News / Asia

    Afghanistan, Yemen Among US-honored Development Projects

    In this Tuesday, March 6, 2012 photo, a cargo train at the train station in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province, part of Afghanistan's first major railroad, north of Kabul.
    In this Tuesday, March 6, 2012 photo, a cargo train at the train station in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province, part of Afghanistan's first major railroad, north of Kabul.
    Reuters

    The United States on Wednesday honored six development projects for helping some of the world's most politically fragile countries or poorest people, including a railway in Afghanistan and basic health and water services in Yemen.

    The projects, all funded by one of the major development banks, range from helping rice farmers in West Africa to dealing with pollution in Mongolia. The awards recognize “exceptional” development impact and give insight into the United States' priorities in overseas aid, including its focus on fragile states and food security.

    “When you consider recent global events, it is clear that we must continue to support international financial institutions like those that we are honoring today,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in announcing the Development Impact Honors.

    The railroad in Afghanistan, funded by the Asian Development Bank and completed in 2011, was the country's first rail link in almost a century and was meant to boost the fragile state's economy, and also help supply NATO troops there and provide aid.

    The railroad covers a 75 km (50 mile) stretch of single track that links Afghanistan's main city in the north, Mazar-i-Sharif, to Uzbekistan, which serves as the gateway for many of Afghanistan's imports.

    “Fragile states pose concerns of peace and security for both their people and beyond their borders,” said Marisa Lago, Treasury's assistant secretary for international markets and development affairs. “So when we think about why the U.S. government engages in development - we recognize the strong benefits for our national security.”

    Treasury said the railroad has provided about 1,200 local jobs so far, helped boost the area's economic growth, lowered the price of goods, and reduced poverty.

    Treasury chose the projects based on how much they improved the lives of the people in the country, followed environmental and social standards and were innovative, among other criteria. All the projects had to have been completed in the last seven years to be eligible.

    In Yemen, dealing with crises including political turmoil, deep poverty and separatists, the World Bank provided funding and training for several community-driven projects that hired local Yemenis to offer better health and water services and vocational training, and also built new schools and a more durable road.

    “While the state may be fragile, there are communities, so we're looking for the strength in the community,” Lago said, adding that it was important to tailor each project to the local community's needs.

    The project follows the World Bank's model of focusing on community-driven development in uncertain environments, similar to its initial foray into Myanmar.

    Other U.S.-honored projects include a program that enables West African farmers to grow more durable rice with a higher protein content, a wind farm project in Mongolia, microfinance to small-scale farmers in Bangladesh, and training for low-income youth in Brazil in job skills and “soft skills” like self-esteem and civic responsibility.  

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.