Ecuador is a South American country bordering the Pacific Ocean. Its rich history, vibrant culture and diverse landscape make it a hotbed for tourism, agriculture and natural resources. Despite the broadness of Ecuador’s economy, its citizens have lived through inequality and poverty. However, development projects in Ecuador are strengthening its economy and expanding access to its people.
The overall health of Ecuadorians has improved dramatically in recent years. Deaths due to malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and under-five mortality rates are all below the global baseline set by the World Health Organization. This can, in part, be attributed to programs such as the Peace Corps’ community health projects. These programs seek to improve access to maternity care and birth control and to prevent tropical diseases, among other things.
Infrastructure – Roads
Ecuador’s coastal roads were little more than dirt paths until an $800 million allotment in the late 1990s with an additional $5 billion planned. The last ten years alone have seen 700 miles of new roads built, roughly a tenth of Ecuador’s entire road network.
Infrastructure – Water
Along with Ecuador’s road system, improved sewage management is helping develop the country’s infrastructure. While there is an abundance of water in Ecuador, roughly 10 percent of drinking water is untreated. Sustainable water systems are Ecuador’s goal, of course, but the country has made tremendous strides in updating its sewage system over the last few years. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through a new wastewater treatment plant in the city of Santiago de Guayaquil, strategically placed between two major rivers.
The First Social Development Project serves to modernize Ecuador’s education system. The World Bank is overseeing the development of this project and seeks to improve education through multiple means. These include improving classroom materials and teacher training, decentralizing management and offering assessment programs to ensure continued improvement across the board. Additionally, the program is increasing access to special education as well as adult and vocational education.
Until May 2017, Rafael Correa served as Ecuador’s president for a decade. His presidency mirrored a period of growth and sustainability. Ecuador’s gross domestic product and wages increased, while unemployment, inflation and poverty rates decreased. While no longer serving as Ecuador’s president, the country saw sustainability under his administration. While many development projects in Ecuador stemmed from President Correa’s management, perhaps the most important factor to an improved economy is the consistent management of its resources.
Development projects in Ecuador are making a difference. Access to quality water, education and healthcare, coupled with a strong economy and well-managed infrastructure creates a recipe for success to a developing country. These projects seem to be putting Ecuador on the right path.
– Eric Paulsen