The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of $9.6 million to the Republic of the Maldives to expand Kulhudhuffushi Harbor, a project expected to benefit the 8,000 people living on Kulhudhuffushi Island as well as 30,000 people living on nearby islands.
The project will construct a dedicated passenger and cargo harbor that can cater to larger cargo vessels and accommodate a long-distance passenger service from the central and southern regions.
“The lack of transport connectivity is a major constraint to development in the Maldives, which has more than 1,000 coral islands scattered over 90,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean, making it one of the most dispersed countries in the world,” said Andri Heriawan, ADB Transport Specialist. “Better connectivity will mean many more people will have better access to jobs as well as schools, hospitals, and other medical services.”
At present, Kulhudhuffushi Harbor is used for passenger traffic, cargo transport, commercial fishing, and transport of agricultural commodities. Increasing the capacity of the harbor to cater to 250 vessels per day from the current 150 vessels will improve connectivity in the northern region and enhance access to the services and amenities available on Kulhudhuffushi Island such as housing, secondary education, quality health facilities, and financial services.
For residents of Kulhudhuffushi Island, located around 270 kilometers north of the capital Malé, the project will generate employment supporting construction activities and increase opportunities in the commercial sector.
In addition to the grant, ADB will provide $500,000 in technical assistance to enhance the institutional capacity of the Secretariat of Kulhudhuffushi Council and Public Works Services to improve harbor operation, maintenance, safety, and financial management. The technical assistance will also include a harbor safety campaign, training for vessel drivers in passenger safety, and training for local residents on income-generating livelihood opportunities.
The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure will be responsible for implementing the project, which is expected to be completed by December 2019.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.