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Social development is not everything:

Itís the only thing

Over the last two decades the key policy goal of the Government of Maldives has been social development. And this is not just on paper. The Maldives is one of the few countries in the world that has met the ECOSOC target of investing 20% of its GDP on social development.

The results of this investment are impressive. Where there was not a single government school in a non-Male island 25 years back, today there is at least one school in each of the nearly 200 inhabited islands. Where primary education was an exclusive domain of the privileged few in Male just a generation back, today it is not just a universal right but a national duty for all children.

When a fisherman in an outer island falls sick today, he no longer looks around for the local witch doctor, who sends him on an impossible errand to get non-existent ingredients. Instead, he goes to a modern hospital to take treatment from a specialist. The medications do not come from the "flower buds of a non-mature coconut palm, nor from the navel of an unborn child". They come from well-stocked pharmacies.