Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid says the Maldives’ precarious dependency on a single industry- tourism, for national income has led to economic collapse, despite early intervention amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.
He made the comments while addressing the Horasis Extraordinary Meeting, held virtually on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Speaking at a panel entitled “The Potential for South Asia”, Minister Shahid noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inequalities that exist within and between countries to a shocking level.
He emphasized the need for strengthened regional cooperation to combat the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia.
Minister Shahid acknowledged that Maldives’ precarious dependency on a single industry- tourism, for national income has led to economic collapse, despite early intervention.
Shahid added that the Maldives has taken strict measures to cut down expenditure, and formulated long-term plans for recovery including diversifying the country’s economy.
He also expressed his gratitude to the international community and the brotherly nations in the region including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for their generous assistance in the form of aid, grants, credit lines, and undisrupted supply of essential commodities during this critical time.
Acknowledging that SAARC needs to do so much more, Minister Shahid called to strengthen intra-regional trade and connectivity, to benefit from the full potential that exists in SAARC.
He highlighted that more than ever, the crisis has revealed that universal access to the internet and digital technology is critical to ensure development and progress for all.
Shahid also stated that lessons must be taken and focus should be on how the world rebuild after this pandemic, by incorporating preparedness, resilience, inclusivity, equity, and sustainability.