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Water Pollution in Brazil

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro brought glaring international attention to the issue of water pollution in Brazil. Untreated sewage flows into coastal waters, particularly around Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the two largest cities in the country. Beaches are coated in trash, sand is reduced to a greasy sludge and the water is black and noxious.

In the weeks approaching the 2016 Games, the United Nations advised athletes to spend as little time in the water as possible, avoid swallowing water, cover cuts with waterproof bandages and shower as soon as possible after exposure.

The reason for these extreme precautions was due to the massive amounts of raw, untreated sewage that is allowed to flow through the channels and into the Atlantic. The worst affected areas in Rio de Janeiro are in the northern part of the city, where the low-income favela communities are concentrated. In these neighborhoods, the government has invested inadequate resources into water systems and sewage treatment.

Foreigners are not the only ones wary of the water in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay. Locals know to not even dip their toes in, aware that they will likely get a disease from the sickening waters. It has been reported to contain high levels of bacteria and viruses that could likely lead to stomach and respiratory illnesses.

Water pollution in Brazil is not only a major health issue, but an environmental concern as well. Fishermen have seen major decreases in fish and wildlife populations in coastal regions. Where they used to catch six fish in an hour, they may now only catch one.

In response to international criticism, the Brazilian government erected “eco-barriers” across streams and rivers to keep trash from floating into Guanabara Bay. However, not only are they ineffective, the eco-barriers inconvenienced the poor and disenfranchised local fishing communities, cutting off the water routes fishermen used to get to Guanabara Bay.

For many poor communities in Rio de Janeiro, fish are a vital resource for both food and income. Fish are used to feed families and are sold at the local market to buy essential goods like rice and beans. Guanabara Bay is a lifeline for many desperately poor families and the eco-barriers disturbed their access to that lifeline.

What is worse is that the eco-barriers did little to stem the flow of trash into Guanabara Bay, only collecting about 7.5 percent of the rubbish. The inefficiency of government initiatives like this only exacerbates and prolongs the crisis of water pollution in Brazil.

However, one initiative looks promising. Under the umbrella of the Clean Urban Delta Initiative is a proposed solution to help litter pickers get more value from plastic waste by providing a low-cost plastic shredder and molding machine that can make plastic statues or trinkets that could then be sold to tourists at iconic sites in Rio. Local people would be given the opportunity to earn significantly more money, and the government may find some relief from the problem of water pollution in Brazil.

– Sydney Lacey

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in LaosFor many years, the government of Laos has been working to improve the country’s financial infrastructure and in turn its economic abilities. In more recent years, the focus on financial improvement has been through credit access for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Improving access is an ongoing mission with a variety of different aspects that need to be addressed.

SMEs are vital to Laos’ economy and people, employing a large percentage of the country’s working population. Yet, a lack of credit access in Laos for these SMEs, with only about 12 percent being able to receive formal credit, leaves many businesses unable to grow and compete with other enterprises in Asia.

In 2014, the World Bank Group funded $20 million towards the growth and expansion of SMEs in Laos. This growth was accomplished with the use of long-term credit access. These funds, which were provided to commercial banks, made it easier for SMEs to access loans by reducing collateral and creating less of a risk for the banks themselves, which made them more willing to provide these funds. Although this project did allow many SMEs to upgrade their infrastructure and expand operations, it still was not enough to solve all the issues related to credit access in Laos, and many businesses continued to suffer.

As of 2017, Laos has been working to reform its credit system in order to improve access to funding for SMEs. The first step of reform is working to create a standardized credit reporting system. Although this is not a direct solution for credit access, it is a move towards it. Credit reporting is a way in which banks and lenders are able to maintain and access credit histories for companies wishing to receive funding.

This makes it easier to assess risk and in turn, allows more SMEs to receive loans and reduces costs and collateral when doing so. The creation of a credit reporting system requires both funding and planning, which Laos has looked outside the country for. Japan, Canada and Switzerland have all aided with funding and planning as part of a larger International Finance Corporation project to improve the economic infrastructure and financial access of Laos.

Credit access in Laos is improving with government reforms and projects that make the financial systems and economic infrastructure of the country more hospitable for SMEs. However, this process takes a lot of time, planning, and funding, which Laos is unable to provide on its own. With further increase of foreign support, Laos will continue moving towards improving credit access in the country. This will help improve the country’s economy as well as provide many jobs for its people. As Laos’ economic abilities increase, it will not only better provide for itself, but become a more valuable asset to the global economy and the many countries invested in its financial future.

– Keegan Struble

Photo: Flickr

livestock production in ghana
With adequate rainfall, plentiful vegetation and a low pest population, Ghana’s Northern Savannah Ecological Zone is an optimal environment for cattle production. Despite this prime landscape, livestock production in Ghana has remained low. Insufficient or otherwise absent livestock policies, uninformed ranching practices and lack of funding are among the many factors responsible for underperforming livestock production in Ghana.

Limitations of Meat Access

Over the years, the domestic meat industry has become so problematic that it became cheaper for Ghana to import its meat from South America and Europe. Furthermore, poor cattle production has contributed to nationwide nutrition issues. According to USAID, about 1.2 million Ghanains face food insecurity, and anemia and iron deficiency afflict much of the population.

Recognizing meat access limitations, nutrition deficiencies and cattle mortality in the country, Kamal-Deen Yakub, Damian Brennan and Luis Grolez came together to find an innovative solution to such a persisting problem. In 2013, the trio launched Farmable, a “crowdfarming” platform that connects investors to smallholder cattle farmers in the country.

Crowdsourced funding enables farmers to take better care of their cattle, receive education in agricultural best practices and business development and sell in the domestic market, ultimately improving livestock production in Ghana over time.

Here’s How it Works:

  1. Investors visit Farmable to select a farm in Ghana and start a new cow, which they can name and give certain attributes. Popular funded cows include Borat Cow, Moochacho and Moominator. Alternatively, crowdfunders can invest in a cow that’s already on it’s way to becoming fully funded.
  2. Once a cow has 20 investors, it is linked to a real cow on the farm of the investor’s initial choosing.
  3. Farmhands tag the cow, and investors can track the cow’s health and progress online through preparation for sale in the domestic meat market.
  4. After the meat sells, the investor can reap profits. Investments help continue farmer education, production and marketing efforts.

Since launching, Farmable has helped to revolutionize the cattle ranching industry for participating farmers. “The company has succeeded in bringing together 7,500 cows owned by 600 smallholder farmers. We have sold about 1100 cows through the platform direct from the farms,” cofounder Kamal-Deen Yakub told The Borgen Project.

Education and Optimization

In light of these successes, Farmable has had to put the crowdfarming platform on a temporary hold as it gears up for its next phase. The company is focusing on educating farmers and optimizing production in the interim: “We engage farmers through partnership with existing incubators working to build capacities of smallholder farmers,” Yakub explained.

Farmable recruits subject-matter experts from the University of Ghana, local veterinary officers and experienced farmers to provide training for participants.

Livestock Production in Ghana

Over the next few years, Farmable plans to establish renewable energy cattle ranches in Ghana to promote sustainable practices and cut down on costs. The company will use dung and agricultural waste to produce manure and biogas respectively to sustain these renewable energy ranches for free. Yakub encourages potential donors to stay tuned for this important next step.

The crowdfunding platform will go live again in the coming future, and Yakub hopes investors “are ready to participate in the crowdfarming and become cow backers.”

– Chantel Baul

Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in Suriname
Infrastructure in Suriname is on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to quality, with some facets being up to date and self-sufficient, while others have fallen into serious disrepair due to improper maintenance and oversight. Suriname is sparsely populated in most areas, with most of its people inhabiting the capital, Paramaribo, and the surrounding regions. Most of the country is heavily forested making habitation and transport impossible.

Paramaribo is the country’s main hub with a vast majority of infrastructure in Suriname focused in this one city. Roads, railways, bridges, imports, and exports are all centered in Paramaribo making it the main support for Suriname’s economy. This translated to economic instability with little to no possibility of growth. Unless infrastructure in Suriname is expanded to the outer regions of the country and thence to its neighbors, it will continue to deteriorate and threaten an economic collapse.

Water, railway, and flight are the main modes of travel and transporting goods across the forested areas of Suriname. Unfortunately, many of the roads and airport runways are unpaved, making the operational expenses a fiscal nightmare. According to the 2013 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, the quality of Suriname’s roads ranks 71st out of 148 countries, while the airports and railroads rank 104th and 108th, respectively.

Infrastructure in Suriname is constrained by several factors:

  • electricity tariffs
  • transportation costs, and
  • monopolization of telecommunications by Telesur, a state-owned company.

Despite this monopolization, however, service and access to telecommunication services are far more advanced than all other aspects of the country’s infrastructure, ranking 7th in the 2013 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report. These last few years have seen a rise in government plans for developing infrastructure in Suriname, all focused on increasing the country’s status as an economic competitor. Telecommunication networks are being opened to the private sector, allowing for more competitors and lower rates.

The government’s main concern is developing the Paramaribo port (as the country’s largest) to increase its capacity to handle more exports. This port currently handles from five to six hundred vessels. Exports include 40 percent of the country’s oil (taken from the Tambaradjo oil field), gold, bauxite, rice and tropical wood from its forests.

Investment from the public and private sectors have enabled the development of the physical structure of the ports in Suriname, along with modernization of cargo holds and storage. This not only allows for easier transport but ensures greater protection of goods.

– Kayla Rafkin

Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau, a former colony disputed by Portugal, France and Great Britain, is located on the west coast of Africa. The country is bordered by Senegal and The Gambia and is a mostly low-lying country. Its economy relies largely on agriculture, yet much of the land remains uncultivated due to unsustainable practices and unstable political conditions. Because of this, sustainable agriculture in Guinea-Bissau is more vital than ever.

Background and Past Issues

The economy of Guinea-Bissau is mostly agricultural but also includes forestry and fishing. Guinea-Bissau produces its own food, and farming is largely based on local subsistence. Some of the most common crops grown in the country are rice, vegetables, beans, cassava, peanuts, potatoes and palm oil. They also raise livestock and catch fish and shrimp, which are used locally as well as exported.

Due to the vast subsistence farming and importing, crop failure and rising prices can be devastating to the population. Guinea-Bissau was hit hard by the global food crisis in 2008 when they could not afford international prices and lacked the resources to keep up with food production. The country has also been affected by the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture, which causes soil fertility to decline. Lastly, a lack of resources has allowed much of the fertile land in Guinea-Bissau to go uncultivated.

Finding Solutions

Sustainable agriculture in Guinea-Bissau has become vital to solving these problems. In a direct response to the crisis in 2008, the revitalization of agriculture and specifically rice production became priorities. Several regions within the country have suitable land for rice production, yet these lands were uncultivated and caused citizens within these regions to fall into poverty, as they are isolated from other areas of food production.

With new sustainable practices, rice production has now doubled in these areas. The European Union has also created a financing program to rehabilitate 300 kilometers of road in the area, allowing for a more efficient transport of goods. More sustainable practices and projects like these are also vital to combating climate change, a problem the country has been facing the effects of for years.

Future Projects

Guinea-Bissau has also turned to cashew nuts to enhance production. In 2013, cashew nuts accounted for 87.7 percent of the country’s total exports. The industry has been increasing since the late 1990s, and now 85 percent of people living in rural areas depend on these orchards in some way for their livelihoods. This has allowed for great economic improvement, yet the lack of biodiversity involved with this monocultural practice leaves citizens extremely vulnerable. If crops failed or were struck by disease, hundreds of thousands of citizens would be negatively affected.

The most important feature of sustainable agriculture in Guinea-Bissau is now education. Non-governmental organizations like Agrisud International are working with people within the country to promote and teach more sustainable practices. They have also been working with the country’s government to make these practices public policy. With the continued support of international organizations and the government, Guinea-Bissau’s agricultural practices will only continue to improve.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Swaziland

Swaziland has endeavored to increase employment and economic growth. Among these efforts, still more work needs to further these goals and priorities. One area that the country has made progress in is improving living conditions in Swaziland by reducing the number of people living below the poverty line. With continued effort, Swaziland can make positive steps in strengthening its healthcare system, increasing employment rates and economic growth and increasing the retention rate of girls in school. These top 5 facts about living conditions in Swaziland will show where they are succeeding and where they need more work.

Top 5 Facts about Living Conditions in Swaziland

  1. In Swaziland, unemployment rates, in general, have not changed much in the past few years, hovering around 26 percent. There are further discrepancies between unemployment rates for women. For example, in 2007 and 2010, the rates stayed level around 30 percent. For men, however, the rates between 2007 and 2010 were 24.0 percent and 22.7 percent. There is still more work to be done in increasing youth employment. In fact, Swaziland has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Africa. The unemployment rate has remained higher than 50 percent since 2007. Specifically, working to reduce youth unemployment is a major part in helping reducing unemployment as a whole. Solutions to decrease youth unemployment are tertiary reforms and increasing vocational and on-the-job training. In addition, adding more growth to the private sector is key to helping to create high paying and productive jobs. Companies like Orange and OpenClassrooms are working to provide digital education to Africa’s youth to help young people find jobs in the tech markets.
  2. There has been some progress made in the living conditions in Swaziland by reducing the number of people living below the poverty line. According to the Swaziland Household Income and Expenditure Survey, the percentage of people living below the poverty line was 69 percent in 2001. However, the percentage had dropped by more than half to 30 percent in 2015. These numbers represent, on average, 20 percent for those living in urban areas, but for those living in rural areas, it was as high as 37 percent. Reasons for such high poverty rates were the decrease in incomes, the stagnation of private consumption and the decrease in the GDP.
  3. As a whole, economic growth has declined in Swaziland. Real GDP growth decreased from 1.3 percent in 2016 to 1 percent in 2017. Economic growth was projected to be at 1.5 percent in 2018. Factors that have contributed to the decline in economic growth are low demand from pivotal export market destinations, especially from South Africa and Eurozone. In addition, the sector also experienced a decline in economic growth and a loss of eligibility in status to trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act Arrangement. Swaziland’s average GDP annual growth rate had been its highest in 1990 at 21 percent, but it dropped significantly down to .7 percent in 2016. Fortunately, the GDP annual growth rate had risen up to 2.3 percent in 2017.
  4. The healthcare system consists of formal and informal sectors. Health practitioners and general service providers make up the informal sector while industry, private and public health services as well as nongovernmental organizations make up the formal sector. Swaziland puts around 3.8 percent of its GDP towards healthcare, the government providing 65 percent of the money, which is about 2 percent of its GDP. The federal budget was increased from 7 percent in 1998 to 9 percent in 2009.
  5. There still is more work to be done in closing the gender gap in education. Swaziland’s educational levels are primary education, secondary education, vocational education and tertiary education. Although there is not a great disparity between boy and girls attending primary, dropout rates do tend to rise by year 5 of secondary school. More work needs to be done in increasing the retention rates for both girls and boys in school, although more work is needed for female retention. While there are not as many obstacles for girls starting school, there are numerous obstacles that hinder girls from staying in school. Between the ages of 15 and 19, 50 percent of girls will not have completed secondary school, compared to 39 percent of boys. Some of the obstacles are poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and gender insensitivity. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of families live in poverty, and many find difficulties in paying for school fees and other costs.

These 5 facts about living conditions in Swaziland show that, while there is more work to be done in areas of employment, economic, growth and education, there has been notable progress in helping to improve the living conditions of the people. One area that has seen progress is the reduction of the number of those living below the poverty line. With more effort, Swaziland can see positive developments in helping the lives of all people.

Daniel McAndrew-Greiner

Photo: Flickr

Consumer Credit Access in Panama Continues to Expand

Reports from 2014 highlighted good news in the Panamanian economy. Continued years of growth particularly helped the credit sector, and lending was increasing at rates of more than 10 percent per year. This was a healthy rate in comparison with similar rates of overall economic growth in the country. Consumer lending was not left behind during this boom, and household credit access in Panama increased at rates nearly on par with general growth.

This increase in credit access in Panama was great news for its developing domestic economy. Panama’s strategic location and the canal linking some of the world’s most-traveled shipping lanes have made it a center of commerce since the early 20th century. However, despite countless international commercial links, many of Panama’s people did not see the benefits of strong development until a century after the opening of the canal. A new government measure of poverty released in 2017 showed that nearly a fifth of the population was living in significant poverty.

The strong growth reported in 2014 was followed by further increases in small household lending in Panama as microfinance products began to increase their offerings in Panama. In 2017, the government of Panama revised a large number of regulations to assist microfinance and its effects in reducing poverty in the country. This was joined by the creation of REDPAMIF, a nongovernmental microfinance network, to assist lenders in creating a fertile environment for the success of expanding credit operations.

Small consumer lenders in Panama are following the pattern of successful development and small lending projects worldwide in diversifying their offerings. From the same 2017 report, 40 percent of the microlending portfolio in Panama is in loans to women. Similarly, in a highly urban country (nearly three out of four Panamanians live in the metropolitan area of Panama City), 13 percent of their loans are disbursed to rural borrowers.

Panama’s economy has continued to improve rapidly. An investment to expand the canal, which opened to new and larger shipping vessels in June 2016, has paid off in rates of growth that are outpacing most of the rest of the world. With good management and continued success in innovative development trends, credit access in Panama and the country’s poverty rate should continue to improve in the coming years as well.

– Paul Robertson

Photo: Flickr

fintech startups in AfricaFinancial technology, or fintech, refers to innovations aimed at new ways of delivering financial services. With the goal of changing lives, fintech startups in Africa are moving people forward on a digital route. Fortunately, such firms have no lack of funding.

According to a recent report from Disrupt Africa, the overall funding from venture capitalists jumped by 51 percent to $195 million from 2016 to 2017, with fintech funding accounting for one-third of the funds. The regions that were considered as the top three investment destinations were South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Over the past several months, the African tech scene has trended in a positive direction as consumers turn to more digitally driven services in the region. After the success of MPesa in Kenya, many fintech startups in Africa are aiming to bridge the digital gap across other unreached communities in the region.

Here are three leading fintech startups in Africa that are rethinking ways to digitalize communities in Africa.

 

Flutterwave


Flutterwave was founded in 2016 and provides payment technologies and infrastructure to the continent’s largest financial institutions. With the aim of disrupting the traditional banking style in Africa, its instant rise captures the current tech scene of Africa.

The company currently operates in more than 36 countries and has partnered with 10 bank partners in Africa. With as much as 34 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa with bank accounts, Flutterwave has a practically untapped market to reach.
Founded by ex-bankers, entrepreneurs and engineers, the technology aims to make banking simple for its customers. With 10 million transactions processed, Flutterwave has processed $1.2 billion in payments and receives the backing from venture capitalists like Y-Combinator, Ventures and Social Capital. The company provides solutions for banks, enterprise and entrepreneurs, with no upfront, annual or special project fees.

According to a World Bank report, roughly $20 billion a year is sent to Nigeria alone, and foreign remittances made up the second-largest source of foreign exchange receipts in Africa’s biggest economy after oil revenues. Flutterwave aims to target the digital payment gap, enabling users to transfer money into different bank accounts. Such fintech initiatives will allow the communities and families in Africa to receive digital payments from family members and business relatives from across countries and, in turn, will spur growth in the developing region.

 

Pezesha


Launched in Kenya, Pezesha aims to become Africa’s largest peer to business microlending marketplace by including Africa’s low-income borrowers in the financial system. As one of the leading fintech startups in Africa, Pezesha is driven by the core values of integrity, security, reliability, excellence in teamwork, accountability, responsibility and innovation.

Instant loans can be availed by borrowers on the peer-to-peer lending platform via SMS, provided the minimum criteria is met. Such services allow low-income borrowers in Africa to generate credit scores using data analytics. Pezesha also extends funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which could indirectly benefit jobs and employment in the small business sector.

SMEs create 80 percent of the region’s employment and fuel demand for new goods and services. But according to The World Bank, an estimated 50 percent of SMEs have no credit access and are less likely to secure loans when compared to larger firms. By providing microcredit access, small businesses will get funding support and allow entrepreneurs to design bankable projects.

Pezesha was recently selected to participate in the BlackBox Connect 20 accelerator programme, powered by sponsors like Google, IBM, Stripe and Silicon Valley Bank.

 

Riby

Riby has become one of the best 50 emerging fintech startups in the world, according to the recent annual Fintech 100 report by KPMG and H2 Ventures. Based in Nigeria, Riby offers a mobile app-based service for a range of financial management features including the digitization of collaborative saving, lending and investments.

Riby acts as a platform for groups, employees, individuals, associations and financial development institutions and remotely helps them controls their financial activities.

The app includes features like personal savings, cooperative savings and loan management, peer-to-peer lending, agent management and personal and group investment management. Through the digitization of collaborative saving, lending and investments, Riby aims to increase financial literacy amongst individual members of the groups.

A major reason for the fintech rise is the usage of mobile phones in Africa, which has increased from five percent in 2003 to 73 percent in 2014. With 650 million mobile phone owners in the continent (more than in the U.S. and Europe combined), the 3G mobile network is also growing rapidly.

According to Disrupt Africa, more than 300 fintech startups are active across the African continent. It is evident that fintech startups in Africa are attracting the attention of banks and investors, but more importantly, they are helping the lives of many unbanked customers in Africa and indirectly improving the economic condition of the country.

For the African economy, the tech wave has just started. The untapped market could provide a wealth of opportunities for many fintech startups, equipping customers with more sophisticated digital tools.

– Deena Zaidi

Photo: Flickr

Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste is a small, agrarian country that largely depends on its struggling agriculture sector for financial and economic security. Nearly 80 percent of Timor-Leste’s population is smallholder, local farmers who depend on the annual crop yields for their subsistence. Unfortunately, crop yields are often low or lost post-harvest, leaving many areas of the country below the poverty line.

In some districts, like Manufahi, approximately 85 percent of the population survives on $0.88 a day. Developing sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste has been a focal point for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries since 2003, but still requires significant financial backing and guidance from other government agencies and global aid societies.

Multiple projects have been proposed and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the government of Timor-Leste in conjunction with the Global Agriculture and Food Security Trust Fund and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The sole purpose of these projects is to give Timor-Leste’s agriculture sector the chance to successfully become a competitor in burgeoning world markets via modernizing farming techniques and educating the smallholder farmers.

Here are a few of the projects implemented for the development of sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste:

 

The Timor-Leste Agricultural Rehabilitation, Economic Growth and Sustainable Natural Resource Management Project

The sole purpose of this project, instituted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in 2003, was to increase farm and crop productivity. To accomplish this, farmers were taught new and advanced techniques for increasing crop yields and reducing the number of crops lost after harvest. This, in turn, would raise the annual income of the farmers and create more jobs. This project saw moderate success, but Timor-Leste still faces the same challenges.

Crops are constantly lost due to inefficient farming practices, which in turn creates harsh and unsustainable environments for future crops. Educating farmers on appropriate farming techniques crop survival in the country’s environment remains one of the main objectives of most projects geared for sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste.

 

The Developing Agricultural Communities (DAC) Project

This project aims to connect smallholder farmers with large-scale retailers and train them in the technologies and horticultural practices necessary for expanding into vast markets. In conjunction with ConocoPhillips, an American energy company, and K’manek and Dilimart, two of the largest local supermarkets in Timor-Leste, USAID hope to connect local farmers with the farm-to-market chain to improve their economic and social positions.

 

The Sustainable Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP)

This six-year project, agreed upon by the World Bank and the government of Timor-Leste in 2016, received $21 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Trust Fund. It aims to revitalize and improve the productivity of crops in selected areas so as to boost their status in the world market. Timor-Leste has dealt with malnutrition as a result of the loss of staple foods and the insecurity of food production caused by poor soil and water management.

This project aims to create secure food production through smallholder farmers by improving multiple watersheds in different geographical locations. These watersheds will prevent contaminants from entering the crop soil while simultaneously increasing the amount of water that reaches the crops. The sheds will be monitored and evaluated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the continued support of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Trust Fund.

 

Future Steps for Timor-Leste

Sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste is well on its way, but still requires additional funding for the vast number of projects planned for continued success in their agriculture sector. Timor-Leste still needs to establish a reliable and stable economy through their marketability, and through continued support from its government and global aid campaigns, the nation can achieve that goal.

– Kayla Rafkin

Photo: Flickr

credit access in Suriname
While small, the South American country of Suriname has a booming mining economy. With a recent rise in oil prices, Suriname has worked to overcome a recent dip in economic growth and currency inflation. Credit access in Suriname is also on the rise, and there have been several advancements in credit access and its reporting in recent years.

International Finance Corporation

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reported that in 2013, Suriname created a new credit reporting system that increased the access businesses have to information about credit processes. This has been built and implemented to help build better business strategies and manage risky lending strategies, measures that then save small businesses from dangerous credit choices.

Systems like these encourage lending growth and healthy business strategy in small countries. Although Suriname has little to no record of credit histories before 2013, the IFC’s new credit reporting system is a step toward healthier credit access in Suriname.

Female Investors and the U.N.

Suriname is in the process of an economic reboot after economic growth statistics dropped from five percent in 2012  to -10.4 percent in 2016. At a 2012 presentation to the U.N., a representative for Suriname spoke on behalf of the female population of Suriname and presented a proposal for a new national gender policy; the plan delineated how the nation would prevent further discrimination of Surinamese women in business practice.

One of the areas in which women have been hurt by discrimination is in the credit access market. By implementing this new policy-based on the Beijing Plan for Action, Suriname hopes to alleviate the added stress of gender discrimination on its credit market.

Growth of Credit Access

Although only two of many new policies offer a solution for credit access growth, Suriname has a strong and constantly increasing economy that helps to grow credit access within its borders.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Wikimedia Commons