Maldives is set to graduate from a ‘least developed country’ (LDC) to a ‘developing country’ by December next year, according to the Minister of Economics and Development, Mohamed Rasheed.
Speaking at a press conference, Rasheed said that at a recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Geneva a ministerial envoy had discussed many issues regarding the transition.
Rasheed said that graduating from a LDC would open the Maldivian economy to many opportunities, particularly the chance to broaden its activities from its staples of tourism, fishing and construction.
“After graduation the country needs to keep improving the economy,” he said. “This is only possible through foreign investment and the reinvestment of wealth.”
Rasheed explained that under the WTO’s framework, countries graduating would receive a five year aid package of US$1.5 million annually.
Rasheed also addressed the issue of foreign investment and international trade, both key factors he claimed would stimulate the Maldivian economy.
Describing one method of boosting foreign investment, Rasheed recounted a meeting with the Swiss minister for economics and trade that led to a tax agreement whereby Swiss companies investing in the Maldives will only have to pay Maldivian taxes on that investment, making them exempt from high Swiss taxes.