Posts

infrastructure in LiberiaLiberia, a nation founded on Africa’s west coast by former American slaves, has faced a number of hardships. It is an isolated country that was heavily damaged by a 14-year civil war lasting from 1989 to 2003. What is remarkable is how far it has come since then.

Liberia’s civil war killed more than 270,000 people and displaced another 500,000. The war was also extremely damaging to infrastructure in Liberia. Many roads were completely destroyed during the war. Miles and miles of roads were ruined, and for 15 years, much of the country had no piped water or electricity. The devastation the conflict inflicted on Liberia’s agricultural sector also caused the supporting infrastructure to crumble. Schools and other municipal services were wiped out in many areas.

The destruction of infrastructure in Liberia had devastating effects on the economy and the country’s standard of living. The GDP fell by 85 percent from 1980 to 2003. 75 percent of Liberians live on less than $1 a day.

As thorough as the devastation of its civil war was, Liberia has made major strides since the mid-2000s. The Accra Peace Accords that ended the war and the election of a new government in 2005 brought about major change.

During this time, investors have helped Liberia rebuild a portion of its roads. The capital, Monrovia, has access to electricity and water again. Most impressively, the government did away with school fees, raising enrollment in the school system by 50 percent.

The current government and the African Development Bank recognize that rehabilitating infrastructure in Liberia is important to growing the economy and raising people out of poverty. To this end, it has developed the Agenda for Transformation, focusing on infrastructure.

The plan encourages Liberia to participate in major regional infrastructure projects promoted by the Economic Community of West African States. The government hopes to have its main roads refurbished by 2030. Ultimately, the government sees a need for increased development of rail infrastructure and other modes of transportation to facilitate growth and link the country to its neighbors. Additionally, there are still many parts of the country without power or water.

Infrastructure in Liberia will need continued rebuilding and expansion, but given the damage that almost 15 years of war wrought, it is amazing how far the country has come.

– Andrew Revord

Photo: Flickr

development projects in Timor-LesteTimor-Leste is a small country home to 1.29 million people on the eastern part of the island of Timor, shared with Indonesia. After 400 years under Portuguese rule, the country gained independence in 1975, only to be invaded by Indonesia nine days later. Over 150,000 Timorese died during 24 years of Indonesian occupation until a U.N.-backed referendum in 1999 led to independence in 2002. Fifteen years later, the United Nations missions have ended and the country is aiming to stand on its own two feet. These are five development projects in Timor-Leste:

  1. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Avansa Agrikultura (Forward Agriculture) project: Partnering with businesses in the private sector and with three government ministries including the Agriculture Ministry, USAID is promoting climate-friendly agricultural practices to increase food production and income in five municipalities across the country, including the capital. The $19.2 million project supports women’s empowerment and agricultural development projects in Timor-Leste, seeking to improve nutrition in Dili and beyond.
  2. The World Bank’s Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Improvement project: The World Bank’s agricultural project targets smallholders in Timor-Leste’s agricultural industry, encouraging the formation of community-based development plans. The World Bank is committing $21 million to development projects in Timor-Leste in partnership with the Agriculture Ministry to promote sustainable technologies in watershed agriculture.
  3. The World Bank’s Road Climate Resilience project: Coffee is one of Timor-Leste’s most well-known and important exports, popularizing the country’s name overseas and supporting development projects in Timor-Leste itself. As climate change begins to threaten small island nations, the World Bank is investing $20 million in a project to build climate-resilient roads and infrastructure in Timor-Leste’s coffee-producing regions, including in the corridor between Dili and the southwestern town of Ainaro.
  4. The Asian Development Bank’s Technical Assistance Special Fund: Through its Technical Assistance Special Fund, the Asian Development Bank is providing grants to help Timorese youth enter the country’s lucrative coffee industry. A $225,000 grant from the fund will contribute to a plan to develop the country’s coffee industry and create more jobs for local youth, collaborating with the Agriculture Ministry and the Timor-Leste Coffee Association to establish development projects in Timor-Leste.
  5. The World Bank’s Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project: Beyond agriculture, the backbone of the Timorese economy, foreign donors have been supporting development projects in Timor-Leste that seek to improve local governance and institutions. Between 2002 and 2005, in the first years of Timor-Leste’s independence, the World Bank committed $23 million to build responsive institutions that helped reduce poverty and support current initiatives for sustainable growth and economic development.

With these five development projects in Timor-Leste, the nation will be closer to a sustained and shared prosperity for all its people.

– Giacomo Tognini

Photo: Flickr


In August 2015 Tropical Storm Erika left landslides, mudslides and flash flooding throughout most parts of Dominica. A grant of $150,000 was approved for infrastructure in Dominica, with focus on roads, bridges and future landslide prevention.

Sincere efforts for rebuilding Dominica came in February 2016. Using one of the two airports on the island the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) stepped in to help, doing week-long assignments, assisting in placement for homeless victims and building homes. “The government is providing the land and infrastructure and ADRA is providing labor and funds,” said local ADRA Project Coordinator Priscilla Prevost. The agency had a goal of completing 25 homes by the end of the project, but September 2017 put a pause to that attempt.

Right after a hit from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria hit the island of Dominica leaving more devastation than any other storm in its history. Sources claim it will take billions of dollars and several years to restore infrastructure in Dominica.

With telecommunication hindered by damaged cell phone towers, Digicel CEO and chairman Denis O’Brien felt it was right to step in. From restoring cell phone towers to humanitarian relief, Digicel has assisted with getting Dominica reconnected to the world. Hoping to build seven schools on the island, each with a hurricane shelter and 360 homes in one of the worst affected territories, Kalinago, O’Brien has met with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to seal these intentions. Dominica’s Digicel Team have restored 37 out of 55 cell services and aimed to have 85 percent coverage by the end of November.

Digicel will give an estimated two million dollars to repair infrastructure in Dominica. UKaid donated £12-million in November after Hurricane Maria, “In Dominica, 97 percent of the water system was destroyed. This is one example of where U.K. funding could help rebuild so Dominica is better able to withstand future natural disasters.” With the help of supporting nations, infrastructure in Dominica is not only underway but making progress at a steady rate.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Buildings, streets, railways and airports are some of the necessities that make up the infrastructure of a city or country. The infrastructure of Zimbabwe has been struggling over the years to solidify itself, but as of 2016, infrastructure has worsened.

Concerning the infrastructure of Zimbabwe, there are corroded pipes, water leaks, sewage bursts and water shortages taking place in the capital, Harare. In reference to the mobile phone network, there is instability, with the government taking over Telecel, one of the three phone companies in Zimbabwe. To add, the socio-political infrastructure is unstable, as citizen engagement with the government is at its lowest level in over a decade.

Zimbabwe has tried to change things for the better but the country is still in a crisis. The economy is struggling and the politics pertaining to the future of the country are uncertain.

The infrastructure in the Harare showcases the instability in the infrastructure of Zimbabwe. The main issue is problems with the country’s water. The lack of maintenance of the water and sewage infrastructure is a major challenge the country is facing. As of 2010, only 50 percent of the people in Harare had water service all day, every day, while 55 percent of the residents had water that was poor quality. Zimbabwe made plans to redo water piping and began the process in 2009; by 2013, only 150 kilometers of the 6,000 had been replaced. By March 2016, only 40 percent of the work had been completed.

Even though infrastructure in Zimbabwe is struggling and facing issues, there is a plan to improve it. The main goals of the country are to rehabilitate and upgrade the bulk of the basic infrastructure assets and reinforce the existing integration of Zimbabwe’s network with other countries in the southern region of Africa.

The plan is to rehabilitate the national power grid, rehabilitate the national road network, the railway network, upgrade the status of air traffic communications, invest in storage to transport water resources, rehabilitate the existing water supply, develop national communications on a fiber-optic network and bring in a program of institutional reform and strengthening that measures to streamline the regulation of basic infrastructure services.

The process of rehabilitating and rebuilding the infrastructure of Zimbabwe will not be an easy feat nor will it be a cheap venture. Zimbabwe has had issues for many years, but with a plan developed and the desire to improve the country, infrastructure in Zimbabwe has the potential to be much better.

– Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr


Lacking stability in politics and social structure, Libya is a state susceptible to widespread volatility. Its economy is no exception. Developing infrastructure in Libya is key to rebuilding its economy.

Before the 2011 Arab Spring Revolution, Libya exported large quantities of oil to China, Italy, Germany, Spain and Turkey, among other countries. In 2010, Libya had a GDP of $74.76 billion, while Tunisia, a bordering state, had a GDP of $44.43 billion. Following the death of Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011, the country’s GDP fell to $34.7 billion, almost half that of the previous year.

While Libya exported 1.6 million barrels of oil per day before the revolution in 2010, in August 2016, just over 200,000 barrels per day were exported. This dramatic fall can be traced to considerable damage to oil infrastructure in Libya as a result of rival factions and militias feuding after the Revolution. The power struggles were not only the result of seemingly endless internal instability but also the ongoing proxy wars in the Middle East.

The struggle for control over Libya’s oil continues even within the high levels of government, especially between the United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC). NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, warned the GNA that the new government had overstepped its bounds by closing the oil ministry and by commandeering some of the NOC’s role.

Without an agreement between the rivaling political parties, the future of oil in Libya remains bleak. In an Op-Ed piece penned for the New York Times, Libyan oil boss Mustafa Sanalla suggests that the only way to “save Libya from itself” is to keep oil and politics separate. However, even as Sanalla has been urging investors to have confidence in the oil infrastructure in Libya, it has continually proved to be turbulent.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard, charged with protecting oil infrastructure in Libya, has fallen into a network of local fiefs. The tension between these competing pockets of power has blockaded nearly all of Libya’s main oil ports, costing the country over $120 billion in lost revenue.

A Brookings Institution report on Libya’s economy recommends that the country “drastically change the management of revenues to ensure they are used in the best interests of the population, for example by using revenues to finance large infrastructure investments, creating productive jobs for Libyans in the process.” Sanalla agrees with this sentiment.

According to the NOC, oil production will reach one million barrels per day for the first time since 2013. This milestone, says Sanalla, would give the NOC the opportunity to “restart the economy” using “oil-sector investment to help develop local industry.”

Stabilizing oil infrastructure in Libya could lead to sustained exports and a more stable economy, and country, for all of its citizens.

– Richa Bijlani

Photo: Flickr


Bangladesh has long been considered a country approaching middle-income status. Economically, it has been slowly improving poverty levels throughout the nation. However, one major issue stands in the way of further progress: infrastructure in Bangladesh.

Obstacles to Improving Infrastructure in Bangladesh

Under the Sixth Five Year Plan, which was in operation between 2010 and 2015, the government hoped to achieve eight percent GDP growth by the end of the plan.  However, the poor infrastructure development was a major obstacle. Infrastructure includes physical and organizational structures, like access to efficient water sanitation and transportation systems, both which greatly contribute to reducing poverty and improving the economy.

At a five-day meeting on infrastructure, hosted by Bangladesh in 2008, officials said it would take $20 billion in investments to develop a high-quality infrastructure system in the country. Most of this money would come from organizations like the Asian Development Bank.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has other projects set up in Bangladesh, such as the Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement Project, which takes a community-driven approach to improving infrastructure. Though these organizations contribute to the growth of infrastructure in Bangladesh, it is ultimately up to the government to implement concrete goals and achieve tangible results. The funds committed are vital to the success of such projects, however, there must also be an organized and transparent method of spending these funds.

Current Infrastructure Improvements

Recently, the government of Bangladesh took steps towards improving the infrastructure of its own country.

In March 2017, $2 billion of Bangladesh’s foreign reserves were poured into an infrastructure fund. Further, a legal framework was drafted in order to make this monetary contribution an annual occurrence. While this is a positive improvement, it is not nearly enough to create a completely effective infrastructure system.

In order to successfully improve infrastructure in Bangladesh, there must be an increased commitment from the government, in addition to foreign investments. This will ensure that large-scale projects will be funded continuously and in a transparent manner. These changes will result in further improvements in the future and help the development of Bangladesh. 

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr

 

Bhutan

Bhutan, also known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a picturesque country bordering India and China and situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. The country has transformed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy under the rule of King Jigme Singye Wangchunk. To protect the environment as well as its culture from the outside world Bhutan remained in isolation for a long time. In June 1999, the country legalized television and the internet, slowly moving towards modernization.

Instead of using Gross National Income (GNI), the indicator of socio-economic development, Bhutan measures the quality of life with Gross National Happiness (GNH), a unique way of valuing the country’s self-worth.

Although Bhutan has a lot of potential in tourism, the infrastructure in Bhutan still remains a question. Due to the mountainous terrain, road construction was a challenge for a long time. The few options for transporting goods were porters, ponies or cantilever bridges built over rivers. To overcome this problem, in 1961 a large share of the National budget was invested in constructing a safe and reliable road network. From 1961 to 2002, almost 1231 miles of surfaced road and 102 suspension bridges were built.

With help from the Government of India, Bhutan has so far constructed two national highways, 337 bridges and 409 trail suspension bridges thus creating access to different remote areas of the country. Bhutan Airlines and Druk Airlines connect internationally with India, Thailand and Nepal. In 2005, an agreement was signed between India and Bhutan which provided the opportunity for Bhutan to connect with north-east India. This development is a cornerstone of improving infrastructure in Bhutan.

Another key feature of Bhutan is the generation and export of hydroelectric power which is possible because of the fast-flowing rivers coming from the mountain range of the Himalayas. Under the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, a clean development mechanism, Bhutan is estimated to export almost 10,000 MW of electricity to India by 2020. Five major hydropower projects like Tala, Chukkha, Dagachu, Basochhu and Kurichu, which started in 2015, are currently operational in Bhutan.

Quality of water is a major issue for Bhutan especially during monsoons when water contamination diseases like diarrhea take a toll on human lives. In 2005, the Bhutanese government, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), addressed this issue by implementing the Bhutan Water Quality Partnership (WQP) Project. The objective of the project is to provide safe drinking water by giving training and education to the local community, government staff and policymakers. The project has so far been able to improve drinking water for almost 100,000 people.

Bhutan is already considered a heaven for tourists from all over the world who seek peace and tranquility in the tiny Himalayan country. The development of infrastructure in Bhutan will bring more tourists to the country, boosting its economy and increasing its GNI.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde is a chain of islands off the coast of Senegal, West Africa. Despite having only 10 percent arable land, limited mineral resources, mountainous terrain and an arid climate, Cabo Verde has been developing rapidly. This is mainly due to the booming tourism industry and development projects in Cabo Verde.

Being a small island nation, there are a few challenges with development. The money spent on transportation between the nine inhabited islands is quite high. Several infrastructure constraints exist which make the delivery of public services and energy in need of improvement. Due to Cabo Verde‘s climate, the agriculture industry is not able to reach its full potential. Lastly, being an island in the Atlantic Ocean, it is susceptible to climate change, rising sea levels and natural disasters.

In light of these challenges, five development projects in Cabo Verde have been created to boost the economy, increase tourism and ensure the well-being of the residents on the islands.

  1. The Competitiveness for Tourism Development project recognizes tourism as the economy’s main source of growth, with the public sector as the key force. This project backs the implementation of Cabo Verde’s vision for this industry. The project began in April 2016 and will cost approximately $3.7 million.
  2. The Transport Sector Reform Project consists of four components. The first is road preservation with routine maintenance. The second component is the development and operationalization of a road and bridge management system. The third is a road safety action plan which puts an accident database and monitoring and evaluation system in place. Finally, there will be an inter-island transport strategy to improve the quality of services and the management of ports and airports.
  3. Another one of the five development projects in Cabo Verde is the Water Supply Development Project of Santiago Island. It is a $220 million project aiming to strengthen the bulk of the water supply on Santiago Island. There will be construction on two water treatment plants with reverse osmosis technology, 12 water reservoirs, 14 pumping stations and about 100 miles of water mains.
  4. The Cabeólica Wind Project was created to develop the use of wind power as a more sustainable alternative to imported fossil fuels. This project will help achieve Cabo Verde’s goal of using 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2020. On four of Cabo Verde’s islands, a 25.5-megawatt facility is meeting about 25 percent of the nation’s energy demands.
  5. The final of the five development projects in Cabo Verde is the Watershed Management and Agriculture Support Project. It was created to increase productivity in agriculture by supporting the conversion of dry farmland to higher-value horticultural production. This was done by improving natural resource management, including the sustainable use of soil and water resources. The project also improves the capacity to support the development and implementation of community-based watershed management plans.

As a middle-income country with a relatively low poverty rate, Cabo Verde is able to design projects like these to continue promoting growth and achieve goals. These development goals will boost the economy, increase tourism and ensure the well being of the residents and visitors on the islands and keep the poverty rate low.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Kosovo Leaving the Past BehindNearly 10 years after its declaration of independence from Serbia and Montenegro, the southeastern European state of Kosovo continues to lag behind its non-E.U. peers in economic indicators. This failure to thrive threatens the fragile peace in the small, multi-ethnic country, raising fears of a return to the sort of violence which battered the region in the 1990s. The government, in conjunction with international partners, has prioritized the revitalization and expansion of infrastructure in Kosovo in order to bolster its economy and grow its human capital.

Located in the center of Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, the territory now known as Kosovo has historically been a hotbed of strife, driven by border disputes and ethnic tensions. The Romans conquered the indigenous Illyrian or Thracian tribes in the first century of the common era; Slavic people began settling the province in the sixth century as the region fell out of the then-Byzantine sphere of influence. This new population would go on to form a central part of a Serbian empire until the 1300s when the Ottomans wrested Kosovo away from Serbia proper. Deepening ethnic tensions came to a head during the Balkan Wars that kicked off the 20th century.

Violence exploded again between Serbs and Albanians in the 1990s. The war in Kosovo in 1998-99 pit Yugoslav and Serbian forces against the Kosovo Liberation Army, comprised of ethnic Albanians with NATO air support. The conflict resulted in tens of thousands of displaced and thousands disappeared. The humanitarian crisis that was caused by mass displacement was witnessed by many humanitarian actors.

The war destroyed both homes and infrastructure in Kosovo, hampering economic growth and the development of a peaceful modus vivendi between the different ethnic groups living in the region. Since its unilateral declaration of independence, the government of Kosovo has made the rehabilitation and revitalization of infrastructure and institutions a key priority, particularly the development of roads, education, good governance and competitive industries.

With help from the international community, progress has been made towards rebuilding the war-torn infrastructure in Kosovo. In partnership with the U.S. government and the World Bank, the country developed plans to build a new coal-fired power plant and rehabilitate an older facility in order to strengthen its electrical grid and improve access for its people.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is also active on the ground with a key mission being to improve access to education. USAID contributes to restoring and expanding educational infrastructure and increasing private-sector participation in rebuilding the infrastructure needed for the nation’s economy to thrive. It also focuses on encouraging inter-ethnic cooperation from an early age.

Despite these improvements, Kosovo remains the second-poorest country in Europe. Unemployment hovers at around 33 percent overall, but at 60 percent for young adults. The majority of the population depends on subsistence or near-subsistence farming outside of urban areas. They contend with inefficient agricultural practices and poor availability of equipment and technical expertise.

However, with the continued determination of the national government, assistance from international actors like USAID and private foreign investment in infrastructure in Kosovo, the country’s violent past may be just that — the past.

– Joel Dishman

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Chad

Infrastructure encompasses many things, including roads, electricity and water systems. The infrastructure in Chad has been lacking, which affects its citizens’ daily lives. However, many groups are lending a helping hand to Chad so the lives of its citizens can improve.

Problems with infrastructure in Chad can be attributed to the civil war and poor management by the central government. The decades-long civil war damaged many of the country’s roads, and the remaining roads are made of dirt and are often at risk of eroding. The distributors of power and water are often corrupt and demand an excessive amount of money for their services. Although water and electricity are available in the capital, they are expensive and not available to most of the population in rural Chad.

Due to its many problems, the quality of infrastructure in Chad is ranked 143rd out of 148 countries in the world.

One of the most important things that good infrastructure helps with is the maintenance of water. A strong water infrastructure means that people do not have to wonder whether or not their drinking water is contaminated. Unfortunately, Chadians must worry if their water is safe to drink. People in rural Chad have to rely on traditional water wells as their main water resource. Unfortunately, these wells are susceptible to surface contamination. Bacteria and disease can propagate in the wells.

Although Chad is having problems with its infrastructure, there are people who are willing to help. Spirit of America is a group of American troops who help people in impoverished nations improve their lives. These troops have gone to Chad and built water pumps in key towns and cities. Prior to the troops arriving, these towns and cities did not have any running water.

The immediate effect of building water pumps is a safe water source for the town. If a town has a clean and safe water source, its quality of life will improve and the occurrence of disease will decrease.

Another effect of building water pumps is that they function as a means of counterterrorism. Extremist groups often use the lack of water as a rallying call for people to join their cause. Once there is a proper water system available to people, the extremists have less backing for their cause and will not be able to recruit as many people.

Chad has had troubles with regard to infrastructure, but things are beginning to improve. With the assistance of groups such as Spirit of America, improvements in Chad’s infrastructure can have a positive impact on its citizens.

– Daniel Borjas

Photo: Flickr