Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed departed for China last night to participate in the second edition of the Maldives Investment Forum due to begin in Beijing tomorrow.
Briefing the press at the airport, Saeed revealed that President Abdulla Yameen will not be attending the forum as previously planned due to the explosion on his speedboat on September 28. The government says the blast was an attempt to assassinate the president.
“The president was due to participate. But he was unable to participate due to the incident he is facing now,” Saeed reportedly said.
Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who is currently in China, will be the highest-ranking official representing the Maldives, Saeed said.
Saeed told reporters the main target of this year’s forum will be “opening the eyes of the world” to the potential of the Maldives’ banking and financial sector.
The Maldives Monetary Authority will offer a presentation titled “Investment Prospects in the Banking and Non-Banking Financial Services Sector in the Maldives.”
Saeed said the forum is intended to showcase investment opportunities in the Maldives to prominent foreign investors.
Other key areas include energy, real estate, logistics, transport, healthcare, education, and construction. The forum will take place at the Beijing Hotel International Convention Centre.
Some 700 companies from China, Singapore, Australia, Sri Lanka, and East Asian countries will participate in the forum. About 150 Maldivian private and state-owned companies as well as state regulatory bodies will also be represented, Saeed said.
At the first investment forum held in Singapore in April last year, the government sought investors for its five main ‘mega projects,’ including a trans-shipment port in the northernmost atoll, the development of a ‘Youth City’ in Hulhumalé, the expansion of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, relocation and expansion of the central port to Thilafushi, and exploration for oil and gas.
Unlike the first edition of the investment forum, Saeed said this year’s event will feature an exhibition in a separate hall, which is located in “China’s prime business district.”
The exhibition – which will take place from 10:00am to 4:00pm tomorrow – will have 24 stalls from the Maldives, he continued, where senior officials of Maldivian companies will provide information about investment opportunities and promoted public and private sector projects.
A panel discussion with legal and financial experts titled “Investment Climate Reform and Economic Diversification” will also take place at the investment forum, Saeed said.
The ministry of environment will make a presentation on “Prospects for renewable energy investments in the Maldives” whilst the Maldives Capital Market Development Authority will make a presentation titled “Maldives Financial Sector: Partnerships and Opportunities.”
The Housing Development Corporation will showcase investment opportunities in real estate, marina development and entertainment facilities.
Several ruling party MPs and government officials who were scheduled to attend the event have cancelled their trips because of the boat blast.
Suspicion has been cast on the vice president after police raids on the homes of his close associates and the administrative detention of his former bodyguard. But Adeeb has vowed to return to the Maldives, saying the “truth will be known” once a special inquiry commission completes its investigation
Additional reporting by Mohamed Saif Fathih