SEATTLE — The Maldives is comprised of about 1,190 coral islands forming a double chain. It is one of the most disconnected countries in the world. Its total population is approximately 439,000, which is roughly the size of Madison, Wisconsin in the U.S. These five development projects in the Maldives have been initiated in order to improve the economy and the country’s future as it fights to compete in a global market dominated by powerful countries with seemingly infinite resources.
Sustainable Fisheries Resources Development Project
Objective: Improve management of fisheries at regional and national levels, including support to create mariculture in targeted atolls in the Maldives.
Mariculture is the farming and cultivation of aquatic plants and animals in the ocean for food. Atolls are ring shapes of coral that enclose a lagoon and grow around the shorelines of islands. This mariculture project was approved on April 11, 2017. While the cost is roughly $18 million, the payouts are predicted to be immense in many ways. This project is focusing on creating many jobs for both genders of those unemployed as well as helping rural markets for those not located in the capital city of Male. It will last until 2022 and exemplifies a focused effort to improve management and opportunity for multiple sectors and groups in the Maldives.
Maldives Postsecondary Education and Skills Development Training
Objective: Improve postsecondary education by focusing on issues of quality, access and efficiency across the sector.
The Asian Development Bank funded this program, which ran from 1999-2007, and completed a case study of the effectiveness of offering skills training programs and opportunities for better education. Prior to this project, any young adult who wanted to pursue higher education had to go abroad because there were no universities in the Maldives. However, the project built the Maldives College of Higher Education, which is based on a national quality assurance framework that will develop a curriculum that matches international standards. Students of both genders now have access to higher education opportunities that provide necessary skills for multiple career paths. It is one of a few development projects in the Maldives that focus on furthering education.
Development Project in Faafu Atoll
Objective: Growing tourism in rural areas of the Maldives by providing “international water sports, mixed development, residential and high-class development and several tourist resorts and airports”.
The $10 billion project was announced by President Yameen in March 2017. Tthe Maldives’ economy is very reliant on tourism, and by opening it up to rural communities, development projects in the Maldives of this nature will increase its tourism and hospitality capacity. They will also offer jobs and economic benefits rurally rather than keeping them confined to cities.
Information Technology Development Program
Objective: Improve access and reduce the high cost of local and long-distance phone use (both landlines and cellular expenses), increase access to the internet and introduce technological developments that will make it easier to increase the connection of the Maldives community with the government and the outside world.
There is a clear “international trend in telecom markets to contestability and competition”, as described by the Asian Development Bank. The Maldives must be able to compete in this market in order to reduce poverty, increase education quality and improve the efficiency in data collections and organization in sectors just as healthcare.
Maldives Clean Environment Project
Objective: Improve solid waste management in selected zones.
As a small country, the Maldives has been struggling to combat the negative impacts of climate change in the country. With rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, the country is fearful of its population becoming climate refugees. Even though the Maldives’ own fossil and toxic footprint is small, it still wants to set an example for larger countries on how to create a future of renewable energy, low waste and sustainability. This project was approved as a board presentation on June 23, 2017, and will run until the end of 2023.
These five incredible development projects in the Maldives have been adopted in order to improve the economy, environment, social culture and stability of the nation. With a population of roughly 436,000, it is now possible to see how big changes can come from the collective action of a small country being unified by the government and its citizens.
– Caysi Simpson