President Dr Mohamed Muizzu announced a significant aid package from China, amounting to USD 130 million in free aid. This announcement came after President Muizzu’s return from his first state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The visit, which confirmed the deepening ties between the Maldives and China, culminated in this substantial allocation of funds, mainly earmarked for infrastructure and economic development.
During his visit, President Muizzu toured various free trade zones in Xiamen, highlighting their role in economic stimulation. This exploration was part of an overarching strategy to bolster the Maldivian economy by adopting successful models from China. Following this, the Maldivian President participated in the Investment Maldives forum held in Fuzhou, attended by over 300 Chinese companies. The forum, described by the President as the largest and most successful investment forum to date, involved both government and private entities from the Maldives and China, facilitating significant business and investment opportunities.
China’s aid package is set to be channelled into various sectors. Key areas include the development of the fishing industry, digital economy enhancements, and public service media growth. Additionally, a notable portion of the funds will be dedicated to constructing roads in cities, addressing a critical infrastructure need. The educational sector is also a beneficiary, with 1,000 fully funded scholarships for Maldivian civil servants in human resource development. The agricultural sector, banking, tourism, and social housing projects are other focal areas of this comprehensive aid package.
A highlight of the agreement includes the decision to establish a sister city relationship between Fuzhou and Male’ City, fostering closer cultural and economic ties. Additionally, plans for renewable energy investments, the construction of a tertiary hospital, and the development of a commercial district in Hulhumale’s second phase further exemplify the multifaceted nature of this collaboration.
President Muizzu’s visit also led to agreements in sports, shore protection, and waste management, alongside the development of essential infrastructure like electricity, water, and road construction.
In his concluding remarks, President Muizzu emphasised the exemplary relationship between China and the Maldives; this recent aid package and series of agreements mark a significant milestone in the Maldives-China relationship, heralding a new era of cooperation and mutual growth.