Mauritania is a country located in West Africa that gained independence from France in 1960. In 2007, Mauritania saw the election of its first independent and freely elected president. However, his term in office ended abruptly when he was deposed by the military in 2008. General Abdel Aziz was then sworn into the presidency in August 2009 and was again re-elected in 2014.

Mauritania continues to experience tensions between ethnic groups, and suffered serious threats to its security through activities from various terrorist organizations. However, since 2011 strategies and development projects in Mauritania have been implemented that use dialogue and military actions, which have stopped terrorist attacks from occurring thus far.

After years of insecurity and instability, the situation in Mauritania is improving politically. Various international and national organizations are working in Mauritania to improve the lives of citizens and increase economic growth and decrease food insecurity. Here are five development projects in Mauritania that are currently active or have recently concluded.

  1. Skills Development Support Project
    This project was initiated by the World Bank and implemented by the Directions des Projets Education et Formation. The project ran from April 2011 to December 2017. Carrying a total cost of $17.6 million, this project’s objectives were to improve the efficiency as well as quality of training institutions in Mauritania and to foster a more “market driven technical and vocational education training system.”
  2. Programme de développement durables des oasis
    This project was approved in 2003 and ran until 2012, and was financed by IFAD. Costing a total of $33.9 million, its major objective was to reduce the poverty rate in five provinces in Mauritania. The project promoted sustainable farming solutions through the spread of technology and supported the financing of economic as well as social infrastructures, which reached 50,000 households.
  3. Poverty Reduction Project in Aftout South & Karakoro Phase II
    This is another project financed by IFAD, but one that is currently active. Costing a total of $28.9 million, this project aims to improve livelihoods and incomes for women and young people in 21,000 rural households in three moughataas (departments), which include M’Bout, Ould-Yengé and Kankossa. This will be achieved by fostering an increase in the economy through sustainable resource management, specifically by developing systems of crop and livestock management, soil restoration and water management and support for local project development.
  4. Construction of the Rosso-Boghé road
    This project is funded by the African Development Bank (ADB), the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) and the Mauritanian government, with loans of $11.69 million and a grant of $720,000 from the ADB and a loan of $8.6 million from the NTF. The construction of this road will help develop the right bank of Senegal River and will have an enormous impact in promoting the development of agriculture, fishing industries and transportation services. It will affect 100,000 people in 67 localities.
  5. Integrating disadvantaged young people into the building sector
    This project, started in 2006, will conclude in 2020 and will affect regions of Gorgol, Guidimakha and Brakna in Mauritania. Implemented by the International Labour Organization, and costing a total of €3.2 million, this project’s primary objective is to help improve the living conditions of youth through improving access to professional training and employment. The goal of the results are to improve the quality of work in construction through training and enlarge the scope of professional training programs.

Although only five development projects in Mauritania are mentioned here, there are numerous other organizations working within the country to improve the lives of Mauritanians. Through collaborative and inclusive effort, the livelihoods, economy and food security of many are sure to improve.

– Miho Kitamura

Photo: Flickr

 NicaraguaAmong the many ongoing development projects in Nicaragua, one company’s $50 billion idea may be the economic launch it needs to defeat the nation’s poverty. Despite the country’s growing economy, it is still one of the poorest countries in Central America. Currently, 29.6 percent of Nicaraguans are living in poverty and 8.3 percent are living in extreme poverty.

Nicaragua’s economic standing is predicted to shift positively with the development of certain infrastructure throughout the country. This includes building the Nicaragua Grand Canal, a free trade zone, two ports, an international airport and hotels with connecting roads.

Wang Jing, a Chinese business tycoon, proposed this project in June 2013. Following his project proposal, he created the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Incorporated (HKND) and invested $200 million of his own.

Development projects in Nicaragua are still in progress and have many significant advantages that will help the Nicaraguan economy blossom.

The Canal

While an interoceanic canal through Central America already exists, the Nicaragua Grand Canal will bring additional opportunities for trade throughout the Western Hemisphere. The canal is estimated to be 178 miles long and 30 meters deep, which will accommodate larger ships.

Over twice as deep, and three times as long, a canal of this size would be significantly larger than the Panama Canal. Accommodating larger ships through this canal will be a large incentive for several global companies to use it.

Free Trade Zone

The proposed Free Trade Zone development project in Nicaragua benefits everyone with tariff-free trade. It also provides the opportunity to avoid customs and have full control of product movement. With fewer regulations, producers and consumers can get products faster and at a better price.

In comparison to Bonded Warehouses, consumers and producers benefit from a Free Trade Zone. In addition to the canal benefits, this Free Trade Zone will encourage businesses around the world to utilize the new developments.

The Ports

The development of a seaport would boost the economy by creating jobs for Nicaraguan citizens. With the creation of two ports, the country would benefit financially from imports and exports. As a result of the opportunities that these ports would create, poverty levels would decrease. Nicaragua would also become a major contender in international trading.

Building an International Airport

An international airport would open more opportunities for travel. This development project in Nicaragua is crucial because it will encourage tourists, businesses, journalists and world leaders to visit more frequently than before, simply out of convenience.

It is also a means of product movement. Airports create several jobs from janitorial and stock, to managing and piloting. The nation would see significant economic change because of its development.

Hotel and Highway Development Projects in Nicaragua

Hotel development projects in Nicaragua would boost tourism rates substantially. Nicaraguan tourism has grown over the last several years, which has created several employment opportunities. In 2013, Nicaraguan tourism created 7.9 percent of the nation’s employment and is predicted to hit almost 9 percent by 2024.

Not only would hotels create hundreds of jobs for struggling locals, but it would also bring in a substantial amount of revenue for the country and the value of the land. With the creation of hotels and resorts comes investors, which have a substantial effect on the economy as well.

Unfortunately, these projects have not had much progress, despite breaking ground in December 2014. Although Jing suffered from the 2015 stock market crash, he is still hopeful and persistent that these projects will be completed, regardless of his own financial standings. These projects could be the effort that puts an end to the serious poverty issue which threatens many Nicaraguans.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in Tonga

Tonga is a country comprised of 170 islands in the South Pacific, located close to Fiji and American Samoa. The island nation has a relatively high unemployment rate. This, coupled with an economy largely dependent on agricultural means of making money, has led to the creation of various development projects in Tonga. In recent years, these projects have improved stability in different aspects of the country.

Education

In 2012, the Peace Corps began a development project in Tonga designed to teach English as a foreign language. Aside from teaching English, the project’s larger goals are to improve the Tongan education system through the utilization of more computers and other technology. It also assists Tongan teachers in discovering new methods of teaching that are more student-centred. In addition, the project focuses on helping students develop healthy lifestyle habits. These lifestyle lessons are taught as part of the English language curriculum.

Growth Development

One of the more recent development projects in Tonga began in April 2017. The World Bank approved $5 million for policy reforms in the island nation. According to a press release on the World Bank website, these reforms aim to “improve the management of public finances, boost government accountability and encourage a more dynamic and inclusive economy.”

Climate Change

In 2013, the Asian Development Bank launched the Climate Resilience Sector Project in Tonga. This projects helps strengthen the country in the face of increasingly dangerous threats from climate change. The project finances low cost solutions which are executed at the local community level. Aside from this, the Asian Development Bank is also working with the Tongan government to create more renewable energy. By 2020, Tonga hopes to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

Environmental Protection

In July 2014, the United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Office in Fiji created a project with the intention of protecting the ecosystem of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment on Tongatapu Island. The project’s three main goals are to improve management of the lagoon, introduce an environmental management plan and educate local communities and national stakeholders about the role of the lagoon ecosystem and the benefits of protecting it.

Improved Healthcare System

The Australia-Tonga Aid Partnership, created in 2016, is a project where the Australian government provides funding each year to assist development projects in Tonga. Just last year, Tonga received around $30.4 million in aid from Australia. In particular, one of the projects that utilizes this funding is the Tonga Health System Support Program.

Phase One of the program began in 2009. Following this, Phase Two of the program started in March 2015. The objectives of the program are to stop the progression of noncommunicable diseases, generally advance health care services across the nation, provide enhanced mental health services, improve gender equality and provide access to universal health care.

Tonga has begun to experience a flourishing tourism industry that is becoming a main source of income for the nation. As a result of these five development projects in Tonga, the country can maintain economic, environmental and social stability as it continues to progress.

The support from these organizations will help Tonga combat increasing environmental risks that the country will face from climate change. Through these programs, Tonga will only continue to grow and further advance their infrastructure.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr

Comoros, also known as the Union of Comoros, is a small volcanic archipelago island off the east coast of Africa. The country’s constant political and economic instability has led to an increase in poverty since it gained independence in 1975. As of 2014, roughly 18 percent of Comorians live below the poverty line.

Comoros is considered one of the world’s poorest countries. Over the last seven years, many strides have been made to further development in Comoros. Listed below are five development projects in Comoros that have had a big impact on reducing poverty, increasing employment opportunities and helping create a better economy.

  1. Family Farming Productivity and Resilience Support Project
    This project was approved in May 2017 and is still ongoing. The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) financed the project, loaning Comoros around $4 million to improve the country’s agricultural productivity and to get farmers in more rural areas the supplies and knowledge they need to grow more and healthier crops. Since Comoros is chiefly an agriculture-based country, this plan will increase employment as well.
  1. National English Language Education Strategy
    Starting in 2014, the Peace Corps has been sending volunteer English teachers to Comoros to teach children English as a second language. The students range from middle school to high school age. As of 2016, approximately 40 English teachers were teaching in Comoros.
  1. Co-management of Coastal Resources for Sustainable Livelihoods Project (CoReCSuD)
    This project was approved in December 2010 and ended in April 2017. The World Bank loaned Comoros roughly $2.7 million to create and implement a coastal management plan. A large part of employment and income in many rural areas in Comoros is fishing. This project increased credit to many fishing villages, decreasing poverty and increasing employment opportunities.
  1. Social Safety Net Project
    This project was approved in March 2015 and is set to close in June 2019. The World Bank loaned Comoros $6 million to increase access to nutrition services and a safety net for impoverished families, especially in rural areas.
  1. Economic Reform Development Policy Operation
    In November 2012, the World Bank gave Comoros a $5 million grant to strengthen the economy. The operation ended in December 2013. The operation’s goal was to strengthen the economy’s transparency and accountability.

Through these five development projects in Comoros, the economy has slowly started improving. Comoros has borrowed or been granted more than $17 million since 2010 from different organizations to fund these improvement projects. The GDP growth has increased to a little more than two percent from one percent in 2015.

Beyond these five development projects in Comoros, the nation’s government still has more room to grow. The unemployment rate is still high, around 19 percent. However, progress is slowly but surely being made, and these projects have left a lot of room for Comoros to move forward.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

development projects in croatiaLocated in Europe, Croatia is a country with access to clean water and an almost perfect literacy rate, standing at 99 percent. Despite certain successes, the country struggles with other issues, such as high unemployment which stands at 44 percent. Here are five development projects in Croatia that are creating change in the country.

Modernization and Restructuring of the Road Sector Project

The purpose of this project is to strengthen the institutional effectiveness, enhance operational efficiency and increase the debt service capacity of Croatia’s road sector. The road network in Croatia is the largest infrastructure asset in the country.

Croatia’s road network is of vital importance to its economy, as it encourages industry growth and tourism. By expanding the road sector, Croatian roads can integrate with other European networks. Furthermore, for the country to continue to maintain relations with other entities, development projects in Croatia like these are necessary.

Croatia Innovation and Entrepreneurship Venture Capital Project

One of the best ways to help reduce poverty and develop a nation is to increase innovation and creativity within a country. This project allows that exact thing. It aims to strengthen risk capital financing for startups in Croatia. This could also add a fresh wave of businesses to the country and potentially create more jobs for the country.

Sustainable Croatian Railways in Europe

In addition to innovation, infrastructure is another way to reduce poverty. Building up the country’s infrastructure could have many potential benefits, as evidenced by the Modernizing and Restructuring of the Road Sector Project.

The Sustainable Railways in Europe Project aims to further develop infrastructure in Croatia by improving the operational efficiency and the financial sustainability of the public railway sector.

The World Bank approved three loans totaling $183.4 million in support of the country developing its railway sector. Croatia’s railway system has changed dramatically in the past in order to meet the criteria of the European Union (EU). The loan and the project combined will continue to see more changes, including making the railway companies more customer-oriented.

Health System Quality and Efficiency Improvement

Improving the health system of a country is another way to reduce poverty within a country. Specifically, the project aims to improve the healthcare delivery system to better provide sustainable health services; rationalize the hospital network to streamline healthcare services; strengthen the government’s capacity to develop and monitor effective health sector policies and promote effective public health interventions.

Development projects in Croatia have made vast improvements to its health system in recent years. However, there are still areas needing improvement. For example, Croatia suffers from an uneven availability of healthcare across regions in addition to lacking quality care. The project would increase efforts to improve the country’s healthcare system and afford citizens much-needed care and increased access.

Together for Sustainable Development in Croatia

This project depends on community involvement to help sustain local development through networking and partnerships. Its specific objective is to “strengthen the voice of civil sector in shaping, monitoring and evaluating sustainable development policies on local, national and international level through networking, cross-sectoral partnership and capacity building,” according to Croatia Rural Development Network.

The project anticipates cooperation from Croatian civil society networks as well as European networks. Its ultimate goal is to have stakeholders for sustainable development and an increased level of citizen and CSO participation in the process of monitoring of sustainable rural policies. With such innovative tactics, Croatia should be able to find and develop more ways to lift itself out of poverty.

These development projects in Croatia are small, but necessary, steps in the right direction for reducing poverty and enabling growth.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in SyriaSyria, home to many diverse ethnic and religious groups, is a country that has lost hundreds of thousands of lives to war and violence. Because of this crisis, millions of people are displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, and development projects in Syria aim to address this need.

Like many countries in the world, Syria is fighting extreme poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme, four out of five Syrians live in poverty and 64.7 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. The Arab region is the only region in the world where poverty has increased since 2010, rising from 28 percent in 2010 to 83.4 percent in 2015.

Here is a list of five development projects in Syria that may help relieve the nation’s citizens.

  1. Switzerland donates ambulances to Syria’s suffering population
    Switzerland financed twelve new ambulances to help the people of Syria facing the consequences of the war. Syria was in need of more ambulances as a result of the devastatingly high number of victims caused by the war, including attacks against hospitals. The vehicles were purchased through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Dubai. This project was completed in 2017.
  2. Contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget 2017-2020
    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners in the Middle East, addressing all kinds of humanitarian aid needs, including medical services, education, emergency assistance, healthcare and more. With more funds contributed to its budget, it has been able to work toward universal access to quality primary health care, basic education, relief and social services to refugees in need. This is an ongoing project expected to be completed by 2020.
  3. Swiss experts to U.N. agencies in the frame of the regional crises in the Middle East
    Through this completed project, experts from Switzerland were able to provide technical support and advice. The experts accounted for the provision of shelter in camps and noncamp settings for vulnerable displaced persons; for a multisector and multistakeholder strategy for cash-based response for IDPs, refugees and host communities; for the protection of the most vulnerable population, including children and youth; advice and strategic planning on activities in the domain of water; and support to the coordination of humanitarian interventions within the U.N. agencies and national/international actors.
  4. Contribution to UNRWA’s General Fund 2016
    Contributions to UNRWA’s 2016 General Fund allows for the sustaining of the agency’s humanitarian and human development programs, servicing over five million Palestine refugees and contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East. This completed project targeted Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory. Results included financial support enabling various programs in health and education, and management reforms including resource mobilization, ERP and more.
  5. UNDP- Livelihoods Restoration in Crisis- Affected Communities in Syria
    This completed two-year project worked on restoration interventions in Rural Damascus, Horns, Tartous and Latakia. The project created local economic opportunities and restored critical community infrastructure and services, improving access to hygiene and other basic needs.

These committed development projects in Syria leave marks of improvement and hope in a nation that has been ravaged by violence and poverty for far too long.

Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in KosovoDespite turbulence in the past, Kosovo is undergoing rapid economic development at present. However, this is not distributed evenly across all populations and parts of the country. However, there are numerous development projects in Kosovo working to change that. These five promise to make a major difference.

USAID Engagement for Equity

This program works to support local civil society groups in developing policies to promote greater equity for marginalized groups and communities in Kosovo. This project has had a broad reach and has made especially notable improvements in gender equity. Kosovo has relatively strong protections for women on the books, but few women are aware of their rights and often have difficulty taking advantage of them because of the patriarchal culture in Kosovo that is common in many Balkan societies. This problem is especially pronounced when it comes to property rights, as women traditionally did not own or inherit property.

USAID recently worked with Kosova Women 4 Women to organize a class that taught women what their rights are and how to exercise them. While this seems small, this is an example of development projects in Kosovo that have a much broader reach than they seem. Women who have property in their names or register property jointly with their husbands have a much easier time accessing credit, which helps them to start small businesses, promoting the growth of the entire economy as well as greater financial security for women.

LuxDev Health Sector Support Programme

Luxembourg has been a major donor to Kosovo’s health sector for many years and has contributed to many successful projects. This latest project is expected to be completed in 2019 and will build on the successes of previous projects. Its goals primarily center around improving institutional capacity and management to ensure full implementation of previous achievements, as well as increasing access to and affordability of care.

InTerDev 2

InTerDev 2 is the latest in a series of projects supported by the UNDP to reduce economic insecurity, particularly in southern Kosovo and among minorities and women. Its primary goals are to bring down the high unemployment rate, address underemployment and precarious employment, improve public services, and end the socioeconomic exclusion of women and minority groups. The plan is to do this by expanding the capacity of municipalities and local actors, especially in rural areas, to assist underserved populations, supporting small and medium-sized business owners who wish to modernize and expand and by promoting job growth at the local level.

Kosovo Safety and Security Project

This comprehensive approach to security, spearheaded by the U.N. but also supported by several EU member states, seeks to improve security in Kosovo by focusing on small arms control, countering violent extremism, and improvements in policing. Recent years have seen multiple development projects in Kosovo focus on addressing violent crime and cracking down on the illegal trade and possession of small firearms and explosive materials. The Safety and Security Project seeks to build on best practices learned from these projects to strengthen and empower Kosovo’s law enforcement agencies. Another effect of this project will be to bring Kosovo into compliance with EU regulations regarding firearms, helping to put Kosovo on a more equal footing with its neighbors. It is also hoped that the root causes of illegal weapons possession can be mitigated, helping to make Kosovo safer.

Institutional and Technical Support for the Water Supply System

This project is a follow-up to the 2016 project of the same name, both organized by Luxembourg. The 2016 project saw the creation of the Mitrovica Regional Water Company and supporting infrastructure. The current project aims to strengthen the management and customer service capabilities of the company and enable it to run more efficiently from a business standpoint. This comes as other development projects in Kosovo are also working to strengthen and support private sector activity. Also included in the current project are the use of satellite imagery to identify leaks and the replacement of some aging infrastructure to make the water supply system more efficient and more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of water wasted as a result of leaks.

These projects all promise to jump-start economic development in Kosovo and lift people out of poverty. They will all have a major impact on quality of life and some even promise to help calm the lingering tensions in Kosovo as a result of the conflict. Improved economic conditions and stronger legal frameworks will also make major strides towards rectifying the ongoing issues surrounding property ownership. Once this is resolved, the credit access problem in Kosovo will also become much more manageable. Taken together, these improvements promise to strengthen Kosovo’s economy and bring down the poverty rate, which is good for everyone.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in Azerbaijan

Over the past two decades, Azerbaijan has transitioned from a struggling young democracy to a major powerhouse in the South Caucasus region. This transition was precipitated largely by capitalizing on increased revenues from oil and natural gas. That being said, poverty is still an issue in Azerbaijan.

Fortunately, there are a number of development projects in Azerbaijan that are currently underway and promise to improve circumstances for many Azerbaijanis. Here is a look at five of them, some completed and some still underway.

  1. Highway Three
    Many development projects in Azerbaijan have focused on infrastructure. However, not all of this new infrastructure has been accessible to all Azerbaijanis. Highway Three and projects like it, which are being financed in part by the World Bank, aim to rectify this gap by creating a fledgling interstate system that better connects all parts of the country.
    Highway Three is notable because, in addition to connecting two of Azerbaijan’s largest cities, the highway and its offshoots will also serve rural areas. The project is being done in conjunction with efforts to modernize Azerbaijan’s existing highways and bring them up to international standards.
  2. A new medical clinic in Kamalli
    Working together with the Azerbaijani government, USAID has just finished helping to replace an aging one-room clinic with a more spacious and better-equipped facility in the rural community of Kamalli. The clinic opened in October 2017, and is expected to serve over 2,000 people from Kamalli and other neighboring communities in the rural province of Saatli. Similar development projects in Azerbaijan in recent years have made a significant dent in morbidity and mortality rates.
  3. Water supply improvements in Shahsevan-Tazakend
    Also in October, residents of Shahsevan-Tazakend, with the assistance of the Azerbaijani government and USAID, installed almost a kilometer of new pipes and two new water storage tanks. These new installations are meant to alleviate the repeated chronic water shortages that this area has been experiencing in recent years, in addition to eliminating the need to walk long distances to collect water each day for the 800 members of this community. This project is typical of the numerous other development projects in Azerbaijan that have helped to improve living conditions for over 150,000 people.
  4. A new agrobiodiversity preservation project
    In February 2017, Azerbaijan and the UNDP launched a new initiative focused on preserving Azerbaijan’s agrobiodiversity as a part of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. The project will run for five years and will target the regions of Shaki, Goranboy and Goychay.
    The Azerbaijani government spearheaded the design of the project, which will receive support from the U.N. and focuses on protecting native crops and encouraging their use in commercial farming. The project also aims to promote research and development on native crops and increase market access for small farmers who grow native crops.
    Like many other development projects in Azerbaijan, this was designed with an eye on the future and hopes to promote resilience and productivity in agriculture in the face of climate change, as Azerbaijan also works to reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas as a revenue source.
  5. The National Innovation Contest
    The U.N. sponsored a contest for young scientists and entrepreneurs to put forth their best ideas for helping Azerbaijan accelerate its progress toward meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The ideas may potentially be used to inspire future development projects in Azerbaijan.
    This is the latest in a series of efforts to support research and development for similar concepts. The awards for the contest were presented in a ceremony on December 21, 2017. The winners included projects focusing on improving credit access and access to the legal system, as well as projects focused on alternative fuel sources.

In addition to major improvements in quality of life and major reductions in poverty, these development projects in Azerbaijan all promise to help the country transition to a greener economy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels as a revenue source. In doing so, these projects will also improve the health outcomes for all Azerbaijani people and help more citizens make a living in sustainable ways. These projects make Azerbaijan an excellent example of how supporting sustainability efforts can also improve health and help to diversify a growing economy.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in NigerNiger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Despite receiving aid from foreign entities, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. These five development projects in Niger work to address several of the root problems contributing to poverty and instability in the country.

Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP)

With an average of only 14.3 percent of its population having access to electricity, Niger remains among the least “electrified” countries in the world. However, in 2017, the World Bank approved the sponsorship of the Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP).

This project is designed to increase solar energy access to rural and peri-urban areas, where access to electricity drops to 5.4 percent. It consists of four components: market development and research, rural electrification, solar hybridization and access expansion and technical assistance and implementation support.

Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) Initiative

RISE consists of a number of humanitarian programs by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that focus on food security, nutrition and sanitation. It also includes programs designed for the health of women and small children, combatting malnutrition and monitoring compliance to health-related legislation.

National Malaria Control Program (NMCP)

As of 2013, malaria affected 32 percent of the population, and it remains the leading cause of death for Nigeriens. NMCP works to combat malaria by establishing a stable supply chain committee. Furthermore, it improves the availability of commodities and the overall performance of malaria prevention efforts.

Niger’s National Education and Training Sector Program

The government of Niger launched a 10-year program expanding into 2024 that tackles the prominent education issue in the country. Currently, the 30 percent literacy rate in the country highlights a need for increased access and quality of education. USAID has also partnered with the Nigerien government to assist with development projects in Niger.

These projects are aimed at raising the quality of education, especially for females, who suffer from the 18 percent gender gap in school enrollment. The program focuses on building community efforts toward education and active parental involvement. It also works to build a reading culture to increase the literacy rate and knowledge retention.

Water Mobilization Project to Enhance Food Security in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions (PMERSA-MTZ)

PMERSA-MTZ, funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), aims primarily to build water collection and mobilization infrastructure. It also attempts to strengthen activities that benefit farmers and herders.

Since 2011, it has successfully built wells, thresholds, dams, ponds, boreholes, water banks, dikes, ravines and more. It also continues to train experts and livestock assistants to build capacity for production. Among its other initiatives, the PMERSA-MTZ continues to promote income-generating activities for Nigeriens and contribute to environmental protection and soil conservation efforts in the region.

These active development projects in Niger have consequently improved the quality of life for the country’s population. By working toward minimizing the root causes of poverty in Niger, these programs can boost the development of the country and its citizens’ ability to sustain themselves.

– Francesca Colella

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in Montenegro

With only about 600,000 people living within its borders, Montenegro is one of the smallest countries on the Balkan Peninsula of Eastern Europe. Its small status, however, has not diminished its government’s desire for growth and development.

In fact, Montenegro’s somewhat vulnerable economy is set on a path to become part of the European Union by 2020. With the deadline fast approaching, Montenegro, along with the World Bank, have committed a whopping $144 million for 2018 (compared to only $3 million in 2017) toward development projects in Montenegro designed to kick start domestic development.

One of the following five development projects in Montenegro could very well be the key to nation’s economic and political future.

Montenegro First Fiscal and Financial Sector Resilience Policy-Based Guarantee

This is a tremendously important economic stimulation project that aims to reestablish trust between investors and Montenegro’s flux-prone economy. The public financial sectors are at the epicenter of this reform, as a staggering $93 million has been allocated to rebuild investor confidence and stabilize public debt levels for Montenegro’s most infringed people.

Specific measures of the reform include a reduction in wage for government officials, increased supervision of nonbanking financial sectors and pharmaceutical market reform, making medication more accessible and affordable. This is the first of a two-stage fiscal program that Emanuel Salinas, the World Bank Country Manager for Montenegro, believes will help the country “overcome today’s challenges and achieve strong sustained and inclusive growth.”

Industrial Waste Management and Cleanup Project

Montenegro, which literally means “black mountain,” is home to stunning cliffs that run for miles along the Adriatic Sea. Sitting on a grassy knoll overlooking this country’s sloping wild rivers and beautiful clear lakes, one would never imagine that there are disposal sites so contaminated that $68.9 million have been set aside in a direct effort to have them remediated and safe for habitation.

This cleanup project aims to reduce public health risks, such as air pollution and soil erosion, as well as vitalize the country’s tourism sector. The contaminated sites are to be leveled and blanketed by more than 30 centimeters of uncontaminated soil and future waste disposal will be in strict accordance with Montenegrin and E.U. legislation.

Revenue Administration Reform Project

Corruption is a pervasive problem for all facets of bureaucracy in the Montenegrin government. High levels of organized crime activities, such as loan sharking, drug smuggling and human trafficking, have found their way into the offices and juries of Montenegro.

This tax reform project, newly commissioned by the World Bank, is looking to bring functionality back to the countries ravaged revenue administration. Approved on July 31, 2017, this program, if successful, will be vitally important to Montenegro’s mission of joining the E.U.

Montenegro Energy Efficiency Additional Financing

These sustainable energy development projects in Montenegro look to pick up where their original 2008 counterpart leaves off. The additional $6.8 million in funding will help continue the very same efficiency programs that were able to provide nine educational facilities and six health care facilities in Montenegro with energy savings that ranged between 30 and 65 percent. For a country that imports an entire third of its energy, the savings have been two-fold. Montenegro is also one of the only Balkan countries that is actively advancing toward a green future.

Montenegro Institutional Development and Agriculture Strengthening Project

Somewhat famous for its grapes, Montenegro boasts an export of $15 million of wine a year. These development projects in Montenegro intend to manage public funds and focus them more on the agricultural sector, where near 70 percent of Montenegro’s rural population resides. This program has helped thousands of farmers acquire new farming machines and storage units. Ultimately, the project intends to implement a more modern agricultural system in the coming years.

Development projects in Montenegro that focus specifically on domestic improvement radically improve the quality of living for the people working and living on the land. Although there is still much more work to be done, the path is clear for Montenegro to become a fully developed nation. The strides being made by Montenegro today should inspire other Balkan countries to do the same.

– Nicolas Lennan

Photo: Flickr