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Mr. Giovanni Melina and Marika Santoro
The increased likelihood of adverse climate-change-related shocks calls for building resilient infrastructure in the Maldives. Fulfilling these infrastructure needs requires a comprehensive analysis of investment plans, including with respect to their degree of climate resilience, their impact on future economic prospects, and their funding costs and sources. This paper analyzes these challenges, through calibrating a general equilibrium model. The main finding is that there is a significant dividend associated with building resilient infrastructure. Under worsened climate conditions, the cumulative output gain from investing in more resilient technologies increases up to a factor of two. However, given the Maldives’ limited fiscal space, particularly after COVID-19, the international community should also step up cooperation efforts. We also show that it is financially convenient for donors to help build resilience prior to the occurrence of a natural disasters rather than helping finance the reconstruction ex-post.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper focuses on Maldives’ Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The pandemic is inflicting significant damage, especially on tourism activity, and is expected to result in substantial weakening of the Maldives’ gross domestic product growth, balance of payments and the fiscal position. The government of the Maldives acted quickly to put in place containment measures and is seeking support from the international community for its crisis response plan. The authorities have responded quickly to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, including specific travel restrictions and subsequently more comprehensive travel measures. They also put together a set of measures to alleviate its social and economic fallout. The temporary fiscal accommodation is appropriate. The authorities will reprioritize and cut capital expenditures, redirecting funds as needed to combat the pandemic and provide temporary and well-targeted support to the most vulnerable households and businesses, while maintaining high standards of transparency and governance. The authorities remain committed to fiscal and debt sustainability over the medium term. They intend to achieve a balanced fiscal adjustment based on the reduction of capital spending to historical averages, recurrent expenditure discipline, and revenue mobilization.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 percent in the 1970s to 7 percent over the last decade. Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades. Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks to India’s increasing performance, contributes to over 15 percent of global growth. Looking ahead, the authors find that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy, in both relative and absolute terms. India has overtaken China as the fastest growing large economy and South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance. Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labor market by 2030. This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy. Amid a changing global economic landscape, the authors argue that South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2005 Article IV Consultation with Maldives discusses that Maldives has rebounded strongly from the tsunami of late 2004. Gross domestic product has grown rapidly, underpinned by a robust increase in tourist arrivals, and by construction activity pertaining to the development of new resorts. Inflation remains low although it is on a rising trend. The exchange rate peg continues to serve the country well. The main challenge for Maldives is to ensure that favorable growth prospects are not undermined by fiscal excesses and consequent macroeconomic instability. The IMF staff urged the authorities to prioritize expenditures in line with more realistic revenue estimates, so as to achieve the stated objective of zero domestic financing of the budget. There has been a recent increase in debt ratios due to construction of new resorts and the government’s ambitious infrastructure program. The new central bank act has separated the positions of finance minister and governor of the central bank and reorganized the governing body of the central bank. Going forward it will be important to entrench central bank independence.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2001 Article IV Consultation with Maldives highlights that the economic challenges faced by Maldives are strongly influenced by geography and environment. The government’s overarching development strategy consists of creating new growth centers in the north and the south of the country and massive land reclamation in the vicinity of Male. Notwithstanding a slowdown in growth in 2000, Maldives’ economy has prospered with the rapid expansion of tourism and the modernization of the fisheries. At the conclusion of the last Article IV consultation on November 9, 2000, Executive Directors praised Maldives’ overall performance, however, warned of emerging imbalances. Fiscal slippage, compounded by adverse external developments, has been the main cause of recent imbalances in the Maldivian economy, manifested in rapid monetary expansion and sustained pressure on the exchange rate. The report shows that monetary developments have been dominated by central bank financing of fiscal deficits and excess demand for foreign exchange. The IMF staff team concluded that an adjustment of the exchange rate was not warranted until other options had been explored more fully.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2012 Article IV Consultation with Maldives discusses that fiscal position is weak, and its external reserves are critically low. The country has a long history of fiscal and external imbalances. Macroeconomic policies need adjustment. The authorities have taken important steps in the 2013 budget to reduce the fiscal deficit, but further consolidation is needed, both to ensure debt sustainability and to strengthen the balance of payments. That latter goal would be aided by devaluation, combined with a restrictive incomes and subsidy policy, which would address the current overvaluation of the rufiyaa and help to curb imports. Monetary tightening would help to prevent the need for a further devaluation. Financial supervision, particularly with regard to the state bank, also needs strengthening. Given the track record, a Staff Monitored Program could be the appropriate starting point for any renewed engagement, however, in order to begin discussions, there would need to be a clear commitment on the authorities’ part to implementing a comprehensive set of policy adjustments.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2002 Article IV Consultation with Maldives discusses that the performance of the Maldivian economy was strong through most of the past decade, despite handicaps arising from its small size and vulnerability to external developments. The devaluation and the weaker dollar have brought the effective real exchange rate closer to that of main competitors. Reserves have clawed back some of the losses in the aftermath of the devaluation. The 2002 Article IV discussions presented the opportunity to reassess progress toward restoring the soundness of macroeconomic and structural policies. In order to ensure a favorable medium-term performance for the Maldives, policies need to support the fixed exchange rate and adapt to ongoing structural changes—notably, the progressive liberalization of the financial sector, further private sector participation in activities still dominated by state-owned enterprises, and the likely tapering off of external assistance. The authorities have made some progress in responding to key policy challenges. Recent consultations have stressed the need for a stronger fiscal position and independent monetary management.