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Moving up the development ladder Maldives
President Nasheed has put priority on establishing “a nation- al infrastructure capable of providing comprehensive telecommu- nication and ICT services throughout the country.” Major goals include: strengthening the regulatory framework; promoting private investment and the provision of services on a commer- cial basis, with greater participation from civil society; setting up affordable and non-discriminatory rates to encourage adoption of ICT in education, health and environmental protection; and establishing an e-governance service platform for the provision of online services.
Connectivity as a driver of socio- economic development
Promoting the adoption of ICT in government activities to im- prove service delivery has been a goal of the Maldives’ National Development Plans for several years. The use of ICT within min- istries is widespread, and most government office workers have IT and Internet access. The majority of government agencies in Male are connected through a local area network.
The government plans to connect all educational institutions in the atolls to a wide area network. The Information Technology Development Project seeks to implement e-government through the Government Network of the Maldives, which will connect government and parastatal agencies in Male and 20 atolls.
The adoption of ICT in health care and environmental pro- tection, as well as in education, is essential for the sustainable development of the Maldives. With the financial support of a development partner, the country is now working on the imple- mentation of a national early warning system to help it mitigate the impact of environmental shocks, such as the 2004 tsunami.
The health sector has also benefited from increased connec- tivity by introducing telemedicine projects among the islands. In December 2010, Dhiraagu announced the donation of a tel- emedicine system to the Ministry of Health and Family that will facilitate the provision of telemedicine services between remote islands and the central hospital in Male. The system will also be used for training medical personal in remote locations. To facili- tate its use across the country, Dhiraagu will cover the expense of technical support, software licensing fees and broadband con- nectivity charges for one year.
Challenges and goals going forward
As a graduated LDC, the Maldives faces many challenges. Achieving sustainable development will depend largely on the country’s ability to diversify the economy, reinforce the private sector and keep public finances in check, while continuing on the path of promoting increased social participation. These steps will help the country advance towards its goal of reducing poverty in its population.
26 ITU News 6 | 2011 July | August 2011
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