Maldives Receives USD 150 Million Saudi Loan for Airport, Health

Photo: Ministry of Finance

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has extended an additional USD 150 million in loan assistance to the Maldives, which includes a USD 100 million (MVR 1.5 billion) loan earmarked for the expansion of Velana International Airport (VIA) terminal, alongside a USD 50 million (MVR 770 million) loan dedicated to enhancing the Maldives’ healthcare sector.

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The Minister of Finance Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq signed the loan agreement on behalf of the Maldivian government on Thursday morning at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance, while CEO Sultan bin Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad represented SFD. Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, senior Maldivian officials, and an SFD delegation were also present at the ceremony. 

In his address, Minister Shafeeq expressed gratitude for SFD’s longstanding support, noting its critical role in helping the Maldives, particularly during the recovery from the 2004 Tsunami.

“Our hope is that, even in the future, we will continue to receive assistance from the Saudi Fund in important development projects,” he said, expressing optimism for continued cooperation.

Special gratitude was extended to the SFD Board for approving the USD 100 million loan specifically allocated for the expansion of Velana International Airport terminal.

Notably, this loan supplements an earlier USD 100 million loan granted by the SFD in 2016 for airport expansion, bringing the total assistance provided by the fund towards airport development to USD 200 million (MVR 3 billion).

Speaking at the ceremony, SFD CEO Al-Marshad declared that, with the assistance of Saudi Arabia, VIA’s capacity can be increased to 7 million passengers.

Moreover, Al-Marshad disclosed the SFD’s historical contributions to VIA’s development, dating back to 1978, 1981, 1992, 1999, and 2016. “With this agreement today, SFD has now provided six loans towards the upgrading and development of the airport,” he noted, adding that these loans amount to USD 285 million.

In addition to funding the airport expansion project, USD 50 million was allocated to the healthcare sector for the construction of 150-bed hospitals in three islands. Al-Marshad expressed hope that this investment would enhance healthcare accessibility for residents across the islands, ensuring the provision of quality medical services.

The Maldives first received SFD assistance in the 1970s for initial airport development, and support has since been extended across various sectors.

With this latest loan, SFD’s total financial assistance to the Maldives reaches USD 470 million.

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