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President opens national arts and crafts exhibition

‘Fannu Expo’ features over 30,000 products.



President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih opened the ‘Fannu Expo 2019’ national arts and crafts exhibition on Thursday night.

Organised by the economic development ministry, the seven-day exhibition features over 30,000 products from more than 350 participants. The exhibition is open to the public at the Dharubaaruge convention centre, Kalaafanu School and the children’s park in Malé’s eastern corner.

The 78 categories include handicraft, fisheries, transportation, construction, culinary arts, literature, fashion and design, and Information and Communication Technologies. A Fannu Expo Business Hub was set up under the theme ‘ICT as a driver of Economic Growth.’

The president presented certificates and awards to the creators of the top five products showcased at the exhibition. Vice President Faisal Naseem handed over certificates and awards to the top winners in six categories.

The number of exhibits was testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Maldives, President Solih said in his remarks at the opening ceremony, highlighting the need to further promote Maldivian workmanship.

He “emphasised that one of the main functions of the exhibition is to bridge artists and artisans with potential buyers,” according to the president’s office, and pledged support for such businesses, “especially for the growth of women entrepreneurship.”

The 2020 budget includes MVR450 million (US$29 million) for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, he said. Since the SME Development Finance Corporation was opened in March as pledged during the first 100 days of the new administration, the new bank has received proposals worth MVR1.3 billion, the president revealed, of which proposals worth MVR233 million has been approved.

Some 93 percent of businesses in the Maldives are SMEs, he noted.

The Fannu Expo closes on November 28.