The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has endorsed a new 5-year country partnership strategy (CPS) for the Maldives covering 2020–2024.

In a statement, the Bank said that a roadmap for ADB operations in the Maldives, the CPS will support the country to take on a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive path for development, and emerge stronger from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the CPS, ADB said that it would help enhance public sector efficiency and fiscal sustainability by improving the quality and efficiency of public services and state-owned enterprises, as well as tax administration.

ADB said that the strategy will support economic competitiveness and diversification of the country’s economic base by supporting private sector development, enhancing human development in the health and education sectors, and improving the international trade environment.

It added that the strategy will also support the improvement of the quality of life of island communities while ensuring environmental sustainability by investing in clean energy, solid waste management, preservation of the marine environment, climate adaptation, and disaster risk management.

ADB reaffirmed that it would continue gender mainstreaming in all its operations in the Maldives.

The new country partnership strategy reaffirms ADB’s strong commitment to helping Maldives address its key development challenges, including relief and recovery efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB approved more than $50 million in support of the government’s COVID-19 response measures in June. This strategy will build on that assistance to help Maldives’ economy become more resilient to external shocks and pursue sustainable and inclusive growth, fiscal consolidation, and debt sustainability.
Ronald Antonio Q. Butiong, ADB Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Director for South Asia

The Bank said that fiscal and debt sustainability concerns are key development challenges for the Maldives, which undermine its ability to respond to external shocks.

It also noted that a weak business environment, a small market, and a dispersed population have limited employment opportunities and slowed the development of a diversified and resilient economy.

ADB said that the Maldives is also vulnerable to threats posed by climate change and that environmental pollution affects the quality of island life, on which Maldives’ tourism success depends.

The Bank highlighted that the CPS is anchored on the government’s Strategic Action Plan (SAP) 2019–2023 and that it sets out a holistic strategy and programs for an inclusive, sustainable, and well-governed economy, articulating five priority areas: blue economy, caring state, dignified families, quality of island life, and good governance.

ADB said that it would support nonsovereign operations, deliver relevant knowledge products and services, and help strengthen capacities of executing and implementing agencies of the government.