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KIVA Project

When researching for the chart, I began to realize that GDP was seemingly pointless to

look at as it can be skewed at a small scale. Many of these countries have an okay GDP per

capita, but when you look deeper than this stat you find out how most of the country lives. The

World Factbook would give me good GDP numbers, and later on I would find out how poorly

the everyday citizens of the country are truly living. Many of the poorest countries had problems

with people being addicted to drugs, and the underground economy makes up a large portion of

the GDP. Throughout the research, I noticed drug use and the prevalence of the underground

economy to run hand in hand with a country struggling to get off its feet and that this issue

effects nearly every country in some way.

The first country selected from the chart is Georgia. Georgia is a country that looks like it

has potential to improve standard of living but could use some guidance along the way. This

country struggles due to an unemployment rate of 12% and due to disputes involving Russia,

causing all flights to and from Russia to be canceled until further notice. Due to Georgia’s

location, the country is used as a shipment point for opiates via Central Asia to Western Europe

and Russia. This leads to cultivation of opium and obviously the sale of opium, which leads to

the illicit trade of drugs making up for a very large portion of their GDP. The government

realized in the early 2000’s that their citizens were struggling with poverty and decided to

increase the amount of welfare in the bottom 40% of people in the economy. The economy has

still managed to grow around 4.5% per year in the past 4 years, showing that the industries in the

country have potential to succeed in the future. Their growth in GDP is promising, and hopefully

will continue as their economy and the industries in it continue to grow.

Our final country that we selected is the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands contains

different islands and they are a democratic country. The total GDP is around 12.2 billion dollars.

Their main method for getting money is cutting trees or logs in the past. However, logs are their

main non-renewable resource, so their government has serious rules for people in the Solomon

islands. In 1998, the economics in the South Asia is not so pleasant and Solomon Islands’ logs

trade decrease. Economy in Solomon Islands is not so good. According to the Kiva website,

there are several women that need help or money to continue their grocery shop. They need rice,

noodles, or other food to continue operating their general store. We can conclude that the food

and some other goods are heavily lacking in the Solomon Islands.

Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, and

Uzbekistan. It’s known for rugged mountains. Because of the geography, Tajikistan doesn’t have

too much resources. The country has many mountains, and this prevents the people from farming

too much. Tajikistan is a democratic party country and its GDP is around 62.45 billion dollars.

Tajikistan has around 9 million people. They average GDP for person is around 721 dollars. It

makes that poor people in Tajikistan might have a rough time. According to Kiva website, there

is a woman called Marifati. She has a serious illness and cannot afford the medicine required to

properly cure her illness. Her job is working as a cook and her husband is a doctor. However,

they families can still not afford the cost of medicine. That proves that people from Tajikistan

have the issues that healthcare is expensive for most people, and they cannot afford to pay for

their own healthcare.

Tajikistan also has a large problem with the sale and use of illicit drugs, mostly opium

and heroin. Around 15-20 tons of opium and between 75 and 80 tons of heroin are smuggled into

the country each year from Afghanistan, either for use or for transfer to Russia and Europe.
Despite a government policy targeted at fighting illicit drug trafficking in cooperation with

foreign governments and international organizations, trafficking and use continues to increase.

The volume of the drug trade through Tajikistan is now equivalent to 30% of the country’s GDP.

The main reason behind this trade is the failure of NATO to properly handle its mission of

reducing cultivation in neighboring Afghanistan. In the fifteen years since NATO forces

committed to fighting drug production in Afghanistan, opium poppy cultivation has risen 7

percent. Traffickers exploit the Central Asian route through Tajikistan to reach Russia and

China. We can see how the geography of Tajikistan puts it at a disadvantage, and permit it from

becoming a more developed country

In conclusion, all of these countries that we researched are poor and not well-off and all

deserve our help. Georgia for instance is a country that struggles with illicit drug trade and high

unemployment, however their government has put in place a good welfare program and the

country has a brighter future. The Solomon Islands are dealing with the death of their main

industry, logging, but are also significantly more stable than the other two countries. However,

Tajikistan is in the most difficult position as a country and we have decided to choose them for

our presentation. Tajikistan is a country left in ruins following their civil war and could use some

extra help back onto their feet. It is a main drug passageway from Afghanistan to Russia and

China, which spawns drug abusers and an extremely large market for illicit drugs. While all

these countries have their struggles, Tajikistan needs our help the most.

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