MALE’, November 2, 2021 – A senior World Bank Group delegation concluded a four-day visit to Maldives today, reiterating the World Bank’s support for the country’s pandemic recovery and its efforts to capitalize on digital technologies for green, resilient and inclusive development.
The delegation included Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia; Dr. Merza Hasan, Dean of the World Bank Board of Executive Directors and Executive Director for Maldives; Hector Gomez Ang, Regional Director for South Asia, International Finance Corporation; and Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
In Male’, the delegation met with the Honorable Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer; the Honorable Minister of National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam; and the Honorable Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail.
“It is inspiring to see Maldives emerge stronger from natural disasters, climate-related shocks, and the COVID-19 crisis and lay the groundwork for a resilient recovery,” said Hartwig Schafer. “We are glad to see that even as tourism recovers, the government is exploring ways to diversify its economy and create jobs by leveraging digital technologies. We also commend the Government’s commitment to expand renewable energy for a greener, more resilient future.”
Commending the government’s effective COVID-19 response, including the swift rollout of vaccines and a strong focus on support for people’s livelihoods and economic recovery, Dr. Hasan said: “The World Bank health and economic support has helped the Maldives effectively respond to the pandemic and embark on a path of sustainable and inclusive recovery. I look forward to leveraging World Bank Group’s support to foster a strong, services-led economy in the Maldives.”
The meetings also stressed the importance of debt sustainability, economic diversification, and collaboration for digital development. They also underscored the crucial role of the private sector in creating jobs and easing the fiscal burden on government so that public investments can focus on improving public services such as health and education.
The World Bank representatives joined the Government of Maldives and key industry stakeholders, as well as youth and women entrepreneurs for a high-level roundtable on Digital Development. The event underscored the World Bank’s commitment to help the Maldives harness the potential created by the country’s high internet penetration rate, as well as its young population of digital savvy youth.
“I applaud the Maldivian government’s work to develop laws, policies and regulations to scale up digital development, drive economic growth, and create the jobs of the future,” said Schafer. “The World Bank supports the government’s efforts to equip all Maldivians - especially youth and women entrepreneurs - with digital skills to contribute to the economy and keep pace with the rest of the world.”
Meetings were also held with representatives of the private sector. Outside Male’, Schafer visited the site of a plastic waste collection operation run by environmental non-profit Parley Maldives.