Dhiraagu has secured US$ 55 million funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve digital infrastructure and strengthen connectivity across the Maldives.
The first facility amounting to US$ 25 million will support the working capital and capital investment programme of Dhiraagu to enhance the internet experience, including investments in 5G services and high-speed fibre broadband to more islands. It will also support the domestic submarine cable expansion project, which aims to enhance the capacity of Dhiraagu to meet the increasing data needs of the customers. The second facility of US$ 30 million will support the SEA-ME-WE 6 Submarine Cable System project, connecting the Maldives to the global superhighway which is an important step by Dhiraagu towards making the Maldives a global digital hub.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director said Dhiraagu is delighted to be working with two major global development institutions, ADB and IFC, who are helping fund major investment programmes to support the social and economic development of the nation. He said securing the funding is an endorsement of the strength of the Dhiraagu and its vision for the development of digital infrastructure in the Maldives. He said the investment has also played a pivotal role in establishing the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) function under whichDhiraagu is aiming to enhance the commitment towards achieving the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sustainable Development Goals.
Dhiraagu has also established an Environmental and Social Management System in compliance with IFC Performance Standards (PS) 2012 and ADB Safeguard Policy Statement (2009) with the aim of creating long-term stakeholder value through the implementation of a business strategy that focuses on the ethical, social, environmental, cultural, and economic dimensions of doing business. Apart from helping the company strengthen its environmental and social management system, IFC will also support Dhiraagu’s efforts to close the current gender gap in its workforce, with a focus on increasing the number of women in technical roles through customized advisory support.
“IFC’s investment in Dhiraagu to boost the digital infrastructure of the Maldives will be invaluable to help overcome the challenge of connecting people in one of the world’s most dispersed countries,” said Hector Gomez Ang, IFC’s Regional Director for South Asia. “This investment will help diversify the economy by unlocking the digital delivery of key public and private services, allowing people living in the atolls to access education and healthcare. It will also help build resilience by enabling remote work and offers the potential to create more jobs in a country now heavily reliant on tourism. IFC is committed to helping the Maldives achieve inclusive and sustainable growth for future resilience.”
”Mobile and internet connectivity is important for socioeconomic growth and development,” said ADB Private Sector Operations Department Director General Suzanne Gaboury. “It’s crucial for island nations like the Maldives, where public services are difficult to provide as the population is spread across numerous islands. This is ADB’s first private sector infrastructure financing transaction in the Maldives, which will help to deliver faster and more affordable internet connectivity and be a crucial enabler of private sector investments and regional connectivity.”
As the sector rapidly grows and advances technologically, IFC said it aims to continue being one of the leading development financiers in digital infrastructure across emerging markets, supporting all aspects of the ecosystem.