According to the World Bank, the Republic of Moldova oversaw a reduction of extreme poverty in 2011 from 7% to a rate of 3.1% in 2013. Although the Republic of Moldova has made remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty, the republic remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. However, the Slovak Republic’s foreign aid is helping communities in Moldova garner clean drinking water and more.
About the Republic of Moldova
The problems facing the Republic of Moldova in reducing poverty include a domestic economy that is highly dependent on agriculture and remittances, a severe drought in 2020 that obstructed agricultural production and the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the problems, Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has put further strain on Moldova’s administrative capacity as the country is quickly approaching a point in which Moldova can no longer safely accept more refugees. The Republic of Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita asked the U.S. on March 6, 2022, to send more humanitarian aid assistance in response to Moldova taking in more than 120,000 displaced people as a consequence of the war in Ukraine.
According to the United Nations 2020 Voluntary National Review on the Republic of Moldova, the country is working towards clean water access for the population. The road towards clean water for Moldova requires addressing the insufficient investment in the management of wastewater. It will also require renewed efforts in water resource management. The problems remain in part due to the lack of institutional reforms and how 54% of the drinking water samples do not meet the sanitary and chemical norms for drinking water quality.
The Republic of Moldova has increased its population’s access to water sources by 9%, to 82.1% at the end of 2018. Furthermore, the proportion of the rural population with access to water supply sources leaped from 56.9% in 2014 to 71.2% in 2018. One can credit this achievement in ensuring access to water sources for the Moldovan people to the continuing combined efforts of the Republic of Moldova, the Slovak Republic and the United States.
A Brief History
The Slovak Republic’s foreign aid programs warrant attention because this government recently joined the fight in eradicating poverty in developing countries. The Slovak Republic initially implemented its foreign aid programs in 2007 with the establishment of the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation. The commitments of the programs were expanded upon when the Slovak Republic joined the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD in 2013.
Slovak Republic’s Foreign Aid Today
The scope of the foreign aid programs varies. The Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAIDC) lists three ‘Programme Countries’ including Georgia, Kenya and Moldova. The government also has several ‘Partner Regions’ in which the cooperation provides foreign aid assistance including Eastern sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Western Balkans.
In 2020, the Slovak Republic provided $140 million in foreign aid, which represents 0.14% of the 2020 gross national income (GNI). This is a marked increase in foreign aid spending for the country. It places the country as the 26th largest Development Assistance Committee country when comparing the official development assistance it provides to its GNI.
To understand the work that the Slovak Republic’s foreign aid is doing, it is important to take a look at the programs the Slovak Republic is implementing in the Republic of Moldova. The problems that the Republic of Moldova is facing range from a stalemated conflict to complex political, economic and social developments, as well as emigration causing social problems, particularly in rural areas.
Additionally, the problems have compounded due to what SlovakAID deems as development challenges including most of the working-age population going abroad to work, long-term problems with the quality of water resources and drinking water supply, inefficient waste management, the existence of environmental burdens and weak development of the business community. Several of the problems facing the Republic of Moldova today result from inadequate infrastructure, especially water supply and treatment infrastructure which consequently further strains the agricultural sector of the economy.
Goals of SlovakAID in the Republic of Moldova
The three objectives of SlovakAID in Moldova encompass sharing Slovakia’s transition experience supporting a democratic stable Moldova, improving the quality of life and health of citizens via sustainable water management and improving the performance of the business sector.
How is the Slovak Republic Addressing These Problems?
The Slovak Republic employs a range of developmental tools varying from the provision of grants and financial contributions provided by the embassies of the Slovak Republic, Sharing Slovak Expertise programme activities, projects for the deployment of volunteers and expert volunteers, government scholarships and financial contributions.
Progress Towards Prosperity
SlovakAID is leading a project that seeks to improve the quality of life for people in the Ialoveni municipality in Moldova through improving access to clean drinking water and raising awareness about water management. SlovakAID initially started this project in January 2020 with a deadline of March 2022. SlovakAID’s project will support the provision of quality water and sanitation infrastructure, which includes the rehabilitation of 1,035 meters (3,395 feet) of the water connection system to ensure access to reliable drinking water. SlovakAID is also raising awareness regarding water management and environmental responsibility through education campaigns.
The Slovak Republic and its foreign aid recipients have already seen success in similar programs it has completed. In September 2021, the Slovak Republic, in collaboration with Shingala Azad NGO, successfully installed two water wells and a water reservoir that now supplies sufficient water to the people living in the municipalities of Shekhka and Hasan Ava in Iraq. This program’s success was due in part to educational programs raising awareness on water management similar to how SlovakAID is running in the Ialoveni municipality in the Republic of Moldova.
Exciting Developments in Development
According to USAID Administrator Samantha Powers, the Slovak Republic is a foreign aid success story in its own right, joining the EU in 2004 and becoming an international development donor after receiving USAID support between 1990 and 2000. On February 3, 2022, Administrator Samantha Powers and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Ivan Korčok held a meeting and signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
This memorandum calls for an additional three years of collaboration between SlovakAID and USAID. Through the previous MOU the Slovak Republic and USAID jointly supported community development in Moldova, enabling North Macedonia to continue making progress in its path towards joining the European Union and helping those without housing in Belgrade access clean water, sanitation and essential health care.
With this new MOU implemented, the Slovak Republic alongside USAID has renewed its continued commitment to eradicating extreme poverty around the world. Investment in the Slovak Republic via U.S. foreign aid and USAID has shown continued returns on investment. The Slovak Republic has since affirmed its place in the fight against global poverty as the country recently became the 26th highest donor of foreign aid on a GNI per capita basis. Among other returns on investment, the Slovak Republic has been able to branch out its developmental efforts in the neighboring Republic of Moldova and assist far from home in municipalities in Iraq. The Slovak Republic has made great leaps in foreign assistance, but there is much more progress that needs to occur, hence the new MOU is an exciting development for further development.
– Chester Lankford