Maldives Partners with Dubai’s IFZA for Economic Zone Development

Photo: Economic Ministry

The Maldivian government has partnered with Dubai’s International Freezone Authority (IFZA) to establish a special economic and financial services zone in Fonadhoo and an economic gateway in Ihavandhippolhu. 

In a ceremony held this morning, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed and IFZA Chairman Martin Pedersen exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding.

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The development plans for Ihavandhippolhu include the construction of Islamic finance centres, educational institutions, research hubs, and residential and commercial zones. Infrastructure such as ports, cruise terminals, and airports, along with a residential city called “aero city,” are also part of the blueprint.

Additionally, Funadhoo, an industrial island near the capital Male City, is earmarked for transformation into a financial hub, complete with financial centres, convention spaces, and hospitality facilities.

The collaboration follows a previous agreement in March with Vitol, the world’s largest independent energy trader, to construct a bunkering facility in Ihavandhippolhu.

Martin Pedersen, Chairman of IFZA, highlighted the strategic importance of the collaboration, citing its potential to reshape the Maldivian economy. He emphasized the infusion of world-class infrastructure, including conference centres, hotels, and real estate developments.

Minister Saeed reiterated the government’s commitment to connectivity, revealing plans to link Fonadhoo’s airport with Male City upon completion. He also affirmed the project’s imminent commencement following the MoU agreement.

Minister Saeed emphasized that detailed planning for the project, including port operations and logistics, would be meticulously undertaken. He outlined differing implementation strategies for Fonadhoo and Ihavandhippolhu, with the former set for single-phase execution and the latter envisioned through a phased approach.

Highlighting IFZA’s involvement, Minister Saeed praised the company’s track record in executing successful ventures, echoing their accomplishments in Dubai. He reiterated the collaborative spirit underpinning the initiative, aligning with the President’s vision for fostering a conducive environment for business engagement and economic progress.

The partnership between the Maldives and IFZA signals a new era of economic growth and infrastructural advancement, demonstrating the archipelago’s commitment to fostering an environment conducive to investment and development.

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