Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr Mohamed Shaheem has said Saudi Arabia will be informing other Arab nations about the many investments opportunities in the Maldives.
Addressing the press after a meeting with a special Saudi delegation, Shaheem stated the country was assessing means through which it can assist in developing the Maldivian economy.
“The delegates will have a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Economic Development tomorrow where they will discuss potential investment opportunities in the Maldives and how to increase outreach regarding investment,” he added.
The 16 strong delegation arrived from Saudi Arabia this morning consisting of seven Saudi government officials alongside representatives from private sector Saudi enterprises who have shown an interest in pursuing business in the Maldives.
Speaking at the meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Dr Abdullah A. Al-Obaid said the visit signifies his country’s intention to enhance the bilateral relationship through trade, investment, and Islamic affairs.
“We are so proud to hear that Maldives is keeping with its Aqeeda [faith], its religion and trying to stick with it even though we have globalism effecting all countries,” said Dr Abdullah.
Shaheem said that the delegation arrived after a request made to the Saudi King by President Abdulla Yameen. He also said that the delegation was due to meet with President Yameen during this visit.
In October, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud donated US$1.2 million to a mosque project, with further plans to build 10 new mosques in the islands.
The Saudi Prince reportedly told Shaheem that he was willing to help the Maldivian government in preserving the Islamic identity of the nation and that Saudi Arabia sees the Maldives as a country of ‘special importance’.
During the recent Malé water crisis – caused by a fire at the capital’s only desalination plant, unnamed Saudi donor pledged to assist the Maldives by providing US$1 million to the government’s water crisis fund.
Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed visited Saudi Arabia earlier this year, meeting with the Imaam of the Grand Mosque of Makkah.
The vice president stressed the importance the government placed on enhancing ties with the Arab world and in strengthening religious unity in the Maldives.
Shortly after Jameel’s return, the government initiated its pledge to introduce Arabic lessons in schools as part of a drive to increase Islamic learning in the country.
After signing an MoU to permit flights between the Maldives and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, Mega Maldives has this week begun flights between Malé and Jeddah.
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