New Delhi : World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser, today concluded his four-day visit to the Maldives. On his maiden visit to the Maldives since assuming office in July 2022, Raiser highlighted the challenges of high debt and climate risks facing the country and reiterated the World Bank’s support for important reforms and investments to secure continued, resilient growth.
In Male’, Raiser met with his Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Honorable Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Honorable Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, and Honorable Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna. He reflected on the strong partnership between the World Bank and the Maldives over the past 44 years and expressed the World Bank’s commitment to supporting challenging fiscal reforms and investments in strengthening resilience in the face of global macroeconomic and climate change shocks. He commended the government for the recent tax increases, which are important for rebuilding fiscal buffers.
“Maldives has developed from absolute poverty to middle income in a little over a generation and has managed the COVID-19 crisis well. But high levels of debt, the impact of the war in Ukraine on commodity prices, and the risks of climate change and rising sea levels are creating new challenges,” said Martin Raiser. “Sound fiscal policies and smart investments in resilience and cost effective service delivery will be critical to sustain Maldives rapid growth story.”
Raiser joined senior officials of the Maldivian government to break ground on the installation of 5MW solar Photovoltaic (PV) in Male’, supported by the World Bank’s Accelerating Sustainable Private Investment in Renewable Energy (ASPIRE) project. The project will reduce the costs of electricity compared with traditional diesel generation by more than half, making a critical contribution to saving scarce budget and foreign exchange resources. He also attended the closing ceremony of a high-level, two-day workshop organized by the World Bank and the Government of Maldives to explore the use of innovative digital solutions and data for climate adaptation.
Outside the capital city, Raiser visited the island of Gulhi in Kaafu Atoll to observe first-hand the impact of climate change on the Maldives’ fragile natural environment, critical infrastructure and people’s livelihoods, and how smart investments and leveraging eco-system services can help build resilience.