Political changes in Maldives would have gone unnoticed if not for SAARC: World Bank official

A senior official at the World Bank has told a journalism workshop that attention of the world on the recent political strife in the Maldives is a result of the nation’s membership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperationn (SAARC), reports Sri Lanka’s Sunday Observer.

“Considering its size, the political changes in Maldives would have gone unnoticed to the rest of the world if not for its position within SAARC,” Diep Nguyen-Van Houtte told the event, organised by the World Bank.

“It received unprecedented attention from the world’s media due to its position within SAARC,” she continued.

Nguyen Van Houtte told the group of journalists from across the region that the smaller SAARC countries could strengthen their positions within the organisation by focussing on the provision of services such as tourism, medicine and IT, rather than trying to compete with the larger members in trade and production.

“Size is no reason for them to be sidelined within the grouping. Take the example of Singapore. Despite being such a tiny country, the South East Asian nation is at the top of World Bank’s development indices”, the Sunday Observer reported Nguyen Van Houtte as saying.

“This proves that small is beautiful and that size is no barrier when it comes to holding your own.”