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World Bank Supports Maldives Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program

March 28, 2010

Male, 28 March 2010: The Government of Maldives efforts to accelerate economic growth will be supported by a $13.7 million (approximately 175.4 million rufiyaa) credit agreement signed today with the World Bank. The financing includes approximately $1.7 million (21.8 million rufiyaa) from the International Development Association’s (IDA’s) Pilot Crisis Response program.

The World Bank’s program for the Maldives supports the government’s credible set of reform measures to achieve upper-middle income status through economic diversification, more equitable access to services and opportunities, improved service delivery to sustain growth.

“We are indeed very pleased to support the Government’s efforts to put in place important policy and institutional structures that will help to regain and sustain inclusive economic growth,” said Naoko Ishii, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “This assistance program represents a new type of Bank engagement with the Maldives and we trust that this will be a starting point for a policy dialogue with Government that will continue well beyond the current difficulties the country is facing.”

The focus will be to support three key areas of the Government’s macroeconomic management program: (a) public financial management, specifically budget preparation, implementation and monitoring, (b) public enterprise reform, specifically measures to help ensure that the Government planned Public-Private Partnerships appropriately minimize future fiscal risks to the Government, and (c) social protection, specifically efforts to lay the foundations for a harmonized national social protection system.

The proposed program is also consistent with the Maldives Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) FY2008-12 which aims to support government efforts to better manage the economy and public finances.

The Bank program is part of a broader financing effort to support the Government with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also providing support to the Government program to help regain macroeconomic stability. The IMF has approved an amount of about US$92.5 million over three years, while the ADB has approved a US$35 million budget support operation with half expected to be disbursed in 2010 and the other half planned for mid-2011.

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