The Maldives Investment Forum (MIF) 2015 scheduled to take place in Beijing, China next month has been postponed to October following an explosion in Tianjing that killed 116 people.
Economic development minister Mohamed Saeed told the press on Thursday that more than 3,400 invitations have been sent out ahead of the 2nd edition of the investment forum and many participants have already registered.
A new date for the forum is to be announced shortly.
Saeed said the government has prioritised inviting companies from the banking, finance, tourism, and transport sectors, adding that President Abdulla Yameen wishes to establish a financial centre in the Maldives.
“He has put great emphasis on attracting the banking sector and financial institutes to the Maldives,” he 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 transhipment port in the northernmost atoll, the development of a ‘Youth City’ in Hulhumalé, the expansion of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), relocation and expansion of the central port to Thilafushi, and exploration for oil and gas.
Saeed said the main goal of the forum is to offer information about investment opportunities in the Maldives to foreign companies as well as local businesses and state-owned enterprises.
A key highlight of MIF 2015 will be a high-level panel discussion on ‘Investment Climate Reform and Economic Diversification’ featuring international legal experts, cabinet ministers and professionals from the local private sector, Saeed said.
Other items on the agenda include the launching of the ‘Invest Madives’ magazine and ‘Maldives Doing Business Guide’ as well as a keynote address by President Yameen.
The exhibition will meanwhile feature both government-promoted and private sector projects whilst the forum will conclude with a gala dinner for guests and participants.
Three separate areas are to be used for the opening ceremony, the exhibition area, the day-case presentation stage and the private networking area.
Following President Yameen’s second official visit to China in June this year, president’s office minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef told the press that the Chinese government has agreed to cover almost all of the expenses for organising the investment forum.
In a keynote address delivered at the opening ceremony of the 10th China-South Asia Business Forum on June 12, President Abdulla Yameen declared that Sino-Maldives relations are at an “all-time high” with the establishment of a cooperative partnership between the countries last year.
Many of the government’s planned ‘mega projects’ are benefiting from Chinese support and assistance, Yameen said, adding that civil works on the construction of a bridge connecting Malé and its suburb Hulhumalé – to be called the “China-Maldives Friendship Bridge” – will begin at the end of the year.
He added that “a major portion of the airport development will also bear the hallmark of Chinese cooperation.”
In November 2014, the president had declared a foreign policy shift to the East, after denouncing “Western colonial powers.”
The Maldives has since become one of the first partners in the Chinese ‘Maritime Silk Route’ initiative and a founding member of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).