Malé, Maldives – The World Bank today released a statement stating that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation Maldives and the government needs to address policy, legal, and regulatory gaps to leverage digital dividend.
In their statement the World Bank highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation that was already underway in the Maldives, thanks to relatively high broadband and mobile internet penetration in the country. About 63 percent of the population used the Internet in 2019, a higher proportion than in other South Asian countries and peers outside the region.
To leverage the digital dividend, Maldives needs to address policy, legal, and regulatory gaps that currently inhibit the adoption of digital technologies.The World Bank
It also needs to boost Maldivians’ digital capabilities and skills to ensure that all Maldivians can take advantage of new technologies in an increasingly digital world.
The World Bank also stated that the Maldives’ GDP is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
The South Asia Economic Focus titled Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development project the Maldives’ economy to grow by 22.3 percent in 2021, largely reflecting base effects, and by 11 percent in 2022. This forecast assumes that borders remain fully open with at least 1.1 million tourists expected to visit the islands in 2021, double the amount recorded in 2020, 65 percent of 2019 levels. Arrivals are expected to pick up steadily as global travel normalizes, driving real GDP to recover to 2019 levels by 2023. The poverty rate is expected to decline to 9.1 percent in 2021 and subsequently to 4.3 percent by 2023.
Faris Hadad-Zervos, Country Director of the World Bank for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka states that while the Maldivian economy is on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, to build back better and more resilient from the unprecedented shock, the Maldives needs to focus on fiscal prudence to address debt vulnerability, economic diversification, and human capital investment.