Government of Japan provides a grant aid of 500,000,000 Japanese yen (MVR 68,750,000*) to the Maldives for further promoting the economic and social development in the country. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and the Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives Yanai Keiko signed the Exchange of Notes relating to the grant aid, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this afternoon.
This grant aid will be utilized to further strengthen the capacities of the Maldives Immigration and the Maldives Customs Services towards strengthening border control and countering terrorism. Under the grant aid, equipment, including facial recognition system, mobile x-rays, counterfeit bill detectors, special luminescent microscope, speedboats, and vehicles will be provided to the two agencies.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Shahid thanked the Government of Japan for the grant aid, characterizing it as yet another important gesture of Japan’s goodwill and extraordinary generosity to the Maldives. Minister Shahid recalled that expanding of bilateral cooperation into areas, such as counterterrorism and border security were among the key issues discussed during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Official Visit to Japan in October 2019, and therefore, the conclusion of the Exchange of Notes today marks an important outcome following the President’s Visit.
The Japanese Ambassador, in her remarks, noted that this grant assistance aims to strengthen the capacity and capability of the Maldives Immigration and Maldives Customs Service for border control and operational readiness. The Maldives, especially given the remoteness and vulnerabilities of islands, maintaining secure maritime, land and air borders is a key to the national security and public safety, and coordination among the relevant agencies is extremely important.
Japan is an important bilateral partner of the Maldives for several decades. Discussions are currently going on between the two Governments for a project to assist the Maldives to increase the capacities of the health service providers in the country during the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the Government of Japan provided a grant of USD 356,400 for UNICEF Maldives and USD 185,000 for Maldives Red Crescent to assist the Government in its efforts to respond to COVID-19.
The Government of Japan has also committed a grant of USD 1.4 million to the UNDP Maldives that will support small and medium enterprises (SME’s) affected by COVID-19.