Waheed says China to grant Maldives $500 million loan

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has told Reuters that China will grant the Maldives US$500 million (MVR7.7billion) in loans during his state visit to the country.

The loans, equal to nearly one quarter of the Maldives’ GDP, would include $150 million (MVR2.3billion) for housing and infrastructure, with another $350million (MVR5.4billion) from the Export-Import Bank of China, reported Reuters.

This state owned bank is mandated with facilitating the export and import of Chinese products and promoting Sino-foreign relationships and trade, according to its official website.

China’s aid may provide an immediate salve to the government’s financial ailments which are on track to leave a MVR 9.1 billion ($590million) deficit in this year’s budget.

Former Foreign Minister and current UN Special Rapporteur to Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, explained that it was unlikely China would give any money to the Maldives as cash, suggesting that it would more likely come as assistance in kind, which was often difficult for the economy to “absorb”.

Shaheed said that the loan should not be interpreted as a change in foreign policy after former President’s Nasheed and Gayoom both recognised the importance of cultivating ties with China.

“This is very much in keeping with past policy. There has been a growing Chinese interest in the Maldives – a relationship based on trade, tourism and political contact,” said Shaheed.

“The lines so far drawn have demonstrated that the Maldives remains primarily SAARC focused, followed by trading partners in the EU and Singapore. China has moved into this second category,” he added.

“Nothing will change the fact that we are only 200 miles from Trivandrum,” he said.

A Chinese embassy opened in Male’ in time for the opening of the SAARC summit last November, reciprocating the opening of a Maldivian mission in Beijing in 2007.

Indian officials were reported at the time as having concern that the move was part of China’s “string of pearls” policy which supposedly involves Chinese attempts at naval expansion into the Indian Ocean.

On this matter, Shaheed acknowledged that India would be worried about Waheed’s arrival in Beijing after its apparent diplomatic failings during the Maldives’ recent troubles.

However, Shaheed said that a genuine policy shift would have to involve enhanced military cooperation, something avoided by former President Nasheed after his predecessor had shown some interest.

“Nasheed understood that the Maldives should not become a playground for the big powers,” he said.

Similarly, when asked upon his recent return from Sri Lanka what the Maldives’ policy was regarding Sino-Indian competition in the region, President Waheed is said to have responded that the policy of a small nation like the Maldives ought to be to avoid too great an involvement in geopolitics.

Waheed’s first official state visit after becoming president saw him travel to India in May. The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) conducted joint naval operations with India in the same month.

More recently, Waheed has visited the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.

The vast rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives was a point Waheed was keen to make to both Reuters and the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua.

“The purpose of this visit is we have a growing relationship with China,” Waheed told Reuters. “The most tourists from one nation are coming from China. So it is really important to have a good relationship and to also encourage Chinese tourists to continue to come to the Maldives.”

China leapfrogged the United Kingdom in 2010 to become the number one source of arrivals for the country’s travel industry.

Official figures from the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism reveal that China has provided 22.2 percent of all arrivals to the Indian Ocean nation this year – up 14.5 percent from last year.

When speaking with Xinhua, Waheed thanked the Chinese for choosing to visit the Maldives before going on to give praise to China’s policy of non-interference in foreign affairs.

Waheed has been critical of the Commonwealth’s role in the country’s recent political turmoil, suggesting that the organisation’s calls for early elections were “premature”.

In a comment piece for local newspaper Haveeru this week, Waheed’s Special Advisor Dr Hassan Saeed said that the Maldives should not tolerate interference from people “who fail to practice what they preach in their own country.”

“We need to have the confidence to challenge those diplomats and politicians in the international community who sometimes seem to let their personal political sympathies determine their approach to our problems,” said Saeed.

Xinhua reported that Waheed had lauded China for understanding the international affairs of smaller countries.

“China is emerging as one of the superpowers now. In that sense, it will inevitably play a significant role in world affairs,” said Waheed.

On this point, Shaheed argued that the mention of ‘non-interference’ alongside ‘world power’ was a non-sequitur.

“The world has moved on from this approach. It is now state business to interfere when partners appear to have violated agreements,” he said.

Shaheed added that praise for a host country’s policies was standard in these instances, “a nicety”, and suggested that people should “not read too much into it.”


34 thoughts on “Waheed says China to grant Maldives $500 million loan”

  1. Dr Shaheed, you are a drowing man, you will finally have to lick Farahnaz faisal's, slippers....who is going to listen to you today...

  2. Maldives govt paying interest at 20% interest lol @ baaghee Waheed.

    share the money @ 0% interest to:

    Golhaabo $200 Million
    Baghee Waheed $50 million
    Tasmeenu $50 Million
    Gasim $50 Million
    Lolly Jabir $25 Million
    Sheik Bon Aqua $5 Million
    Sheik Fahari $5 Million
    Hassan Saeed $15 Million
    Kutti $10 Million
    Riyaaz $10 Million
    Nazim $10 Million
    Balance $70 Million

    Money is running out, quick claim your share of money Baagees

  3. There is a Chinese Embassy in Maldives, but all Maldivians need to send their passports or go by themselves to Sri Lanka to get a Visa.
    What is the use of a Chinese Embassy in Maldives?
    Why can't Maldivian's get Visa on arrival to China (like we get to UK, South Africa and many other countries)?

  4. Anni and his close allies took a cut of USD 70 million from GMR ? It is mentioned in the GMR published accounts and the figure is available on the GMR site for every one to see.

    Anni and bandhe settled Herethera deal with Jabbir outside court for 5 million when Jabir was supposed to pay MTDC over 10 million dollars. out of this over 2 million was paid to Bandhe and Anni.

    Anni sold Dhiraagu shares to cable and wireless at much lower price than the market price since he got a few millions of dollars during his presidential campaign.

    Anni took a credit facilities from Sri Lanka at the rate of 13% interest .

    Anni took a loan from SBi with interest rate of 12% ?

    Anni gave Thilafushi project to Reeco for USD 28 million when MTCC had bid for the same project less than 40% of the Reeco price. This is because 15% of the income from the project was shared between Reeco and Anni.

    Waheed is taking a loan from Chinese banks with the interest rate of 3.5% .

  5. China gave the same type of package to Nigeria, now to do business in Nigeria you have to take out insurance from a offical government broker which is underwritten by China. The problem is if a Chinese company is bidding for a contract only the Chinese company is given the insurance cover to operate, thereby leaving them the sole contender for the business contract. The other problem the Maldives faces is that it doesn't raise enough capital in taxes to support the economy now, so where will the government get the extra revenue to pay the interest on time every month. China is now effectively your landlord, because the debt will only increase each month. Waheed should have held out his hand to the world bank, but then the WB have already withheld funds because of past dealings with the current government members. China on the other hand will take your land slowly for their own purpose, ask the Tibetans and the African countries they now hold under their control how they feel about being tennants of China.

  6. On Chinese 500 Million dollars, President Waheed has achieved more in foreign policy for Maldives in 6 months than what Shaheed in his entire career. What did Shaheed achieve for the country apart from globe trotting at the expense of the Government and filling the foreign ministry and embassies with his cronies.

    When did we hear from Shaheed any news other than human rights that he think is the panacea. Ofcourse it is his western puppet masters who were pulling his strings for their advantage.. Shaheed totally lacked capacity to understand even the fundamentals of global economy let alone Maldives society.

    Analyze Shaheed’s past statements, from each statement, you know that this is one guy who is convinced that he is the ultimate authority in Maldives foreign relations. It is a well known fact that he has a kind of ‘kiddy jealousy’ to all other PhDs in foreign policy in Maldives.

    One of the good outcomes of the coup (depending on how you label it), is that Shaheed is out of the picture.

  7. selling out to the Beijing regime, the World's worst polluter, will result in further reversal of Anni's efforts to protect the nation from being submerged by rising sea levels and a Chinese naval base just like is happening at Hambantota in Southeast Sri Lanka. But Waheed needs cash and now, before the World realizes it has been duped by the corrupt CONI report, so will borrow from the first loanshark.

  8. Conspiracy theories have no place in international relations.

    Yes, all governments have an overriding desire to promote their own interests through soft power such as loans, credit facilities, preferential trading regimes etc. This is understood, accepted and expected.

    It is the duty of the Maldivian government to accommodate these interests without compromising our own.

    Nasheed's foreign policy goals were very much one-track and personality-based. A lot of the media coverage during his tenure centered around his own personage and the headlines he could make after being dubbed a climate-change champion overnight. Meanwhile cynical persons abroad saw him as the foreign policy equivalent of a trendy chihuahua that climate-celebrities could carry around.

    Once more my sincere wish is that the MDP can rise above his shadow and forge ahead as a political party in its own right. Nasheed can form his own N-faction and later on a political party in his own image a la Qayyoom later on for all we care.

  9. A news loan, this one is 25% of GDP, you are kidding me right? And then when can not pay it back, the Maldives will be offered a delay to pay it back in exchange for a Chinese Navy base as part of it's support for the new Chinese Blue Water navy, (air craft carrier fleet).

    The Chinese have bought up large amounts of Africa, hey need a secure trade route between Africa and China to sustain China. The Maldives has been SOLD....

  10. guys talk fact.

    When gayyoom left the office , the country debt was 370 million and when Anni left the office country debt had gone over 1000 million?

    Taking a loan from Chinese is not going to ruin the country provided that the current government manage it properly and the next government who come have a solid economic policy to manage the debts.

    When Anni was robbing this country , many of the yellow party guys are saying that it was Ok but now what ever Dr. Waheed does to stabilize the economy you have something against to say regardless of the reality.

  11. Gasim and thasneem and many more of their team are in debt

    who needs the money most???

  12. China is being very generous. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

    While India has been our closest friend & development partner over the past, the issue of GMR is sadly having an impact on that very important relationship. This leaves little choice for the government but to strengthen economic relations with China who is ready to help.

    ex Prez Nasheed rushed the airport deal with GMR without Majlis consent. The deal is so one sided that the country is paying GMR rather than the nation earning anything from the deal! As a matter of fact GMR is facing similar problems in India's court regarding Delhi airport.

    It is sad to see the dark cloud of GMR being a reason to drive Maldives towards China rather than India. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Ex Prez Nasheed.

  13. Although it was difficult, Anni turned around the Maldivian Economy. Now a days the only job available in the Maldivian job market is Police jobs lol

    Just go to Maldives Housing Development Corporation and ask the criteria for loan.

    At annis time it was 20%
    Now 30 or 40 percent, and the bad news is they are not issuing any more loans.

  14. Public debt is sky high and our responsible president is out there borrowing more money to further increase public debt. Wow, must be to keep all his baghee masters and military and police happy, and at the expense of us the common people. Still what to do, so many are blind to this baghee government's tactics, they don't realize their kids and grand kids will be spending their working life repaying these baghee debts. Yep, Maldivians deserve this baghee for a president given how stupid we are.

  15. I do hope that the aid is in the form of technical assistance and such, instead of cash. Yes, it will be hard to absorb, but will mostly definitely not line the pockets of corrupt government officials, but reach the intended beneficiaries at the grass roots.

  16. @Ilyas Ahmed

    Waheed proposed to charge USD40 from every passenger at Airport, how do you justify that, now you will be paying 10 more dollars.

    I thought the Baagees were going to kick out GMR

    Anyways how often do you travel abroad? once or 20 times, ordinary folks do not travel that often,

  17. Jamstec environment program aid money to Abdulla Algeen, younger brother of former President Maumoon Abdul private acount.

  18. Er Ilyas, wasn't Waheed the VP in Nasheed's administration when GMR was awarded the airport? So how come it all lies on Nasheed's shoulders now? Ah I forgot, Waheed was too busy playing games and sulking eh 😉 wonder who'll have to shoulder then blame for the failures of this administration....may be Deen?

  19. Mariyam,

    Though Dr. waheed was VP but Anni autocratic policy does not allow him to do any thing and everyone in the key positions are being oppressed with the dictator .

  20. Mody is that the official excuse for Waheed? If he felt so sidelined why didn't he just resign as other coalition leaders did? Maybe he really wanted desperately to become the President, no matter at what cost?

  21. Dr. Waheed is not a nut like Anni and his cabinet. He not a puppet either to bow his heads to Anni.

    Infact Anni asked him to resign when asked his cabinet to resign but Anni could not fool him. Dr. waheed told Anni , he will resign together with Anni .

    Dr. waheed is a honorable man and highly educated and professional not like Anni

  22. Mody, so you say Dr Waheed is not a puppet or a nut? Good, let's see if he has the guts to go against his masters like jameel and nazim, and implement the recommendations in the CONI report against the police brutality. So far he has remained very quite on that and its only his masters and mistress DMAG running the show. Still not a puppet? Or you might say he's a smart man, waiting to act in a strategic way? Hmm that could very well be, since he was very strategic in how he came to power too. Ok, anyway, lets see what an honorable man he turns out to be.

  23. Better a loan from China (which has REAL money) than one from the USA (which prints fake dollars without any reserve backing, and which is heavily in debt to China!)

  24. Baghee Waheed acts out of self interest; if Anni is restored, he will turn on Gayom and ask Anni to be VP again. He is that deluded.

    Anni learned his lesson from giving Gayoom amnesty in 2009 so when he eventually regains power I think he will deal very harshly with ALL the baghees.

  25. China apparently is being offered another alternative to attach Maldives into their string of pearls as India believe!

    Under the current circumstances, it is very hard to think we can get ourselves out, unless a larger pot of gold is seen at the end of a rainbow that should come across our skies soon.

    There is also the question, is this not the work of the old fox (in sheep skin) is hard at work before reopening his books for the perhaps upcoming election!

  26. I am one of the many Chinese hard working in Maldives contributing to its development under the large government aid programme.
    It is interesting to see such piece of news trigger so many comments.
    I happen to know friends within the Chinese government so I would like to clarify some points raised in this report and its comments with the knowledge I have:
    @ Minivan
    1. The agreements signed during Dr Waheed's current visit to China included not only soft loans but also grant aid;
    2. Similar loans and grant aid have been provided to and accepted by previous Maldivian governments, incl that of Presients Gayoom and Nasheed.
    3. Loans have been and will be used on many local infrastucture and housing project, initiated also by both Presidents Gayoom and Nasheed.
    4. Whether it is difficult to be absorbed by Maldivian economy, someone from previous government perhaps know even better how these current undergoing projects will benefit its people. Minivan may independely interview Dr Shaeed on what he felt when he personally signed similar agreements with Chinese side.
    5. I don't know much "foreign policy" stuff. But why not interview people on the Male' street about what they think about the role China is playing here?
    @ Ahmed Adam
    The Chinese Embassy is still waiting to move into a premises which could enable its visa service. Like you, I am also much frustrated about the slow process. But you know how long it takes to get a good piece of land in Male' if you live here.
    According to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, Maldivians with diplomatc and official passports do get landing visa in China. And visa application for other passports can be done through Maldivian Foreign Ministry, for free I believe.
    @ "Democratic" "friend"
    How much on earth do you know about the Chinese aid in Nigeria? And how come you compare that to the situation here? Well my personal experience has led me to believe that Maldives is a genuine friend of China and that many here also consider China as friend. And I wonder how democratic you are to be a friend of this country, or this paper?
    Plus do not blaspheme Anni or Waheed governemnt performance-both previous and current govenments always pay back the loan on time as the interest rate is unbelievably preferable! That is what we, as Chinese, call friendship.
    @ International Observer
    China is a developing economy with pollution problem. Otherwise how come we get cheap shoes, shirts or iPhones?
    Even with its own problem, China has been providing all kind of assitance, be it technical or commercial, to Maldivies to combat climate change together.
    And I have never heard about this Chinese naval base thing either here or in Sri Lanka. Have you ever been to Hambantota and see the constructin there? I challenge you to go there in person and find for yourself the truth or buy a better pair of glasses to be an "observer"! Make sure it's not made in China!
    Hello Tom, you seems to know something about China's "Blue Water Navy" and mentioned "aircraft carrier fleet". The only aircraft carrier China has is still not operational, let alone a fleet! And guess what? India has 1 since 1987 and 2 more coming. Ah, perhaps you worry that the budget cut in UK will stop the Royal Navy from being one of the strongest navies in the world? Don't be -Diego Garcia is only a few miles from Maldives!

  27. Patriot on Mon, 3rd Sep 2012 1:09 PM

    China is funding most of USA's debts. Does that make USA part of the so-called "string of pearls" against India?

    Maldives is a Sovereign nation that gives the highest priority to relations with India. From Trade to Defense India will continue to be the most important foreign partner for us. Maldives Coast Guard radar systems are directly linked to India's naval defense network which proves the extent of close collaboration between the two nations. And that's the way it will remain.

    But that does not mean that Maldives must refrain from strengthening its relations with China. Especially when it comes to development assistance. China is our biggest market for Tourism. It is paramount and urgent for Maldives to increase our cooperation with China to achieve our development objectives.

    China is a true friend of Maldives who has the means to assist us and has offered to do so.

    Beggars can't be choosers!

  28. bloody indian government helped to overthrow the MDP government the indian highcommision did the all dirty work and china took the advantage they bought the existing regime cheap coup leaders


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