Congressional Budget Justification from Secretary of State Michael Pompeo strikes a different note from the previous two administrations. While a concern towards international security remains, Secretary Pompeo focuses on foreign aid spending with a more exclusionary approach to international relations.

At the start of his proposal, Secretary Pompeo outlines the concerns for international security that lie in the denuclearization of North Korea as well as the “great-power competition against China and Russia.” Secretary Pompeo currently has requested $40 billion in foreign aid spending, a decrease from the amount requested in 2016. He states that the funds will be “to protect our diplomats and our borders, recruit and develop our workforce, and continue to modernize our IT infrastructure.” The funding for democracy strengthening programs as well as health and education in poor nations continues, but a tone of gradual withdrawal from direct involvement in global affairs persists in the language used by Secretary Pompeo throughout the proposal.

Funding to international organizations has faced cuts with a decrease of $141.46 billion to approximately $2.15 billion. Overseas programs have also faced cuts with a decrease of $69.33 billion to approximately $1.52 billion and requested funding for border security is $3.75 billion. To conclude his budget request, Secretary Pompeo states that “we must continue to put U.S. interests first and be a beacon of freedom to the world.”

Throughout all three administrations, a concern for the changing and uncertain status of the international sphere is present. Foreign aid spending peaked under the Obama administration, but both the Bush and Obama administrations focused on direct U.S. involvement in world affairs as a means of spreading peace and democracy, while the Trump administration appears to have turned its focus on protecting the U.S. from threats abroad.

– Anne Pietrow
Photo: Media Defense

sports changing the world
Sports provide unique opportunities in a child’s life; sometimes, they are the only opportunity some children have to escape poverty. The following is a list of four sports organizations that are changing the world by using sports and sport-driven programs to help youth and communities across the globe enact social change and improve their impoverished situations.

Lengo Football Academy

Lengo Football Academy offers impoverished children and orphans in Tanzania opportunities through football. Emanuel Saakai started the first Lengo (Swahili for ‘goal’) Academy in the northern town of Arusha to give new opportunities to disadvantaged and street kids (both boys and girls). Saakai believes that the hard work necessary to excel in sports helps youths instill a sense of teamwork, respect and passion that will then translate to successes in other avenues of their lives. He has since created an eight-week program in Australia — where he acts as a qualified Football Federation Australia coach — whose proceeds go toward the program in Tanzania.

Lengo Football Academy helps its youth off the field as well. All of its participants are financially aided through primary and secondary education by Lengo. More importantly, enrollment in school is a requirement to participate in Lengo, ensuring its young footballers will go to class.

Lengo is also developing a 12-month employment program for graduating students to combat the rampant unemployment in Tanzania. The graduating students will be able to take jobs as coaches, referees, drivers, administrators and operators. They are also provided money management skills to ensure they are on their way to developing stable, successful lifestyles after the program ends.

Love.fútbol

The task of love.fútbol is to create durable, low-maintenance fútbol pitches in impoverished communities around the world. It is a community-driven endeavor. It provides the raw materials and support, but it insists that the local community helps with the building projects. For its inaugural build in Guatemala, love.fútbol saw a 90 percent participation rate in the rural village of Villa Nueva.

Love.fútbol is about more than sport. During the building process, it works with each community using asset mapping exercises to help the communities identify and use their strengths to their full potential. It also develops social capital networks, engaging the community to “connect with shared resources, building collective goodwill and strengthening relationships across numerous local individuals and organizations.” Love.fútbol and its 5,800 volunteers have had an impact on 29 communities in 8 different countries since its inception, using sports and play to bring about social change in poor communities across the globe.

Street Football World

Street Football World is like Love.fútbol in that it uses football and the model of community-driven football projects to enact social change. It even joined forces with love.fútbol in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Street Football World strives to use football-driven programs to enact social change around the world in eight key areas, ranging from employability and education to health and the environment. Street Football World even creates ‘pop-up’ stadiums and arenas for communities to use for special events and programs, providing theatres of play for impoverished youths in underprivileged areas.

The organization has a multitude of programs that span all seven continents, aiding and enabling millions of people all across the world by using football as a catalyst. Street Football World partners with a number of football institutions, companies, governments and foundations, ranging from FIFA to The U.S. Department of State. It was recently chosen as Berlin’s ambassador for Germany’s bid to host the UEFA Euro 2024 games. In 2015, founder and CEO Jürgen Griesbeck was featured alongside Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama in Beyond Sport’s ‘Inspirational 50,’ a list celebrating those using sport to “push boundaries, inspire generations and ultimately, make the world a better place.”

Beyond Sport

Beyond Sport, based in The U.K., differs from the rest of these four sports organizations that are changing the world in that it is an advocacy group. Beyond Sport is a global organization that advocates and celebrates the use of sports to address social issues with the ultimate goal of making the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It works with sports organizations directly, along with governments and businesses alike, on how sports can help achieve both social and business goals and successes.

Over the last decade, it has provided more than $1.5 million in funds and distributed $7 million toward long-term strategic goals. Beyond Sport has a vast network of partners, including the major U.S. sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL and WNBA) that boast a whopping 2,822 projects with 2,690 organizations in 154 countries across 56 sports.

These four sports organizations that are changing the world are great examples of how engaging kids in sports activities can not only change the individual lives of those playing but also those in the communities involved. Through sports and community building activities, these organizations are improving lives around the world.

– Nick Hodges

Photo: Flickr

development projects in Mauritius
Mauritius is a southern African island country in the Indian Ocean that is famous as a tourist destination. The country is known for its peaceful people comprised of mixed races and multiple languages. Mauritius initially had an agriculture-based economy which the nation diversified into various sectors, including sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel and financial services, transforming it from a lower- to an upper-middle-income economy.

At present, the country is trying to achieve the status of a high-income economy by 2020. In order to reach this goal, various development projects in Mauritius are aiming to create job opportunities, update primary education, generate sustainable energy and improve the infrastructure of the country.

Indian Government Development Projects in Mauritius

In March 2017, India allocated ₨ 12.7 billion for various priority development projects in Mauritius, including the following:

  1. Metro Express Project
    In August 2017, ₨ 9.9 billion was earmarked for the construction of an express metro, which will facilitate transportation between Curepipe and Port Louis, covering a distance of 26 km. The project aims to decrease traffic congestion and save ₨ 4 billion each year. It consists of 19 stations, 6 urban terminals and four interchanges with 18 air-conditioned trains in operation. It is expected to be completed by September 2019.
  2. Early Digital Learning Program
    The project started in 2017 with the aim of supplying digital tablets to students in grades one and two containing digitized study materials. ₨ 500 million has been spent on this program, which includes the cost of hardware, software and training assistance.
  3. Trident Project
    India is providing a fund of $4 million with an additional $52.3 million line of credit for this project. Its aim is to upgrade the maritime and surveillance operations of the Mauritius National Coast Guard to fight against drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean.
  4. Building Projects
    The remainder of the ₨ 12.7 billion is going towards the construction of several new buildings, including ₨ 1.1 billion for a new Supreme Court building in the capital city of Port Louis, ₨ 700 million for construction of social housing units and ₨ 500 million for an up-to-date ENT hospital.

Projects with the African Development Bank

In 2013, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa granted $1 million for the development of a Deep Ocean Water Application Project in Mauritius. The aim of the project was to install an innovative low carbon seawater air conditioning system.

Mauritius has no oil or natural gas reserves, and so to reduce its energy imports, it has employed this seawater air conditioning system. The system extracts and pumps cold water from the Indian Ocean, which is used to air condition the business district of Saint Louis and its adjacent regions.

This innovative technique has helped to lower the cost of air conditioning systems and reduced carbon emissions by 40,000 tons. It has provided jobs to local engineers and technicians and also created job opportunities in other sectors like aquaculture, pharmaceuticals and bottling.

Mauritius is also looking forward to other development projects in cooperation with India as well as the World Bank, which will help it achieve the status of a high-income developed country.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in IranIran has the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa, after Saudi Arabia. However, since the country’s nuclear program became public in 2002, the United Nations, the European Union and several individual countries and organizations have imposed sanctions on Iran in order to prevent the development of military nuclear capability. These sanctions made it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for international aid to reach impoverished parts of the country. For instance, the World Bank has not approved a Country Assistance Strategy for Iran and has not approved new lending to the country since 2005. Some international organizations, though, are funding programs to aid in providing health care and increasing environmental sustainability.

Here is a look at five development projects in Iran:

  1. Malaria Control (United Nations Development Programme)
    In partnership with national and international partners such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme has implemented the Intensified Malaria Control in High Burden Provinces towards Falciparum Elimination project in Iran to eliminate the disease. The project, started in October 2011, includes distributing insect nests to protect against infected mosquito bites, training volunteers to engage in early case findings and collaborating with local women as a symbol of community participation.
  2. Stanford Iran 2040 Project (Stanford University)
    Established in 2006, the Stanford Iran 2040 Project allows researchers all around the world to study issues related to the future of the Iranian economy. The core research centers on economy, population, energy, water, agriculture and the financial system. From this research, experts will be better equipped to aid in Iran’s future development by evaluating how these issues affect the country.
  3. Carbon Sequestration Project (United Nations Development Programme)
    The Carbon Sequestration Project aims to capture and control atmospheric carbon in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran and to improve the socioeconomic status of local communities. So far, the project has created 577 permanent jobs, held 400 training programs, established microcredit systems with 63 Village Development Groups, rehabilitated over 30,000 hectares of land and empowered women to play an active role in all of the project’s initiatives.
  4. Iran Transport Projects (Iranian Ministry of Roads and Urban Development)
    The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in Iran has signed 13 contracts worth $12 billion since March 2015 with investors from the Iranian private sector and foreign companies. These investments fund development projects in Iran across air, road, marine and rail transportations. Some of the notable plans include a 230-mile freeway connecting the city of Kerman to the Persian Gulf Port of Bandar Abbas, as well as a high-speed railroad connecting Tehran to Isfahan, a central tourism hub.
  5. Country Coordinating Mechanism Funding (United Nations Development Programme)
    Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) develop and submit grant proposals to the Global Fund based on national needs. The Global Fund is a partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. CCMs allow for local ownership and participation in decision-making processes.

These development projects in Iran provide hope for the nation to move toward a more stable and sustainable future.

– Richa Bijlani

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in IndiaIndia is the second-most populous nation, and the eighth largest nation by area in the world, and yet the nation is still lacking many of the necessities of a developed country. Thanks to the World Bank Group, and other investors, India is in the process of becoming a developed country by improving the full range of infrastructural and cultural problems that persist today. Here are five active development projects in India which you should know about.

  1. National Agricultural Higher Education Project. One of the major development projects in India began in August of 2017 and was made possible by $165 million of funding from the World Bank and other organizations. The goal of the project is to improve the current agricultural industry in India through the betterment of the country’s agricultural universities. The idea behind the project is that by improving the quality of agricultural education, farming practices will become more efficient, sustainable and will yield a greater volume of food to feed the nation’s high population.
  2. India Ecosystems Service Improvement Project. The goal of the Ecosystems Service Improvement Project, put broadly, is to try and ensure that interactions between humans and the ecosystem are not overtly harmful to the environment. More specifically, the project will hopefully improve land management and the overall health of the ecosystems of India through increasing and promoting biodiversity and sustainable resource use.
  3. Andhra Pradesh 24x seven Power for All Project. This development project in India focuses on delivering sustainable, reliable and more readily available electricity to citizens living in the Andhra Pradesh region of the country. This region encompasses both urban, and rural communities, with all sharing a common issue of having unreliable access to electricity. The Power for All Project will cost a whopping $570 million, $240 million of which has been pledged as a loan from the World Bank.
  4. Nagaland Health Project. The aim of this development project in India is to increase the availability and quality of healthcare services in the Nagaland region. The project began in 2016 and is expected to conclude in 2023, with a total cost of $60 million.
  5. Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project. This project aims to equip India with the necessary infrastructure to implement solar energy systems across the country. This is being accomplished via the construction of many large scale solar parks throughout the country. These parks will harness solar energy via solar panels and then distribute the collected energy to the larger public power grid. The project will make the nation more efficient in its consumption of power and will make electricity more available to the Indian population.

These are just five of the 121 active development projects in India which are being organized by the World Bank Group. Projects like these are bringing India closer to becoming a fully developed nation and improving the quality of life for all of the Indian people.

– Tyler Troped

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in Costa RicaCosta Rica has long been a global leader due to its environmental accomplishments and is the only country in the world that has reversed deforestation. This upper-middle-income country is a developmental success in many ways and still has work to be done. Here is a look at five development projects in Costa Rica.

  1. The city of Limon is undergoing a large project which aims to modernize the port city. The Integrated Infrastructure Project aims to improve the protection and management of the cultural and natural heritage of the city. It is also working to increase access to the sewage system in order to reduce urban flooding as well as foster a more credible local government. From a business perspective, this plan hopes to create new employment opportunities and to support port modernization in order to improve access to the Limon and Moin port terminals.
  2. As mentioned earlier, Costa Rica is a global leader in environmental programs. One program with environmental impacts is the Carbon Sequestration in Small Farms which aims to reduce over 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions by the end of 2017. This would be done by reforesting 4,140 hectares of land in Costa Rica over a period of three years. This project will also create additional ecological, wildlife and landscape diversity in the project area.
  3. The Umbrella Project is another project to help reduce carbon emissions. This would be done by substituting electricity produced by thermal plants with electricity from renewable sources. This is called the Umbrella Project because it is essentially serving as an umbrella to facilitate the implementation of other smaller projects in the country.
  4. Beginning in January 2018, Costa Rica is set to begin construction and expansion of a key highway. This highway, Ruta 32, connects the provinces of Limon and San Jose. This project will also add 16 miles of bike lanes, 23 pedestrian bridges, 176 bus stops and an access road to the port city of Moin.
  5. The last of the five development projects in Costa Rica deals with the environment. The Tourism Institute of Costa Rica will be designating $3 million over the course of three years in order to enhance services in Protected Wild Areas in order to provide an unforgettable experience to visitors.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Pixabay

5 Development Projects in Algeria
Since gaining independence from France in 1962, Algeria has been arduously attempting to gain some headway on the international stage. Following a 20-year engagement with the socialist model, Algeria shifted its approach to development in the early 80s, and has been actively engaged in the precepts of globalization ever since.

Yet, the road towards development has yet to reach its end. The following are five development projects in Algeria that aim to settle the country in a place of prosperity and hope, once and for all.

  1. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    IFAD has spent $65.6 million on a series of agricultural development projects in Algeria. First, they aim to strengthen the capacity of rural communities to operate independently. Second, they work to improve irrigation infrastructure, soil and water conservation, management of silo-pastoral ecosystems, livestock husbandry and rural tracks. Lastly, they continue to push for the progression of women’s place in society through the development of rural microenterprises. They have focused assistance on three communities whose economic capabilities are all but limited to agriculture. Currently, their five programs operate in the mountainous areas in the north of the country, the Saharan areas in the south and the coast, where poor fishing communities make up the majority of the population.
  2. Arab Reform Initiative – International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC)
    After the uprisings in 2011, commonly referred to as the Arab Spring, the fervor slowed as national governments cramped down on protestors. The aim of IDRC funding is to ensure that ideals of democracy and progress are maintained and cultivated in the youth of Algeria. The project, lasting for two years, is managed by the Arab Reform Initiative, and aims to develop the youth as political actors and active citizens engaged in their country’s political, social, economic and cultural spheres.
  3. The Trans-Saharan Highway (La Route Transsaharienne)
    The development of the trans-Saharan highway has been years in the making. The route from Algiers, running through Niger and down through Nigeria, is about 5,000 km. The route itself has been used for trade since the eighth century, but, until recently, has been a road of sand. Paving the road is meant to increase the trade profit between the three nations it runs through. The Algerian government has opted to pay for its portion of the construction from its national budget, a reflection of a trend in their more recent national policy.
  4. World Food Program (WFP) – Algeria’s Sahrawi refugees
    The WFP has operated in Algeria since the late 80s. They work to provide basic food and nutrition needs to the populations of Sahrawi refugees on the country’s Western border. Algeria has hosted Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara since 1975. The program’s main focus is decreasing a debilitating rate of iron deficiency found in Sahrawi women and children.
  5. Transparency International
    Transparency International is an organization whose aim is to evaluate the transparency of governments. In Algeria, it has determined that transparency is sorely lacking. The country has been scored 34 out of 100, and comes in 108 out of 176 countries. The organization’s tactics are simple. By shining a light on issues of corruption within the government and private sector, Transparency International is able to create accountability in situations where it is sometimes nonexistent. In this way, ideals of transparency have begun to permeate governance, as seen in the 2006 creation of the Central Office for the Suppression of Corruption, an agency tasked with the investigation and prosecution of all forms of bribery in the country.

These five development projects in Algeria are just a small indication of the state of Algerian society today. Ultimately, what these projects exemplify is the potential for further improvement in the North African nation.

– Katarina Schrag

Photo: Flickr

Five Development Projects in BeninIn Benin, 40 percent of the country lives below the poverty line. The conditions force residents of the country to migrate on a regular basis. The country’s increased investments in infrastructure and sustained economic growth rate highlight its potential to move in the right direction. Below is an overview of five development projects in Benin that could help the country reduce poverty.

Agricultural Productivity and Diversification Additional Financing

One of the ways for a country to reduce poverty is to invest in agricultural programs. This project allows Benin to invest more heavily in its agriculture, as it will restore and improve productivity. It will also support the promotion of improved technologies and the development of production via water management.

Public Investment Management and Governance Support Project

This project will help reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity. The World Bank has issued a $30 million credit to Benin that will better facilitate the efficiency and management of this project. Their aim is to enhance good governance, accountability and promote more transparent management of public funds.

Small Town Water Supply and Urban Septage Management Project

About 22 percent of the country does not have access to adequate drinking water. The Small Town Water Supply and Urban Septage Management Project will increase access to water supply and sanitation. It will also strengthen the service delivery capacity of water supply and sanitation as well as prepare an effective response to potential emergencies.

Energy Service Improvement Project

This project will improve utility power performance and expand access to electricity to various areas across the country. It also aims to promote community-based management of forest resources. Investing in infrastructure is important to build up an economy, so this project, among other development projects in Benin, is extremely important.

National Community Driven Development (CDD) Project

The CDD project has provided grassroots management training. This has helped contribute to the decentralization process and strengthening of both local government and community capacities to better plan and implement development projects. Under the project, 81,000 children have enrolled in school and 10,000 people have gained access to a clean water supply.

These development projects in Benin have the capability of reducing poverty in the country and improving the lives of the individuals who reside there.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr