Maldives has created a thriving high-end tourist business thanks to its exceptionally rich and diversified marine natural ecosystem. Over the past five decades, tourism profits have helped decrease poverty and led to consistent improvements in human development results.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light some challenges in the Maldives’ development model. Small size, geographical isolation, and a widely dispersed population make it harder for businesses to sell their goods or provide services at affordable rates. The same goes for public services. Economic activity is also centered on a few important areas, most notably tourism, with minimal opportunity for diversification.
Many of these challenges were also identified in the Bank Group’s first Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) in the Maldives, conducted in 2015 and further updated in 2020 through a series of consultations across the country. The rich insights and perspectives received as part of public consultations provided a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges the country faces. The 2020 SCD update will feed into the World Bank Group’s new Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which will guide the Bank Group’s engagement in the archipelago for the next four years.