infrastructure in Vanuatu

According to a U.N. University World Risk Index, Vanuatu is the world’s most at-risk country for natural disasters. Of Vanuatu’s 250,000 citizens, approximately 90,000 per year are at risk of earthquakes. Storms put 30,000 people per year at risk. Natural hazards affect 64 percent of Vanuatu’s citizens every year, yet 81 percent lack coping capacities.

Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Jotham Napat commented on the government’s awareness of the impact natural disasters have on the community and environment, and the need for improved public infrastructure in Vanuatu. Napat emphasizes the necessity for the government to have the ability and motivation to respond to natural disasters. Emergency response should be based upon solid policies, legislation, practices and procedures to restore normality and strengthen resilience.

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015. TC Pam impacted 22 islands, killed 11 people, left thousands homeless and damaged public infrastructure. Islands affected by TC Pam suffered partial or total destruction of buildings. Vanuatu’s economic damage and losses totaled $450 million USD.

Following the storm, Vanuatu’s government approved the Infrastructure Reconstruction and Improvement Project for Vanuatu in June 2016. The goal of the project is to improve the climate and disaster resilience of specified public sector assets impacted by TC Pam; it also provides an effective and immediate response to an eligible crisis or emergency.

The project consists of five components:

  • Road reconstruction and improvement
  • School reconstruction and improvement
  • Public building reconstruction and improvement
  • Project implementation and technical support
  • Contingency emergency response

Vanuatu’s emergency response protocol will support preparedness and immediate response to eligible catastrophic events, disasters and emergencies. The project’s anticipated closing date is April 30, 2022. It is comprised of a $25 million USD credit and a $25 million USD grant.

The project is one of many established in response to TC Pam and provides 14,000 people with improved all-weather road access and 5,000 students with safer schools. Vanuatu has a 50 percent chance of experiencing another loss greater than $330 million USD within the next 50 years.

Improving infrastructure in Vanuatu will strengthen its resilience against natural disasters, thus saving human lives and reducing the cost of international intervention.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

development projects in Nauru

Nauru, the world’s smallest republic, is home to 10,000 citizens. Its economic decline corresponds with the depletion of phosphate mines in the 1980s. Phosphate mining and exports resumed in 2005, but the Nauruan government estimates the phosphate deposits’ remaining life to be 30 years.

Nauru has become increasingly dependent on aid; Australia is its largest donor. The following development projects in Nauru aim to support an economically stable and independent republic.

Aid Investment Plan 2015-2016 to 2018-2019

This project aims to promote more effective public sector management, invest in nation-building infrastructure and support human development.

Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project

Investments will provide two new fuel-efficient generators for the Nauru Utilities Corporation (NUC), help repair the corporation’s power station and support institutional strengthening of the NUC.

Port Development Project

Alleviating Nauru’s reliance on its problematic port mooring system, this project will construct a quay wall and access causeway, reconstruct port buildings and storage containers and strengthen the Nauru ports’ institutional capacity.

Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative

Sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, this project will reestablish banking services, improve financial literacy and undertake reforms to expand financial services on the island.

Nauru Infrastructure and Essential Services

One of several Australian projects in the nation, the goals of this project are to plan, coordinate and maintain essential infrastructure and utilities development, identify key priorities for infrastructure development and provide improved access to affordance priority health facilities.

Australia’s 2015-2016 aid program enabled development projects in Nauru and contributed to:

  • Maintaining 100 percent primary school enrollment
  • Achieving 100 percent coverage for tuberculosis and hepatitis B vaccines for newborns
  • Introducing Nauru’s first taxation system
  • Establishing the Intergenerational Trust for the People of Nauru
  • Adopting the Queensland Certificate of Education
  • Graduating 14 students from the University of New England with an associate’s degree in teaching
  • Addressing domestic violence and decision-making

Current development projects in Nauru focus on the broader Nauruan community’s need and the government’s development priorities. Nauru’s stabilization will promote prosperity and security in the Pacific region.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Investment Helps Spur Improved Infrastructure in Gabon
Infrastructure has become an issue of increasing salience for the country of Gabon. Diminishing growth rates and persistent poverty have become common; oil shocks have put the economy into tumultuous waters. To address this, the West African nation, with a population roughly the size of Nebraska, has recently prioritized addressing inadequate infrastructure in Gabon. It is doing so in partnership with Bechtel, a company known for its landmark development projects across the globe.

The Role of Infrastructure in Gabon

Economists agree that infrastructure is a crucial component of economic growth, especially in developing countries. Along with increased productivity, improved infrastructure also disproportionately helps the poor. This is achieved through improved access to markets and facilitating human capital accumulation and economies of scale.

Put simply, better roads, railways and ports make transporting goods easier and cheaper. Furthermore, better telecommunication infrastructure, like telephone lines and internet access, enables more participation in economic activity. Education and healthcare also become more accessible, which allows people to improve their productivity.

For infrastructure in Gabon, where less than half of airports have paved runways and only 11 percent of roads are paved, there is plenty of room for investment to catalyze improved economic output.

The State of Gabon’s Economy

Despite boasting per capita GDP rates larger than most of its underdeveloped neighbors, Gabon has found itself confronted with significant development challenges. Its economy is overly reliant on a triad of natural resources; oil, manganese, and timber exports comprise the majority of the nation’s income. Petroleum revenues alone are responsible for 45 percent of the nation’s GDP. Such a dependence on exports, particularly natural resources, typically stifles a nation’s primary sector.

Development difficulty has also been exacerbated by an often unstable business environment fostered by the government. Gabon performs poorly – 167th out of 190 – on the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which measures a nation’s ease of doing business.

Previously, corruption had effectively thrown sand in the gears of the economy. It dissuaded foreign investors and compelled them to funnel capital elsewhere. Many potential investors find the nation’s regulatory apparatus too onerous. Furthermore, oil money often does not trickle down to benefit the citizens.

However, budget shortfalls attributable to poor fiscal planning and mercurial oil prices, as well as declining growth rates have facilitated a renewed emphasis on infrastructure investments and encouraged more government transparency.

Bechtel’s Commitment to Infrastructure

Unfazed by many of the obstacles to infrastructure in Gabon, Bechtel began an ambitious “master plan” for the nation’s infrastructure in 2010. The San Francisco-based construction and civil engineering firm agreed to a $25b public-private partnership. Its aim is to “balanc[e] economic progress with social and environmental policies… includ[ing] new schools and fiber-optic communications” as well as to increase industrial capacity within the nation.

Reaping the Rewards

Bechtel’s ambition to help modernize infrastructure in Gabon has shown tangible benefits for the nation and its people. Thus far, the partnership has successfully built five thousand public housing units, the nation’s first community wastewater treatment plant, and designed a new port, marina and conference center in the capital city of Libreville.

Gabon has made significant strides in other areas, too. When Bechtel began their work, less than 6 percent of Gabonese had internet access; by July 2016, the rate was 48.1 percent.

Although public debt and pervasive poverty remain problems, investment in infrastructure has offered a blueprint for building a better environment for Gabon and improved economic prospects for its people.

– Brendan Wade

Photo: Flickr

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

infrastructure in south sudanLocated in northeastern Africa, covering approximately 644,329 square kilometers of land, South Sudan is home to over 10 million people. Prior to gaining independence from the north in 2011, it was estimated that there were about 4,000 to 5,500 kilometers of main roads, of which only 50 kilometers were paved. There were also about 7,500 kilometers of secondary roads that were also unpaved and in various conditions of ruin. Infrastructure in South Sudan has been classified as underdeveloped and has been a serious constraint on the growth of the economy.

Suitable roads and railways are a vital part of building a stable state. Structurally sound infrastructure contributes to improving access to markets, food production and economic growth. It also allows for quick and easy responses to internal conflict and increases individuals’ access to hospitals and schools.

However, it will be no easy task for South Sudan to build an effective roadway system. The country suffers from a lack of trained professionals, difficulty obtaining materials and severe rainy seasons that restrict the use of bridges.

Because South Sudan is a developing country, in order to work towards becoming more sustainable, it requires the aid of partner countries and organizations, like the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations. Investments made in the infrastructure of developing countries can only meet a small amount of the overall needs. To ensure the overall sustainability of infrastructure in South Sudan, partner countries and organizations must help to create local financial institutions and supply the country with the tools needed to govern the operation and advancement of roadways.

Some of the work that the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has contributed to South Sudan is the construction and rehabilitation of more than 430 kilometers of roads and repairs on an additional 45 kilometers, including 10 bridges and four airstrips. On behalf of USAID, UNOPS is also currently working to renovate the damaged Juba Nile Bridge.

UNOPS is also working to restore and assemble roads in remote and conflict-prone areas like Warrap, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria under programs that are currently being led by the United Nations Development Programme and funded by the South Sudan Recovery Fund. These programs intend to heighten security and address the causes of conflict occurring in the area.

The World Bank has also made contributions to South Sudan’s infrastructure by financing the construction of 424 kilometers of roads in order to help stimulate growth for communities in rural areas that are located along the roadways and to connect locals to markets, schools and healthcare facilities. The hopes of this project will be to better the lives of those inhabitants along the roadway by connecting them to the outside world.

Without better roads, infrastructure in South Sudan will not be able to tackle some of its biggest challenges. South Sudan’s government must prioritize the construction of roads and bridges in the country. The roadway system is necessary for buying and selling goods between states and with the bordering countries of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Road improvements are the first step to growing the economy in South Sudan and providing more opportunities for its people.

– Zainab Adebayo

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

infrastructure in mali
Mali is the eighth largest country in Africa bordering Algeria, Niger, Mauritania, Guinea, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso and is located in the North-Western region of the continent.

Infrastructure Development

Most of the population in Mali is concentrated in the southern area with mostly nomads inhabiting farther north. In the south, there is easier access to resources, agriculture and the market for buying/selling goods.

Infrastructure greatly reflects the accommodation to this geographic and demographic distribution. Road infrastructure in Mali is particularly keen on creating a network of connectivity between people, resources and export ports. This is why Mali has one of the most spatially concentrated infrastructure networks in the continent.

There are three international corridors that link landlocked Mali to the sea: Tema-Ouagadougou-Bamako, Dakar-Bamako and Abidjan-Ferkesessedougou-Bamako. These routes help bring Malian exports to central ports for shipping as well as interregional trade between other nations. Both of these help build the economy in Mali rather than keeping it as a self-reliant country struggling with poverty.

Local and Global Connectivity

The connectivity of road infrastructure in Mali has greatly improved local and global business prospects. For example, there is a transnational intercity highway known as Kankan-Kourémalé-Bamako that is the only way to enter and exit between Conakry (a port city in Guinea) and Bamako (the capital city of Mali). The African Development Bank Group highlights how this highway has “revolutionized the daily lives of thousands of people.” The highway has seen an increase in traffic for commuting workers who are now able to travel longer distances for better work. Traders set up their stalls along the highway and have seen a significant increase in customers and profits.

Mali does excellent work to maintain their roads, especially the significant highways and interregional methods of transport. Road infrastructure in Mali has guaranteed excellent safety for all users; in fact, a newly generated Road Authority has allowed for necessary maintenance throughout the year.

Despite inadequate funding, road infrastructure in Mali has been a highlighted priority to pave the way for economic growth. The nation’s government has directed much of its national funds toward maintenance and development of the overall road network, and as a result, Mali has set an excellent example for neighboring countries for how to diversify the economy by expanding transportation networks.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in lesotho

In the middle of South Africa lies the small, mountainous country of Lesotho. The landlocked country, also known as the Kingdom of Lesotho, gained independence from British rule in 1966.

Lesotho is a poor country with a gross income of $570 per capita and a life expectancy of 51 years for men and 56 years for women. Infrastructure in Lesotho has its strengths and weaknesses; while the country may lack secure road infrastructure, it has one natural resource that has proved profitable through the years.

Road Transportation

The main transportation infrastructure in Lesotho is an 8,000 km road system, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s transport system. The vast majority of the roads are made of gravel or earth; a smaller percentage is paved. The gravel and earth roads are often vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and the hilly, winding roads make navigating through Lesotho quite difficult. One of Lesotho’s biggest issues with road transport is a lack of safety. The country has an exceptionally high number of road incidents, especially in poor weather conditions.

In 2010, the Lesotho government elected to participate in the Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative developed by the United Nations. Member states are to adhere to the five pillars of the initiative, which are road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users and improved post-crash response. The initiative will focus largely on improving the quality of existing roads and building more paved roads throughout the country.

The project aims to decrease the number of road incidents by 50 percent in 2020, the final year of the initiative.

Water and Dams

As far as providing potable drinking water, Lesotho is comparable to most other countries in southern Africa. Lesotho does reasonably well with providing water to the rural population; however, issues of access and distance to drinking water still remain. However, with Lesotho’s numerous rivers, the country has no shortage of water overall. In fact, the water may prove profitable in the very near future.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project was established by the signing of a treaty between South Africa and Lesotho in 1986. The initiative relies on the creation of numerous dams along the Lesotho rivers and tunnels that will deliver water to South Africa. The dams will also provide hydroelectric power for Lesotho.

The project was established by the signing of a treaty between the two countries in 1986. Phase I of the project, which was completed in 2003, involved the construction of two dams: the Katse and the Mohale. The second construction of Phase I was a hydropower station that will provide hydropower energy to improve the access to and quality of electricity throughout the country. Phase II is still in progress and its projected conclusion is not until 2024.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project should benefit the overall infrastructure in Lesotho and contribute to the country’s income. Taking advantage of this abundant resource can be of great benefit to the country’s impoverished people and improve their lives greatly in the future.

– Danielle Poindexter

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.


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

infrastructure in LaosThe importance of infrastructure means road and transport connectivity, telecommunications, housing and education as sources of economic development. With these basic essentials, the economy of a country opens to the world, bringing capital and improving quality of life.

Laos is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, with natural resources accounting for a third of the growth. Power infrastructure in Laos is under development, according to the Department of Energy Business. Two-thirds of the population in Laos has access to electricity, and the power sector is working towards sustainability and energy efficiency. By promoting sustainable power, natural resources are preserved.

The Lao government plans to establish hydropower as a source of energy for the country and export electricity to neighboring countries who are in need of electric power. The government hopes that by 2020, hydropower as an infrastructure in Laos will provide profits to combat poverty within the country.

Telecommunications as an infrastructure in Laos is another necessity that needs to be addressed. The National Academic of Sciences and Engineering Medicine wrote of the importance of telecommunication as a foundation for social and economic development as well as a vital groundwork for national security.

Telecommunication as an infrastructure in Laos is slowly gaining momentum. Laos has seen countless reforms and progress of telecommunications as an infrastructure to draw the attention of foreign investors. However, internet services have been slow, a concern that many Laotians see as a deterrent to social and economic development. Fortunately, progress is expected to continue to 2022.

In 2017, infrastructure in Laos continued to improve. The Ministry of Finance and the World Bank signed a $25 million agreement to stabilize roads through maintenance. The Lao PDR Road Sector II Project is meant to improve road infrastructure for efficiency and safety. Once roads are stabilized around Laos, rural people will be able to find safety in regards to severe weather and will not have to travel on unsafe roads.

Infrastructure in Laos is slowly making progress and providing efficient and maintained infrastructure to improve its citizens’ quality of life. These efforts will have an enormous effect on alleviating poverty and growing prosperity in the country.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr