Elderly Poverty in Taiwan
In recent decades, Taiwan has made rapid improvements in the quality of life of its people, resulting in less than 1% of the population being poor or low income. Although these facts are definitely something to celebrate, Taiwan’s demographic has changed drastically during this time. People are living longer and having fewer children, causing the rate of aging in Taiwan to accelerate. In fact, Taiwan’s accelerated rate of aging is so high that it more than doubles that of European countries and the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies an “aging society” as when 7% of the population is 65 and older. Taiwan became an aging society in 1993 and estimates have determined that it will become a “super-aged society” by 2025 as about 20% of the population could be over the age of 65.

As the size of the ever-growing elderly population expands, their quality of life dissipates. Many rural counties in Taiwan have a dependency rate (the number of people 65 and older to every 100 people of traditional working ages) in excess of 10%. These rural townships lack even more services and resources, having limited access to essentials like medical and transportation services— and most notably, caregivers who leave and move to metro areas for jobs and education. This leaves the island with a dilemma on how to promote systematic endeavors— both in policies and research, as well as encouraging more involvement in non-government organizations to help with this aging issue. Here are five positive changes regarding elderly poverty in Taiwan.

5 Positive Changes Regarding Elderly Poverty in Taiwan

  1. Providing Proper Healthcare Coverage: In 2013, Taiwan introduced the National Health Insurance Program (NHI), a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan that covers annual health examinations for seniors 65 and older. NHI grants go to those aged 70 years or older with medium to low income, and grants that may include fiscal constraints from local authorities can go to citizens aged 65 to 69.
  2. Ensuring Economic Stability: A National Pension that launched in 2005 serves Taiwanese citizens who do not receive coverage from public funds. They have assured a living allowance based on their family’s financial circumstances. This secures regular, lifelong pension benefits for an elderly population living on a lower income. If there are seniors who are not receiving shelter or resettlement services from institutions, family caregivers may receive a monthly special care allowance as an additional aid. The Pilot Program, an option for senior citizens to convert their houses and land into monthly payments, is another coverage plan also taking effect and creating a positive change in regard to elderly poverty in Taiwan.
  3. Building a Long-term Care Plan: The SFAA (Social and Family Affairs Administration) implemented an initiative to improve Taiwan’s long-term home and community-based services. Beneficial services like daily routine assistance and mental and physical healthcare for the disabled are improving the quality of life of Taiwanese seniors. The SFAA has also enacted an assistive device acquisition to support in-home mobility and improvement of residential accessibility, respite care to support family caregivers, transportation to those who require long-term care, as well as providing daily healthy meals to economically disadvantaged or disabled seniors.
  4. Establishing Access to Social Welfare Programs: New developments like tour buses are providing care services spanning from inner cities to the more rural areas of the island. The SFAA developed this to encourage seniors to step outside and interact with the community. Through this service, they can learn more about social welfare benefits like health counseling, senior care, leisure and entertainment. The SFAA has also funded Senior Citizen Schools where seniors can join courses that enhance their quality of life after retirement. Seniors also have the asset of participating in the Double Ninth Festival which insights ideas of healthy-aging by staying active and involved in competitions and other activities.
  5. Addressing the Rising Alzheimers and Dementia Crisis: A dramatic rise in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia has ignited involvement in government and non-government organizations (NGOs). Amongst these organizations making a difference in elderly poverty in Taiwan is the School of Wisdom, based in Taipei. This program enables Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to keep physically and mentally stimulated and live a fuller, happier life. Programs such as these provide helpline services, care and nursing facilities, education websites and support gatherings for the patients and their caregivers.

Adapting to a New Demographic

As Taiwan’s economic prosperity continues to evolve at a continuing rate, it is important to pay attention to those who may be falling behind. Taking affirmative action on positive changes to end elderly poverty in Taiwan is the greatest way for the Taiwanese to stay true to their rooted cultural values of respecting one’s elders and to ensure that citizens in need are experiencing an optimal quality of life.

– Alyssa McGrail
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in TaiwanTaiwan is an independent island nation off the coast of mainland China. The democratic nation of Taiwan has struggled since gaining its independence in 1949 with a political divide over its sovereignty as its economy remains dependent on an already strained connection to China. With a population of over 23.7 million and only 1.5% living in poverty, Taiwan’s GNI per capita is estimated to be over $29,500. While hunger in Taiwan only affects a minuscule proportion of the population, the small country has taken impressive steps in alleviating global hunger, while implementing food waste and distribution solutions to assist its citizens facing hunger.

Taiwan’s Supply Chain

As an isolated island with the average citizen wealthy enough to make selective consumption choices, Taiwan’s food supply chain relies heavily on imported goods. In 2018, Taiwan imported $4 billion in agricultural goods. Taiwan’s food self-sufficiency rate is estimated to be only 30%. The Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, has committed to raising the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate to 40% during her term. Ing-wen and other government officials are working in conjunction with Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture to promote the consumption of domestically produced food and to bolster food stockpiles, which already contain 28 months’ worth of essential food items.

Food Waste

Taiwan produces an estimated 16.5 million tons of food waste. Taiwan implemented a fee on all other forms of waste and recyclables almost 20 years ago but has no fee for food waste. With Taiwan’s urban population booming and arable farmland declining in availability, the environmental, national security and economic costs of food waste have risen to the top of the political agenda. Taiwan plans to build several anaerobic biological treatment centers for food waste in the coming years and privatizing the food waste economy to create financial incentives for companies, yet these steps are only the start of a much needed long-term solution.

Domestic Hunger Relief

Data from Taiwan’s 2018 National Agricultural Congress showed that 1.8 million Taiwanese are underfed or lack food security. Despite a poverty rate of under 2%, hunger in Taiwan affects 7.8% of the population. In 2007, that percentage was only 3.6%. The rapid increase sparked government initiatives to reduce hunger in Taiwan. In 2019 alone, the government announced a nationally-funded food bank’s opening, expanded healthcare for agricultural workers, passed The Agricultural Wholesale Market Management Regulation and the Food Administration Act. The new resources and legislature aim to stabilize food prices, protect rural populations and improve data collection of the relationship between food waste and hunger in Taiwan.

Global Hunger Relief

In addition to taking steps to minimize hunger in Taiwan, its government has emerged as a strong contributor to providing global hunger aid and solutions. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides hunger relief through programs funded by it’s International Cooperation and Development Fund. Through this funding, Taiwan supports The Horticulture Project in the Marshall Islands, which promotes agricultural education development. Taiwan also worked with Action against Hunger in 2019 to improve refugee living conditions in parts of Asia and Africa, improving food accessibility for over 12,000 refugees. That same year, Taiwan launched rice donation programs to supply almost 10,000 tons of rice in Jordan, Mongolia, Namibia, Guatemala and South Africa.

Moving forward, as its government pledges to address hunger in Taiwan, perhaps even stronger efforts can be made by the Taiwanese to reduce global hunger. While Taiwan grapples with innovative approaches to reducing food waste and alleviating domestic hunger, it continues to set precedent for global hunger relief efforts.

Caledonia Strelow
Photo: Flickr

Indigenous People of Taiwan
Taiwan is an island nation off the coast of China that houses 560,000 indigenous peoples — around 2.7% of the entire population. In the 1940s, the Chinese Civil War forced the Republic of China (ROC) to relocate its base to Taiwan, causing 1.4 million people to migrate from the mainland. Prior to this incident, in 1895, Japan defeated the Qing empire for Taiwan in the First Sino-Japanese War. War has ravaged native families and brought thousands of colonists to the country. This decreased the number of aboriginal people and created a divide between the settlers and the indigenous people of Taiwan.

The Reasons Behind Poverty

Due to consistent colonization since the 1600s, the native people of Taiwan (originally Formosa) have faced persistent oppression. Under Dutch rule from 1624 to 1662, the indigenous people of Taiwan had to convert to Christianity. Colonists also recruited them for military services and placed them into strenuous jobs. Japanese soldiers in the early 1900s raped women, illegally took land and enslaved indigenous men. In 1914, the Japanese killed over 10,000 aboriginal inhabitants of the Taroko area, resulting in the major uprising the Wushe Rebellion of 1930.

Oppression and discrimination have quelled the process of native people integrating into modern society. Most of the indigenous people of Taiwan remain below the poverty line. Household incomes of aboriginal families are 40% lower than the national average. A study by an Academia Sinica sociologist surveyed Han people of Taiwan: only 40% of families would let their children marry an aboriginal person while 80% allowed their children to marry another Han person. This is shocking evidence of the prominence of societal discrimination. The Democratic Progressive Party leaders have been heard calling indigenous peoples racial slurs to suppress and insult aboriginal people. Many businesses still refuse to employ aborigines. The problem worsened when an influx of workers from southeast Asian countries came in and competed for traditionally aboriginal jobs.

Natural disasters that often rampage the island consistently annihilate sources of income for indigenous families. Typhoon Morakot, a fatal category 2 typhoon that hit Taiwan in August of 2009, killed 673 people, mostly from aboriginal villages. Landslides and heavy winds destroyed villages and small economies. An earthquake on September 21, 1999 killed over 2,400 people and sent 100,000 people into homelessness.

The Effects of Being in Poverty

Poverty in indigenous communities has hurt their access to education, insurance and healthcare and is exacerbating the inequality gap. In 2013, 10% of aboriginal students dropped out of college. Of those, 12% could not afford to continue their education. Although 90% of aboriginal college students receive a higher-level education at private universities, they tend to be more expensive causing many students to have financial burdens. Despite the 12-year compulsory education system, aboriginal students in rural areas receive a substandard education. Financial struggles prevent 3% of students from enrolling in school. Aboriginal parents often move to the city for work while their children provide for themselves. Sometimes, the oldest sibling drops out to take care of their younger siblings.

According to a survey that professors at the National Taiwan University conducted, 45% of indigenous participants believe that they are least likely to be hired and promoted compared to Han people. The study also found that the indigenous people of Taiwan lack access to social welfare services. This leads to the widening gap of inequality among the rich and poor, as well as between the Han and indigenous people. In 1985, the income gap between the indigenous people and the national average was $3,702 (USD), while in 2006 it increased to $20,006 (USD). Gradual increases in inequality build higher obstacles for indigenous people to conquer.

Combatting Poverty

The Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) is a group of ethnically indigenous government individuals, working to improve the life of indigenous people of Taiwan. Recently, CIP initiated the Four-Year Plan to develop a proper social welfare system to protect aboriginal individuals. The government hopes to increase employment by providing internship opportunities to the indigenous youth and creating websites like “Indigenous Job Agency.” The CIP also guides aboriginal businesses, teaching companies how to market, package and sell their products in the metropolitan area. They aim to develop a “sustainable self-sufficient industrial model” in indigenous villages. A self-sufficient model will help businesses survive with the modern market economy and traditional manufacturing skills. CIP also plans to increase healthcare services and protect indigenous rights to bridge the inequality gap.

The Renewal Foundation, a nongovernmental organization devoted to children’s education, is helping bring people out of poverty. The Bunun Tribe’s official website, run by the Bunun Cultural and Educational Foundation and the Bunun Tribal Leisure Farm, aims to develop educational and financial sectors of their own communities.

Taiwanese indigenous communities are gradually rising out of poverty. Recent statistics have shown increasing education rates and income equality. With assistance from the government and other institutions, aboriginal people will preserve their cultural heritage and reintegrate back into society.

Zoe Chao
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Healthcare in TaiwanUniversal healthcare in Taiwan provides health services indiscriminately to the country’s constituents. Healthcare itself is highly regarded as important for nations looking to care for impoverished citizens. Taiwan, an island country in East Asia, provides universal healthcare to its population of more than 23 million. Here are 6 facts about healthcare in Taiwan under the National Health Insurance (NHI) program.

6 Facts About Healthcare in Taiwan

  1. Taiwan is under a single-payer healthcare system. Under a single-payer model, one public agency controls healthcare for everyone. Taiwan implemented this system of universal healthcare in 1995 as recommended by then-advisor Uwe Reinhardt. Reinhardt pushed for an equitable healthcare program that would cover all citizens effectively without bias. Before the implementation of the program, private insurance companies provided coverage for around 57% of the country’s citizens; universal healthcare provides for 100%.
  2. Enrollment in national healthcare is mandatory. All Taiwanese citizens must be enrolled in the NHI program, as well as travelers staying in Taiwan for more than six months. The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) covers everyone in Taiwan. Citizens have NHI IC cards that contain their medical records.
  3. Taiwanese citizens still have autonomy within the system. While the healthcare system is national, doctors and hospitals still operate privately. Residents of Taiwan may choose which establishments they visit, but they must present their NHI IC cards when they receive treatment. After treating patients, hospitals and doctors claim payment from the NHIA. Patients may be charged a small copayment depending on their income.
  4. NHI covers virtually everything. NHI guarantees free coverage for preventive care such as child care and cancer screenings. It provides care for mental health as well as general primary care. Citizens under NHI are also given access to the basics, such as medicine (modern and traditional) and checkups. Some private insurance companies also exist, which citizens may choose to patronize based on needs that don’t exist within the NHI system, such as very specific types of medicine or treatment.
  5. Costs are low for everyone. The NHIA stratifies patients based on their income and financial need, which means that low-income workers have their healthcare completely subsidized. The NHI, however, has capped copayment amounts that benefit even high-income patients. The system caps prescription drug copayments at $6.64 and specialized physician visits at about $14. Approval ratings for the national healthcare system are higher than ever with more than 80% of Taiwanese citizens expressing their approval.
  6. The healthcare system is incredibly efficient. Because of the nationalized system, healthcare administration costs are low in Taiwan. As a result, the country only spends about 6% of its GDP on the healthcare system every year. In comparison, the U.S. spent almost 18% of its GDP on healthcare in 2018. This is one of the lowest rates for a country with healthcare as developed as Taiwan.

Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system is an example of universal healthcare that benefits all. Healthcare is consistently an important factor in poverty alleviation because basic medical treatment can stretch lifespans and save lives. Giving the impoverished access to healthcare is an important step in fighting poverty. While Taiwan may have an efficient and beneficial system, many people globally remain in need of healthcare services.

Maggie Sun
Photo: Pixabay

Taiwan is an East Asian country situated in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines. Given its close proximity to China and its high population density, the island nation faced a high risk of devastation from COVID-19. Despite these factors, however, Taiwan has managed to maintain control over the virus. The country recorded an incredibly low number of cases in comparison to the size of its population.

A Success Story

COVID-19 first made it to Taiwan on January 21, 2020. Despite Taiwan’s proximity to China and its population of over 23 million, the total number of cases as of August 2020 remains under 500, with only 7 confirmed deaths. Of these cases, a majority of them occurred in March 2020. The country saw few cases in April, as well as in the following months. COVID-19 in Taiwan has experienced no local transmission of the virus for over 100 days, while many other countries worldwide continue to struggle with increasing numbers. Of the 467 confirmed cases, over 400 of them were from overseas arrivals and an outbreak on a naval ship, leaving less than 100 cases the result of citizen-to-citizen transmission within the country. The success in the battle against COVID-19 in Taiwan is largely attributed to a few key factors.

Healthcare in Taiwan

The pre-existing infrastructure of Taiwan’s healthcare system proved to be a vital tool in their successful approach toward fighting COVID-19. Taiwan’s national health insurance exists as a universal, mandatory coverage system that applies to all residents and long-term visitors. A single-payer system powers this universal coverage, which receives most of its funding from payroll-based premiums. However, the government offers significant subsidies for certain groups including low-income households and civil servants, among others. Coverage encompasses preventative and primary care, along with more specialized sectors of treatment such as mental health services and hospital stays. Most care is provided through private providers.

The initial response to COVID-19 in Taiwan included an aggressive initial reaction to the virus. The country immediately developed rapid testing and widely distributed masks to healthcare workers and citizens. Though this universal system has existed in Taiwan since the late 1980s, it is a newer development that lent an unexpected hand in national COVID-19 defense.

Contact Tracing

A crucial component of Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 lies in its advanced immigration database and rapid information sharing system. This system helped tremendously in slowing the spread of the virus. Taiwan’s immigration database allows medical providers to access travel information for patients. This helped with early detection and determination of high-risk areas. Robust contact tracing allowed the Taiwanese government to rigorously track cases and put isolation protocols into place based on the data in order to contain larger community outbreaks.  “Digital fencing” identified individuals at greater risk in order to quarantine them. The Taiwanese government also put into place measures to support those facing isolation, including laundry services, meal assurance and transportation to medical appointments. These kinds of services offered further incentives for individuals to follow strict isolation protocols. Citizen’s cooperation helped to quickly suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.

Cultural Advantages

The Taiwanese response to COVID-19 was also strengthened by a few cultures anomalies, including its prior battle with SARS in 2003. Immediately upon discovery of an abnormal respiratory illness out of Wuhan, Taiwan tightened its borders. They also began thorough testing on those arriving from affected areas. Taiwan also utilizes a historically transparent approach to public health, keeping its citizens informed and answering questions about the progression of the virus. This has led to a culture that tends to follow government guidance. Taiwan also has the additional advantage of an established culture of mask-wearing. While other countries struggle to adhere to mask guidelines, Taiwan transitioned more easily; masks were already a socially acceptable accessory.

Jazmin Johnson

Photo: The Diplomat

homelessness in taiwanHomelessness is a pervasive problem in all parts of the world, even in places that seem as technologically advanced as Taiwan. While Taiwan has made headlines for its fast-growing economy, its government has been stringent with social safety nets, providing little help or resources to their homeless population. The fact that homelessness in Taiwan is a problem at all is surprising. Taiwan has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world and a high rate of homeownership; almost 85% of households in Taiwan own their homes.

Even still, Taiwan does have a homeless problem, especially in the capital city of Taipei. While there are homeless shelters, most of them are privately funded and have long waiting lists to get in. But the major problem facing homeless people in Taiwan isn’t access to housing, it’s access to stable employment. With this in mind, local groups within Taipei have been creating innovative strategies to help the homeless within the city, which contains the majority of Taiwan’s homeless population. Here are some important facts about homelessness in Taiwan, as well as the creative solutions being proposed to help the homeless get off of the streets.

Demographics

The homeless are often under-counted. While almost 9,300 people were reported as homeless in 2017 (almost double the number reported in 2013) this statistic may not be completely accurate. As long as a person’s family has some form of housing, they would not be considered homeless even if they are currently sleeping on the streets. Without accurate data, the government and other organizations can not properly address the problem of homelessness in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s homeless tend to be elderly, male, blue-collar workers. The exporting of production-line jobs to China, combined with Taiwan’s increased housing prices, has caused many factory workers to lose their jobs and become homeless. The majority of the workforce was men over 50, who are now the majority of the homeless in Taiwan. While the average age of homeless people in Taiwan is 55, they usually have only received an elementary school education, making it hard for them to find employment.

Causes

Low birth rates contribute to homelessness in Taiwan. Wages are stagnant while prices increase, making it harder for people to afford to have children in Taiwan. This decrease in birth rates has led to an older population, which in turn leads to elderly people getting abandoned due to the lack of resources within a family.

There is a stereotype against the homeless. A common opinion among society in Taiwan is that homeless people are “naturally inclined” to become homeless, whether that be because they like to roam the streets or they simply dislike working. However, a 2013 study showed that 90% of homeless people were on the streets due to circumstances out of their control; long-term unemployment was cited as the number one reason for homelessness in Taiwan. In “Living Conditions of the Homeless in Taipei,” Shu-rong Li showed that almost 50% of people were homeless due to an inability to pay rent. Not only that, but landlords were more likely to deny renting to single men ages 55-65 because of concerns about their economic statuses.

There is not enough government housing in Taiwan. Only 3% of the total housing stock in Taiwan is publicly-funded government housing. Because of this, it can take up to seven years to get into public housing, whereas private housing is almost immediate. Private housing (outside of major cities) is the popular choice of homeless people who need a place to live.

Solutions

There are already groups working on the ground in Taipei to end homelessness in Taiwan. Their solutions usually center around helping the homeless get back into the workforce. The Homeless Taiwan Association provides just these opportunities: in the organization’s Hidden Taipei tours, they train and employ homeless people to give tours of the city. In its first year in 2015, the Hidden Taipei tours attracted almost 2,000 customers and received many favorable reviews.

Not only does the Homeless Taiwan Association employ homeless people, but the organization also works to provide shelter, social service, counseling, and legal aid to those on the streets. They say that the way forward to end homelessness in Taiwan is by helping the homeless become self-sufficient, changing the stigma around homelessness and enhancing the public understanding of poverty.

– Hannah Daniel
Photo: Pixabay

Prosperity in TaiwanAfter World War II, Taiwan faced severe poverty. The conflict between China and Japan ravaged the land, and the Chinese Civil War that followed brought about even more destruction. By then, the majority of the Taiwanese people lived in absolute poverty; over 60% of the population were farmers just scraping by. However, as of 2019, Taiwan’s GDP broke $1.2 trillion. With a Purchasing Power Parity of $52,300, Taiwan now ranks 19th highest in terms of GDP per capita. So, how did prosperity in Taiwan develop so quickly?

Foreign Aid

After the war, nations, especially the United States, provided aid for hundreds of millions. From 1950 to 1965, U.S. Aid accounted for roughly 6.5% of Taiwan’s GDP. The stimulus worked: the funds sparked Taiwan’s economy and resulted in self-sustainable and rapid economic growth. The country became part of a group called The Four Asian Tigers, consisting of Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The rapid industrialization of these nations pushed their economic growth rates near 8%, which is an extraordinarily high mark. In Taiwan’s case, this phenomenon became known as the Taiwan Miracle.

Agricultural Economy

When the Japanese occupied Taiwan, they established a tenant farming system. More than 70% of farmers were part of this system, where they labored only to give the majority of their harvest to their landlords. The distribution of land, wealth and power was absurdly unequal.

However, after the war, in 1949, Taiwan’s Provisional Governor, Chen Cheng, advocated for land reform that would allow farmers to own the land they toiled. The revolution took place without bloodshed. Moreover, rice yield went up 46% in just a 4-year span after the reform, from 1.037 million metric tons in 1948 to 1.517 million metric tons in 1952. This increased yield freed up a vast labor source, who left the farms and sought new opportunities.

Investing in People

With little natural resources on the island, Taiwan took to investing in its greatest asset: the people. An indicator called the Human Development Index score is calculated in regards to the standard of living, life expectancy and education of a country. Taiwan’s Human Development Index score of 0.880 ranks them 6th in Asia.

Taiwan’s investments in education led to valuable innovation. In 1987, Taiwan established the world’s first semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Today, TSMC is the third-largest producer of semiconductors, right behind South Korea’s Samsung and the United States’ Intel. These chips are found in electrical devices around the world, and, moreover, TSMC provides thousands of high-paying jobs. The current state of the Taiwanese economy sets a definitive difference from the agricultural economy just a few decades ago; prosperity in Taiwan is exponentially greater today than it used to be.

Conclusion

Taiwan’s rapid shift from poor to prosperous, also known as the Taiwan Miracle, demonstrates how foreign aid can greatly influence the development of a nation. Their story is one of rags to riches on a national scale.

Today, prosperity in Taiwan marks the country among the wealthiest in Asia despite its small size. Taiwan has experienced the first-hand benefits of aid; now, Taiwan has become a donor itself. The country works to lessen poverty, increase harvests and assist with medical care across the globe. Perhaps the countries receiving Taiwan’s aid will someday become the next helping hand, and the Taiwan Miracle will live on in the receiving and giving of other developing countries to continue the chain effect of poor to prosperous.

Jacob Pugmire
Photo: Unsplash

Renewable Energy in Taiwan
Renewable energy in Taiwan has not always been a priority. However, in recent years, more companies and businesses are starting to push renewable resources to the forefront. This is having a huge effect on both the economy and international relations. By investing in these renewable resources rather than importing fossil fuels, Taiwan will become more self-reliant. Here are five facts about renewable energy in Taiwan.

5 Facts About Renewable Energy in Taiwan

  1. Oil still supplies 48 percent of energy to the country. Renewable energy in Taiwan is not as popular as in Brazil, where renewable energy supplies more than two-thirds of the country with power. However, Taiwan has begun to shift its focus towards more renewable resources. Diversifying fuel sources has advantages. By being able to harness solar and wind power, Taiwan can depend on its own nation for power rather than importing coal from other parts of the world. Currently, Taiwan imports 98 percent of all of its non-renewable energy. Adding locally sourced solar and wind power could help create jobs, adding to the domestic economy.
  2. Taiwan is investing $1 trillion into renewable energy. This investment, which will take place over the next several years, should make Taiwan one of Asia’s greenest countries. The money will go towards building solar panels, wind panels and green roofing. Additionally, the government will spend some of the funds on denuclearizing Taiwan. The Taiwanese government reports this will create at least 20,000 new jobs while increasing the overall amount of renewable energy powering the country by 20 percent.
  3. Renewable energy in Taiwan is a major focus over the next few years. With the new trillion-dollar investment, Taiwan will begin a new era prioritizing renewable resources. By the end of 2020, Taiwan will add an additional 2.2 GW of solar power nationally. By the end of 2025, Taiwan should continue growing and supply approximately 20 GW of solar power. The plan is to build the solar panels on rooftops and in agricultural areas. Around 1,000 hectares of farmland will redevelop into a solar farm to boost the overall renewable energy in the nation.
  4. Taiwan has a Green Bond System. Starting in 2013, the Green Bond System has been helping Taiwanese businesses raise funds for their environmentally-friendly products. Many different types of projects can use the Green Bond System. Some examples are projects related to climate change, renewable energy, environmental protection and carbon reduction. Denmark-headquartered wind energy company Ørsted used these green bonds to develop wind farms in Taiwan. This helps to create new jobs by funding businesses that may not receive financial assistance otherwise.
  5. Renewable energy solutions are helping to reduce poverty. By increasing access to renewable energy, Taiwan should continue increasing the overall national employment rate, which will lower the poverty rate. While the exact number of new employment opportunities is unknown, the Taiwanese government has assured the population that jobs will continue to grow with the renewable energy sector. There will also be opportunities for data engineers, machine learning scientists, data scientists and many business marketing jobs. A report from 2019 showed that there is a 12 percent increase in the technology sector for jobs relating to renewable energy. The data also points out that after just 12 months in a job, many employees receive a 15 percent salary increase.

Renewable energy is proving to be a very promising sector in Taiwan. It is providing new jobs to citizens and improving the overall way of life. By creating its own renewable energy, Taiwan is quickly becoming a more self-reliant and resilient country. With this continued focus, the nation will generate more opportunities for its citizens while helping to fight climate change.

– Asha Swann
Photo: Flickr

Eradicating Poverty Through ICTs
Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) are social networking websites, instant messaging programs, cell phones and other technologies that allow people to communicate quickly and globally. Information emanates through these technologies allowing developing countries to step into the digital world. Eradicating poverty through ICTs now seems plausible as citizens include themselves in new economic and coordinated opportunities.

ICTs’ Range of Impact

In the Asia-Pacific, governments utilize ICTs to expand markets and introduce services. They have adapted to using e-commerce, supporting businesses that allow more people to become engaged with the government and programs. New strategies constantly emerge as Asian-Pacific authorities and organizations address poverty.

Bangladesh

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides solutions globally for poverty and these differ depending on the country. In Bangladesh, the UNDP pushed an initiative called the Access to Information Act or the a2i. The main focus of this act is to offer citizens the right to public information, allowing multiple interpretations for data such as records. By implementing this act, Bangladesh has reduced the costs of access to health and education information services. The amount of time it took for residents to receive information on their phones or computers dropped by 85 percent and the cost dropped by 63 percent. Digitization of rural areas has saved the local residents half a billion dollars.

Vietnam

The UNDP focuses on e-government policies. According to the United Nations, e-government encompasses the delivery and exchange of information between government and citizens. Vietnam now supports online businesses and allows people to pay taxes over the computer. Services, as an effect, run more efficiently and people have more ready access to transfers or deposits. The number of internet broadband subscribers reached 11.5 million and many expect it to grow 9 percent annually along with 47.2 million on cellular data due to the rapid growth of applications. ICTs affect the way the country runs as well; towns have adopted ICTs, using them in creative ways to provide water and electricity.

Taiwan

Recently, Taiwan has grown into a major manufacturer of ICTs, leading to the export of its products. The Cloud Computing Association of Taiwan (CCAT) devotes itself to making the country an exporter of cloud software. At home, these developed cloud systems save service providers 50 percent, avoiding the need to purchase from overseas. The country’s National Communications Commission proposes to provide all of its citizens with ICTs. It appoints companies to offer universal broadband access to mountain villages, projected to make Taiwan the first country with complete internet coverage. Rural peoples have access to data, and the government offers programs to teach rural residents how to properly use technologies, adapting more to the digital age, helping the goal of eradicating poverty through ICTs.

How ICTs Affect Poverty in the Long Run

The UNDP believes that ICTs should create a direct change in the economy and welfare of various nations. However, failure to address the issue to all people in a country, globally too, creates a gap between those accustomed to technology and those who are not. To continue on the path of eradicating poverty through ICTs, governments must continue to pledge support and work with organizations. The countries above benefit by having their governments providing opportunities to learn new technology as well as adapting technology for other everyday services.

Daniel Bertetti
Photo: Flickr

Life Expectancy in Taiwan

Taiwan is a small island off the eastern coast of China. The small country, rich in culture, food and language, is also known for their longevity and aging population. Additionally, over time, Taiwan has seen an increase in advocacy for better living standards of citizens of Taiwan; in turn, increasing the life expectancy in Taiwan. Here are the top 10 facts about life expectancy in Taiwan.

Top 10 Facts About Life Exectancy in Taiwan:

  1. According to the CIA World Factbook, Taiwan’s life expectancy is 80.4 years old. For men, it ranks at 77.2 years and for women, 83.7 years. As a whole, the country ranks 43rd globally in life expectancy.
  2. The Taipei Times state that, the country is experiencing a long-term improvement in life expectancy, as a result of the National Health Insurance, better hospitals and higher standards of living.
  3. Residents living on the west coast have a longer life expectancy than those living on the east. This is because many of the major cities are in locations closer to financial districts. These include Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taichung, which are on the west coast, closer to China and Hong Kong, financial capitals.
  4. Taiwan has been experiencing a longer life expectancy since 1950. The era during the mid-1990s was a period of growth for Taiwan. For example, during this time, more than a million people traveled from Mainland China to Taiwan, many of which were better educated, with distinct professional profiles. Since then, Taiwan has been experiencing a rapid demographic transition and substantial economic development. In turn, there has been a decline in mortality and an increase in health and life expectancy.
  5. Taitung, a county on the east coast of Taiwan, has the shortest life expectancy at 75.05 years, according to the Ministry of Interior statistics. Taitung’s life expectancy is five years less than the national average due to several possible factors. This includes deficient transportation infrastructure, fewer medical services and lifestyle choices. It is evident that the effects of poverty have impacts on the longevity of the population. Some of these effects include a lack of access to medical resources and transportation.
  6. According to Focus Taiwan, life spans have been increasing steadily for decades. In fact, it has increased from 78.4 in 2017 to 80.4 presently. This is due to improvements in medical care, awareness of public food safety and the growing popularity of exercise. Improvements in the health sector by the government and general changes in mentality around diet and exercise in the public are clear indicators of the reduction of poverty, resulting in longer lives.
  7. As life expectancy in Taiwan’s grows, so does the aging population which n turn puts pressure on welfare and pension programs. To combat this, Taiwan has instated the Long-term Care Plan 2.0, a 10-year initiative that aims to provide affordable, comprehensive care to the aging population. For example, centers like Wei Ai Lun operate under the Long-term Care Plan 2.0. This center and provides activities and programs for seniors to engage, socialize and become active parts of their communities. Programs like the Long-term Care Plan 2.0 are part of Taiwan’s effort to consolidate their aging population.
  8. According to the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, around 86.3 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. However, the Taiwanese life span of men and women is continually growing. This is due to the National Health Insurance Program, a compulsory social insurance plan that covers examinations for elders no matter their age or income. The maintenance of the health of senior citizens is one of the major factors in life expectancy in Taiwan.
  9. Taiwan’s long-living population is a result of lifelong learning actively promoted by the government. In 2006, the Taiwanese government released a white paper titled, “Toward the Aged Society: Policies on Education for Older Adults,” which aims to encourage older adults to be active participants in their community. The government encourages socialization, autonomy and engagement of thousands of older adult through learning classes held throughout Taiwan.
  10. Taiwan’s success in preserving its older population is due to efforts in not only providing medical services and promoting lifelong learning. It expands to also devoting resources to developing geriatric research. Organizations like the Taiwan Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (TAGG) work to improve the lives of older adults by advancing studies in gerontology and geriatrics. Other organizations like the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly (FWE) advocate and protect elders’ rights.

Life expectancy in Taiwan has been steadily growing since the 1950s. Although its resulting aging population puts a strain on pension and welfare systems, the Taiwanese government’s endeavors on aging through policy, research and promotion have evidently resulted in great successes in the older adult populations.

– Andrew Yang
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