Ecuador (página en castellano)

Belgian cooperation has been present in Ecuador since 1977, when it executed a first bilateral project there. It took until 1980 though before a first general cooperation agreement was signed between both governments. 

In June 2006, Ecuador and Belgium concluded their 7th Joint Commission, which amounted to EUR 32 million for two priority intervention sectors: Rural development and health.

Ecuador is very diverse, geographically speaking. Rural areas are most affected by poverty (77%). The GDP per inhabitant is increasing. In 2009, it amounted to USD 3,669, which places Ecuador among middle-income countries.

However, the benefits of development are still distributed unequally in the country. About 10% of the population hold 46% of national income. Some parts of the population are especially touched by poverty, such as women, the poor and the Afro-Ecuadorian population. That is why the rural development programme supports local initiatives that provide employment and income-generating opportunities to these social groups in five priority provinces. In each province, production zones have been identified for coffee and cocoa cultivation, for fisheries and for tourism. The objective is to improve the quality of the products and their commercialisation.

The healthcare system in Ecuador has degraded over the past 10 years following the fragmentation of its institutions and the fact that improving health services was not considered a priority. The current government has allocated a USD 1,300 million budget to the sector, which is an increase of 200% compared to previous years. 500 million of that amount is for the development of a new Healthcare Management and Performance model, to enable a growth in the coverage and quality of free services. The health programme of Belgian cooperation will support this plan, which was formulated by the Ministry of Public Health.

Regardless of the efforts agreed upon by different cooperation actors, 62% of rural population and 38% of urban population still have no access to drinking water. One of the critical issues is the management of water resources and of hydraulic basins. Access to high-quality water is an essential condition for good health. That is why the Health Programme will help the Ministry for Urban Development and Housing to improve the management of Juntas de agua parroquiales (Intermunicipal water providers) in collaboration with other cooperation agencies, which are concentrating on the construction and improvement of drinking water systems.