Overview of Australia’s aid program to the Maldives
2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $6.6 million
2014/15 Budget Estimate: $7.0 million
Australia and the Maldives share a productive relationship, with links in trade and tourism, education, development cooperation and through the Commonwealth.
Despite political challenges over recent years, the Maldives has graduated to upper middle-income country status and has achieved five of the eight MDGs.
However, diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance and increasing employment opportunities remain major economic challenges for the Maldives Government. Delivery of basic services is expensive and uneven, and the benefits of economic growth have failed to reach some of the country’s most vulnerable people. Clean water shortages are recurrent, infrastructure is poor and the Maldives is particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of a changing climate and extreme weather events. Tourism and fisheries contribute nearly 80 per cent of gross domestic product, but these industries are also most vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate.
Australia’s aid to the Maldives will target human development through the education sector. In 2014-15, we will:
- provide 33 Australia Awards for study at Australian universities, focused on economics, education and environmental science
- help improve the quality of education at primary and secondary levels through the Maldives Education Sector Volunteers Program in cooperation with the Maldives Ministry of Education
Australia will also support effective governance through support to the United Nations Development Programme-led Integrated Governance Program. The program aims to strengthen the transparency and accountability of public institutions, promote equitable access to justice and respect for human rights, and strengthen the voice of civil society organisations.
Australia is also funding the World Bank-managed Maldives Climate Change Trust Fund. The Fund supports the development and implementation of the climate change strategy and action plan for the Maldives. It aims to build a climate-resilient economy and society through adaptation to the impacts of climate changes and mitigation for a carbon neutral development path.
In 2013-14, we provided 35 Australia Awards. Returned alumni are applying their new skills in influential roles in government and the private sector.
Between 2010 and 2014, 25 volunteers have been deployed to the Maldives to provide training to local teachers and assistance in curriculum development. 1,500 teachers have benefited to date.