World Bank Provides US$67.8 million financing

Half of the financing comes as a grant, and the other half as loan at concessional terms.

World Bank

World Bank

The Government of Maldives and the World Bank on 18 June 2023 have signed two agreements totalling USD67.8 million (approximately MVR1 billion) to support critical reforms to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and to strengthen competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the fisheries sector in Maldives.

“The Maldivian government is working on a comprehensive plan to improve the functioning of state-owned enterprises and diversify our economy,” said Hon. Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance of Maldives. “These two projects will help create more opportunities for businesses, strengthen our successful fisheries industry, and bring about important reforms that ensure our long-term financial and economic stability.”

According to a statement released by the World Bank, the Transforming Fisheries Sector Management in South-West Indian Ocean Region and Maldives Project (TransFORM) project is a $64.8 million initiative, out of which $52.8 million is allocated to Maldives, aimed at improving fisheries management in the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) Region.

The project focuses on sharing knowledge and data to make better decisions and strengthening the country's ability to govern and protect the fisheries sector. It aims to support other south west Indian ocean island nations and make Maldives a regional leader by providing knowledge and assistance. Promoting sustainable and inclusive practices to expand and diversify the fisheries industry, removing barriers to business competition, and training at least 40,000 people from the coastal communities with a special focus on encouraging more women to participate in fisheries management are also proposed interventions.

The second component, $15 million allocated to the  Maldives Competitiveness and Growth Project (MCGP) aims to assist in encouraging greater private sector participation in the economy and in enhancing the management and operation of specific SOEs. As per information provided by the Ministry of Finance, half of the financing comes as a grant, and the other half as loan at concessional terms. 

According to the World Bank, this project aims to make the 40,000 registered SMEs in Maldives more competitive by improving digital financial systems to make it easier for them to access loans. It will also provide support to selected innovative SMEs to help them grow and develop new environmentally friendly products that can compete in emerging markets, encouraging other existing small businesses and potential entrepreneurs to develop and contribute to a vibrant SME ecosystem.

“Over the years, Maldives has leveraged its beauty and natural assets to drive its impressive growth primarily through tourism,” said Faris. H. Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “The country's aim moving forward is to evolve this growth through greater diversification,  transformation within sectors, and resilience against climactic and fiscal shocks. These projects will contribute to that aim."

The TransFORM project will be implemented by the regional Indian Ocean Commission and Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. The MCGP project will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance.

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