Focus on fiscal health, private sector jobs, housing and climate resilience
MALE, January 22, 2019— A senior World Bank Group delegation concluded its official four-day visit to Maldives on Tuesday with a commitment to expand its support for Maldives’ priority development initiatives. During the visit, which marked more than 40 years of a strong partnership between the World Bank and Maldives, the delegation met with the President of Maldives, HE Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and several senior officials of the government. They also interacted with community leaders, local officials and beneficiaries of World Bank Group supported projects in Male, Fuvahmulah and Baa Maalhos.
The senior delegation included Dr. Merza Hasan, Executive Director for Maldives at the World Bank and the Dean of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group, Hartwig Schafer, Vice President for South Asia, World Bank and Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Speaking on the meeting with President Solih, Hasan said, “We discussed opportunities and challenges facing Maldives today including the need for better planned decentralization, affordable housing and funding for infrastructure projects. On behalf of the Government of Maldives I want to convey our deepest appreciation for the strong support that the World Bank Group is extending to the country.”
Earlier, Schafer visited the city of Fuvahmulah in one of the southernmost atolls, to witness how community participation in a Bank supported wetland management project was enhancing both the design and acceptability of climate change interventions. On Sunday the delegation visited a Bank supported island waste management center in Maalhos on Baa atoll.
“I salute the warm, hardworking and resolute people of Maldives who despite challenges are taking big strides to improve the quality of life for their family and their communities, “said Schafer. “At Baa Maalhos, I learnt from Sameera, a local community leader, and Abdullah, local council head, how the residents were actively participating in the management of solid waste. Tourism is benefitting from this initiative - which means more jobs for the community.”
Speaking on the future support from IFC, Stoiljkovic said, “We are excited about reengaging in the Maldives and are focused on key sectors where IFC can add considerable value to the country’s development. This would include renewable energy, housing, SMEs and climate finance."
During their visit, the delegation also met senior government officials including the Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Environment, Hussain Rasheed Hasan and the Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority, Ahmed Naseer.
At the meeting, Minister Ameer emphasized the need to push for fiscal reforms and to create more jobs by attracting private sector investments. The discussions recognized that expanding tourism in a sustainable manner and imparting appropriate skills to the youth will be key to more jobs. The Bank promised full support to Maldives in these areas.
Background: Maldives became a member of the World Bank in 1978 and has enjoyed a trusted partnership with the institution for over 40 years. The country has implemented 29 projects across many development areas with more than $255 million in World Bank support.