Facts About Poverty in Montenegro

Montenegro has been an independent state since 2006. It is located is in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, known favorably for its magnificent coastline, limestone peaks and glacial lakes. Unfortunately, the people of Montenegro face many challenges, including a national poverty rate of 8.6 percent. Listed below are 10 facts about poverty in Montenegro.

10 facts about poverty in Montenegro

  1. Most children in Montenegro attend primary school. In 2018, the enrollment rate of primary school-aged children was almost 90 percent. However, according to a World Bank press release, the quality of this education is not up to par. On average, students only get 8.6 years of quality education. Fortunately, recent action has been taken resulting in reforms to the education policy that are in accord with EU legislation. The country is also working on programs to keep students from leaving school early. Educating the youth of Montenegro will better their chances of having healthy and productive lives. It also boosts the economy and decreases poverty rates.
  2. Poverty has historically been concentrated in the Northern, rural areas of Montenegro. The rural poverty rate was 11.3 percent in 2010. This was almost three times the urban rate of 4 percent that year. This is consistent with the global trend of development as many aspects of economic modernization only affect urban areas. In Montenegro, the rural population relies primarily on agricultural subsistence in the form of family farms. However, as urban development has spiked, young people have begun moving to the cities and suburbs. This has left the rural population to a generally older demographic, rendering the family farm model unsustainable.
  3. While levels of education are relatively consistent across genders, the number of men in political positions largely outweighs the number of women. Men also tend to have higher incomes. Fortunately, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) held a conference with all of the women in Parliament and the Vice President. The Vice President pledged to do more to support the Gender Equality committee in their goals to decrease domestic violence against women and encourage female entrepreneurship. These initiatives will help women feel safe and empowered.
  4. The tourism industry accounts for 20 percent of the GDP. It currently brings in more than three times the population of Montenegro in tourists annually. These numbers are projected to increase as many new luxury tourism complexes are being built along the coast. They will operate in conjunction with nearby boating and yachting facilities. This means that tourism, which currently generates 7.7 percent of total employment, is forecasted to provide 21.5 percent of jobs in Montenegro by 2028.
  5. The future of the tourist industry in Montenegro relies on the natural health and beauty of the country. An organization called Green Home is committed to addressing Montenegro’s existing ecological problems. It will use public advocacy to deal with issues like air and water pollution. Green Home has carried out many successful projects in Montenegro, including school recycling, strengthening hydropower regulation and the South East Europe Sustainable Energy Policy. Green Home has also contributed directly to the tourism industry with its support of local communities around Sasko Lake to implement tourist practices. Green Home’s projects allow tourism to flourish and, therefore, keep thousands of Montenegrins employed.
  6. Montenegro is in the process of transitioning to a market economy. So far, 90 percent of all companies and 100 percent of banking, telecommunications and oil companies have been privatized. This process was facilitated by Montenegro’s low corporate tax rate, which also encourages foreign investors. Montenegro’s foreign investments per capita are now one of the highest in Europe, making it competitive on the international stage.
  7. Montenegro is a lead candidate for integration into the European Union. It is projected to be a member by 2025. This would solidify their trade relationships with other European countries and stimulate natural resource trade and production. This could lead to an increase in industry and create more jobs. Additionally, the EU’s rural development policy would help Montenegro lift its rural population out of poverty.
  8. Montenegro’s unemployment rate was 14.5 percent as of September 2019. One of the main reasons that the rate is so high is that more than 29 percent of Montenegro’s youth (ages 15-24) are unemployed. The country ranks at 15 of the 25 highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Some say it is a result of the high levels of education since most jobs in Montenegro are more blue-collar and often offered to foreign migrants. Regardless, unless unemployment decreases dramatically for this age group in the next few years, this could be a major challenge to the economic future of Montenegro.
  9. State-sanctioned social welfare provides money and social work to those who struggle. However, there is not enough to go around. Only 44 percent of people under the poverty line receive welfare money. Additional help, such as child psychological services, is reportedly hard to come by. The United Nations has been working with the government in Montenegro to change this by providing funding through the #ENDViolence campaign. The campaign includes initiatives such as strengthening social work services and helping parents support their children through a variety of methods.
  10. NGO 4 Life is a non-profit organization working to help former drug addicts reintegrate into society in Montenegro. In 2012, the organization worked with Parliament to reverse a law that said people convicted of drug crimes had to go to prison. Through reforms, drug addicts were offered rehabilitation in certain circumstances. The organization continues to launch projects to help recovering addicts with an overarching goal of decreasing the unemployment rate in Montenegro.

These 10 facts about poverty in Montenegro show that the country’s future promises hope. The World Bank Country Manager in Montenegro, Emanuel Salinas, stated, “We believe that the Government of Montenegro has understood that the prosperity of the country relies on equipping people with the skills and knowledge that are needed in a rapidly changing world.” He admits that this is no easy task, but remains confident. Hopefully, the efforts of the government, along with those of various organizations mentioned in the 10 facts about poverty in Montenegro amount in a significant change in the lives of Montenegrins.

– Madeline Esther Lyons
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ Education in Montenegro
Montenegro has recently seen calls from multiple organizations—UNICEF, UNESCO, and The World Bank—to better its education system and improve education for girls. Although universal enrollment in Montenegro is 97 percent, the dropout rate from primary schools is high. About 13 percent of women in Montenegro have not completed primary school, and about 6.4 percent of women do not have any education. In addition, the illiteracy rate in Montenegro is higher for women (3.4 percent in comparison to 2.35 percent for men). Overall, only 50 percent of students are proficient in less than 30 percent of essential knowledge.

Gender Inequality in Montenegro

In a recent report, UNICEF deemed schools in Montenegro as “non-girl-friendly” and claimed this was a major factor in the impediment of girls’ education in Montenegro. Moreover, UNESCO’s 2011 report on education in Montenegro saw that teaching methods were severely outdated and teachers often used intimidation tactics. Finally, discrimination against girls, particularly in schools across Montenegro, was 80 percent higher than against boys.

These discrepancies have caused an imbalance in the work force, though it is not completely one-sided. Only 52 percent of females, compared to 66 percent of men, participate in the labor force. The major disparities of gender is in parliament and other positions of power. In parliament, as of 2015, only 17 percent of seats are held by women.  In 2013, only 24 percent of firms saw female ownership. And in 2012, only 12 percent of females, compared to the 22 percent of males, were self-employed. There has been much backlash to these statistics, and many organizations have taken direct action to improve girls’ education in Montenegro.

The Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education and Science of Montenegro, the main policy making body for education and sports in Montenegro, has received support from said organizations—UNICEF and UNESCO mainly.  This support is to ensure that basic learning needs are met and sustained of all children regardless of their ethnic background, social class, and especially gender.

Though the country has a National Plan of Action towards girls’ education in Montenegro, UNICEF’s annual report of 2016 found that the country is now more focused on the second decade of life and ending violence against women. In 2015, Montenegro’s prime minister stated that the country was committed to increasing attendance and expanding preschool coverage. The Minister of Education, in 2017, reiterated this same focus to UNICEF. The now disbanded Ministry of Education and Science’s publication of a “Comprehensive Evaluation of Primary Education in Yugoslavia” is, nevertheless, still being used as an outline for education reform, as is the World Bank’s emphasis on active learning in young children and a life-skills education in later years.

Though the country has moved away from focusing on girls’ education, the calls for reform have nonetheless been consistent. Montenegro has changed its focus in the past decade from gender-based education reform, to improvement of school systems, to now expanding their preschools and their enrollment. Girls’ education in Montenegro, while in need of alteration, has found itself stuck under the larger issues of migration, poverty and an overall lacking education system. Thus, change has yet to be seen.

– Isabella Agostini
Photo: Flickr


In comparison to other partners of the United States, such as Saudi Arabia and China, Montenegro appears to be quite small and insignificant. It is true that Montenegro’s total population is less than a million people. Furthermore, the country itself is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. However, Montenegro has proven to be a sturdy economic and military partner to both the United States and European Union. The overall goal of this piece will be to explore how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Montenegro. 

History and Renewed Relations

U.S.-Montenegrin relations officially began in 1905 and lasted until 1920. Montenegro eventually became a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until its dissolution in 1992. Montenegro wouldn’t achieve independence again until May 2012. In a referendum, rough 55 percent of the population voted for independence from the state union of Serbia-Montenegro. As a result, the United States re-established relations with Montenegro in 2006.

Quoting the U.S. Department of State on current relations with Montenegro, “The relationship between the U.S. and Montenegro has promoted peace and prosperity in the region and around the world.” For the FY 2019 budget, Montenegro is earmarked to receive $2.5 million in U.S. foreign assistance. Of that, 35 percent is geared towards bolstering democracy, human rights, and governance. The remaining 65 percent will be invested in peace and security.

Benefit: Influence in the Balkans

As aid continues to Montenegro, the U.S. gains a foothold in the Balkan region and can further promote its agenda. In recent years the U.S. has aimed for Montenegro to achieve Atlantic-Euro integration. On June 5, 2017, Montenegro became the 30th member to join NATO. In addition, Montenegro entered into accession negotiations with the E.U. to become a full member.

As a potential member of the E.U. and a part of NATO, Montenegro is of strategic significance to the U.S., particularly in reducing Russian influence and aggression in the Balkans. To reduce crime, the U.S. has sought to increase Montenegro’s ability to fight organized crime and corruption. If U.S. assistance continues as such, Montenegro has the potential to become a stronger economic and military partner which, in turn, affects greater U.S. influence and support in the region. This is a major example of how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Montenegro. 

Benefit: Foreign Investment

Montenegro’s low corporate tax rates and business-friendly policies have enticed foreign investment from the U.S. and E.U. The U.S. Department of State explains that Montenegro has enacted the following incentives to potential investors:

  • a business-oriented economic system
  • a high level of economic freedom
  • a stable currency (euro)
  • macroeconomic predictability
  • and openness to incentivized tax structures.

If Montenegro enters the E.U. it has the potential to gain increased investment from U.S. companies.

U.S. foreign assistance and economic investment in Montenegro has proven to be both beneficial and successful. Montenegro’s unemployment rate has decreased noticeably as U.S. and E.U. investment has increased. The country has also become a full member of NATO and is projected to enter the E.U. in 2022. As Montenegro strengthens, U.S. interests are further protected in the Balkans which is essential in limiting Russian influence. Overall, Montenegro has helped protect U.S. economic and strategic interests in the region. These two serious factors prove how much the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Montenegro.

– Colby McCoy

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in Montenegro

As with many countries in the region, the real estate bubble that burst in 2008 exposed longstanding weaknesses in the Montenegrin financial sector and left a laundry list of obstacles for the country to overcome in its wake. These obstacles have become major inhibitors of credit access in Montenegro.

As is often the case, small and medium-sized enterprises have been hit particularly hard by this credit squeeze. Fortunately, the international community has stepped in to improve short-term credit access in Montenegro in the short term while the Montenegrin financial sector modernizes for the long term.

Prior to 2008, the Montenegrin financial sector was plagued by poor governance, little oversight and inadequate and outdated financial infrastructure. In the wake of the crisis, key stakeholders have been working to rectify these problems against a backdrop of ongoing deleveraging. While these changes were needed, this restructuring has left Montenegrin banks incapable of meeting the demand for credit.

Business owners who can secure loans from Montenegrin banks complain of high interest rates, extensive collateral requirements and overall a very risk-averse lending policy. For many business owners, securing a loan from a Montenegrin bank is simply not an option. This gap between supply and demand is being filled in two different ways: by the informal economy and by international actors.

Many would-be business owners (and individuals) have turned to the informal economy to meet their financing needs. This often entails borrowing under the table from loan sharks. Not only does this open borrowers up to unnecessary risk, but it also presents an obstacle to modernizing the financial sector.

The other option is to secure financing from international actors. Many organizations are working to provide improved credit access in Montenegro while the country’s financial sector gets back on its feet. These include the EBRD, the Investment-Development Fund of Montenegro, internationally-backed microfinancing institutions and other international organizations that have stepped in in a microfinance capacity.

There are signs that positive change is coming. In late 2017, the government passed a law aimed at comprehensively reforming the financial sector and improving credit access in Montenegro. The law creates new financial instruments available to business owners and opens up new opportunities for those struggling to secure a loan to avail themselves of financing and guarantees from the government.

The law also updates the regulations that govern the Montenegrin financial industry and help to bring Montenegro into line with international best practices. It is hoped that these laws will help to prevent another disaster like 2008 and ensure that credit access in Montenegro will not be affected by the next economic downturn. This legislation serves to prove that developing economies often need just a little bit of international support while they work to modernize their financial infrastructure, and that this support enables them to create improved frameworks that provide greater confidence moving forward.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in Montenegro

Montenegro, like many of the Western Balkan countries, relies heavily on agriculture as a source of economic productivity and is eagerly searching for ways to make its agricultural sector more competitive while preparing to contend with the realities of climate change. The U.N. and the World Bank have worked extensively to promote sustainable agriculture in Montenegro. One important component of this work has been a realization of the need to make these efforts explicitly inclusive of female farmers, who are often overlooked.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in particular, has a long history of working to promote competitive, sustainable agriculture in Montenegro that actually improves the circumstances of Montenegrin farmers. In addition to the focus on agriculture, the FAO has also put in place rural development initiatives and helped the Montenegrin government to ensure the sustainable management of the country’s natural resources.

There are some areas where the FAO has been particularly successful. Together with the Montenegrin government, it was able to improve the sustainability and management of the country’s forests, which is important as wood is still a key source of fuel, especially in rural areas. Montenegro has also made strides in recent years in managing its fisheries on the Adriatic coast. The focus now is on bringing Montenegrin agriculture in line with E.U. regulatory standards and ensuring that small farmers can compete on the international market in anticipation of Montenegro eventually entering the European Union.

Rarely, however, do these kinds of initiatives make a point of being inclusive of female farmers. In the Western Balkans, strict gender roles persist and farming is not seen as something that concerns women. But female farmers in Montenegro account for 13 percent of landholders and 65 percent of the agricultural workforce, indicating that perhaps these gender roles are becoming out of date. Female farmers have recently had success securing grants from the World Bank’s MIDAS program, but too often farmers, especially women, are not made aware that these programs exist to help them.

Now, finally, these women are being addressed and reached out to as a real constituency. The Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development hosted a workshop exclusively for female farmers that allowed them to network and learn about options for assistance that many of the women did not know they had.

Sustainable agriculture in Montenegro, and in the Balkans more broadly, is ultimately going to be about more than eliminating ecologically harmful practices and increasing crop yields in an ecofriendly way. It will also consist of leveling the playing field and improving equity in the industry across all demographics and of producing more and wasting less.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in Montenegro

The Balkan nation of Montenegro has undergone rapid economic development in recent years. While Montenegro has been largely successful in the 10 years since it declared independence from Serbia, infrastructure in Montenegro continues to face problems of inefficiency. Nowhere are these problems more apparent than in the highway system and the building stock. That being said, steps are being taken to address these problems and ensure that these issues do not hinder Montenegrin progress as time goes on.

The first major issue is the fact that Montenegro’s roads and highways are not all up to the task of connecting all the areas of the rapidly developing country. Existing roads are in disrepair and often take long or inefficient routes to connect two points. Additionally, there remain certain areas of the country that are not yet serviced by major road networks.  This wastes fuel and makes travel to other parts of the country virtually impossible for some Montenegrins.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development aims to fix these issues by providing a total of €25 million to, directly and indirectly, support an overhaul of the country’s roads and highways. These improvements will make travel safer, easier and more accessible to more of the Montenegrin population.

The second challenge that Montenegro will face going forward is its aging building stock. Montenegrin cities are often full of Soviet-era “panelak” or panel-style buildings. These were almost all built prior to 1990 and were only built to last for about 30 years, and many of the buildings were already in varying states of disrepair by the time the regime collapsed.

These buildings are also incredibly inefficient to heat. While replacing them all at once is virtually impossible, alternative ways to retrofit them, prolong their lifespans and make them more energy-efficient are taking hold. Along with traditional improvements, adding green roofs to these buildings is becoming popular.

In addition to being nice amenities, studies have shown that green roofs are able to significantly reduce the amount of heat that radiates from a building via the roof. This helps to keep most of the heat in the residences, where it should be, and reduce overall energy usage. This promises to go a long way towards promoting green infrastructure in Montenegro as well.

Some infrastructure in Montenegro has a long way to go before it catches up with the rest of the country. That being said, improvements are underway. While still less than ideal, Montenegrin infrastructure can be expected to undergo major improvements as the economy continues to develop, making it more environmentally friendly while still improving everyday life and bringing greater convenience to many Montenegrins.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian aid to Montenegro
Humanitarian aid to Montenegro has been extremely helpful to the country’s growth, thanks in part to assistance from the United States Embassy in Montenegro and organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme. The country of Montenegro continues to grow and progress in positive ways with the help of the United States Embassy, as well as organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


The Role of the U.S. Embassy

The United States Embassy in Montenegro has been essential in giving humanitarian aid to Montenegro in the following ways:

  • The U.S. Embassy opened the Education U.S.A. Center which offers support to all those who would like to study in the U.S. Currently more than 120 Montenegrin students are studying at U.S. universities.
  • Since 2006, the U.S. Embassy supported almost 130 projects worth nearly $1.9 million to strengthen democracy and respect for human rights and to strengthen civil society in Montenegro.
  • Over the past 10 years, almost 400 Montenegrins experienced U.S. culture through one of the nation’s professional or educational exchange programs.
  • More than 50 American companies operate in Montenegro. The U.S. interest in doing business in Montenegro is constantly on the rise, especially after Montenegro’s invitation to join the NATO Alliance.
  • The top six U.S. investors have invested over $300 million in Montenegro since its independence. An additional $300 million of investment is in the pipeline from U.S. companies operating in the tourism, telecommunications and energy sectors.

The UNDP has also provided, and continue to provide, crucial humanitarian aid to Montenegro that helps the country in their economy and in the betterment of the overall livelihood of the Montenegro people.


The United Nations Development Program

The UNDP has a few different humanitarian aid projects in Montenegro that have been a great benefit to the country. One of their projects supports anti-discrimination and gender equality policies. The purpose of the project is to contribute to the protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights and equal opportunities in Montenegro. So far, the project has empowered female members of parliamentary political parties through the advancement of their knowledge and skills in the areas of gender equality and women’s political activism. The effort has also provided trainings that “aim to enhance political engagement of women.”



Another UNDP project in Montenegro is geared towards strengthening sustainability of protected areas. That project’s purpose is to develop institutional capacities to design, plan and manage a more representative system of protected areas. The project has already accomplished a few of its goals such as designing an environmental information system for the Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro, helping improve legal framework for functioning of National Parks by supporting amendments to the Law on National Parks and supporting the establishment of educational programmes in protected area management and rural development, with emphases on financial planning and management of protected areas.


The World Bank

The World Bank also deserves a worthy mention in its provision of humanitarian aid to Montenegro. Last year, the organization approved a $14 million loan to Montenegro for the country’s Revenue Administration Reform Project. The objective of that project is to improve the effectiveness of operational functions of Montenegro’s Tax Administration and to reduce the compliance costs for corporate taxpayers.

With the continued assistance from the U.S. Embassy as well as the UNDP and the World Bank, Montenegro will continue to positively progress.

– Kennisha L. Crawford

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

women's empowerment in montenegroMontenegro became a sovereign state after 55 percent of the population voted for independence in a May 2006 referendum, splitting from the former Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Women’s empowerment in Montenegro is at a complicated crossroads, with their fight for basic rights being heavily encumbered.

Women have topped the list of most discriminated groups in Montenegrin society for years. The statistics of violence are heavily skewed towards women, meaning every third woman in the state has experienced some form of violence. There is both political and social marginalization of women, visible through the lack of participation granted to women in formal institutions. As a result, most important decisions for Montenegrin society are made by men.

Misogyny is also prevalent in media, as smear campaigns against women and civil society activities have become commonplace in Montenegro. Lastly, the troubling economic situation has affected women the most, with many women being forced to work in the grey economy. This work exposes women to additional risks, as these jobs are not covered by insurance nor monitored by the government.

The latest Centre for Civic Education (CCE) research on discrimination indicated that more than 70 percent of citizens agree that the most important role of women in Montenegrin society is to be a good mother and wife. This illustrates the core problem and the difficult challenges that come with moving towards women’s empowerment in Montenegro.

Despite these struggles, there are plans being undertaken to improve the situation. The first of these is the Time for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Montenegro, which is a three-year project that was implemented between May 2014 and September 2016. It was undertaken in cooperation with the Ekvilib Inštitut and the Public Policy Institute, focusing on the fields of women’s rights and gender equality. The overall objective of the plan was to increase the visibility of the issue of gender inequality and women’s rights among the public and political actors in Montenegro.

To further women’s empowerment in Montenegro, the United Nations Development Programme has implemented a project that advocates for women’s and girl’s equal rights. The project combats discriminatory practices and challenges the roles and stereotypes that cause inequalities and exclusion in the country. Along with this, the UNDP’s goal is to support Montenegro in fulfilling its commitments of achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda.

With these programs instituted and the problems interfering with women’s empowerment in Montenegro exposed, there will be visible improvements to women’s rights and equality throughout the country.

– Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Montenegro

A Mediterranean nation located in the Balkan peninsula, Montenegro is a country with an average poverty rate of approximately 8.6 percent. The economy in the nation relies heavily upon energy industries, but it is considered to be one of the most inefficient users of energy and water. Although the country integrated into the European Union (EU) in 2012, which promoted the introduction of more rural and agricultural development and maintenance, environmental and economic strife still remain rampant.

Here are three main causes of poverty in Montenegro:

  1. Political and Economic Crises
    Wars in Montenegro, coupled with international isolation, has led to a decline in production levels in recent years. Between 1987 and 1992, the collapse of the Yugoslav federation directly implicated the nation in a series of conflicts—namely, the Bosnian and Serbian wars—that held serious ramifications for the economic opportunities in the country. As a direct product of conflict in the region, the GDP as of 2002 was approximately 63 percent of its 1989 rate. Reciprocally, unemployment skyrocketed by approximately 50 percent, and exports reduced by 65 percent. Although some improvement has been made since the start of the war, the long-lasting ramifications of the conflict linger as an ever-present reminder of the impact that the war had on the region.
  2. Energy Inefficiency
    Because it remains highly dependent on energy intensive industries, increasing resource prices contribute to the main causes of poverty in Montenegro. Due to a lack of information, awareness and financial means, the nation has not been able to make the transition toward renewable, efficient energy sources. As a result, they have continued to rely upon extremely expensive resources, limiting their capability to expand their economic resources.
  3. Ethnic Differentiation
    A 2005 study conducted by Christian Bodewig and Akshay Sethi shows that the majority of those living in poverty in Montenegro are within the Roma population. Both income and non-income determinants, such as social isolation, limited access to education and “othering,” contribute tremendously to this socioeconomic disparity.

The nation has recently been progressing in terms of its poverty reduction. Developing the success of their original Montenegro Institutional Development and Agriculture Strengthening Project (MIDAS), for example, the World Bank provided Montenegro with $3.5 million to assist the restoration of rural areas.

Still, though, the causes of poverty in Montenegro maintain a hold over the country’s economic development, limiting the opportunities, growth and progress that the country can undergo. It therefore is necessary for world powers to provide assistance to Montenegro to help combat some of these significantly influential contributors to poverty in order to ensure that the problems stemming from them do not metastasize.

Emily Chazen

Photo: Flickr