Corporate Maldives Magazine

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Publisher’s Note

Welcome to the July 2023 edition of Corporate Maldives Magazine. As a quarterly print publication, we are committed to providing comprehensive coverage of the Maldives’ business community.

This issue, our Corporate Maldives Spotlight is on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives. Our team had the privilege of chatting with the Foreign Minister of the Maldives, H.E. Abdulla Shahid to gain insight into his years of dedicated public service. Additionally, we shine the spotlight on the ministry’s global diplomatic engagements, its efforts in strengthening bilateral relations through visa-free travel, and key agreements signed with partner nations.

Under the People section, we feature an interview with this year’s Corporate Maldives Lifetime Achievement Award winner, the founder and chairman of ADK Group of Companies, Mr Ahmed Nashid. A visionary pioneer in the Maldives’ healthcare industry, Nashid offers a glimpse into his journey — the challenges he has faced, the innovative approaches he takes in his business, and the various fields ADK Group has diversified into.

Our usual news segments cover a broad range of industries and business sectors in the Maldives, including tourism, construction, banking, and technology, among others.

To conclude this edition, we highlight the recent Corporate Maldives GOLD 100 GALA, held on 16th May 2023 at CROSSROADS Maldives. On this note, we’d like to thank all of our valued partners for their support in making this year’s GOLD 100 event a vibrant success yet again.

Happy reading!

4 Corporate Maldives | July 23
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Corporate Maldives | July 23 5 50 84 90 80 62 54 74 78 68 Retail Corporate Maldives Events Business Directory Environment & Sustainability Technology & Innovation Banking & Finance Fuel, Trade & Shipping Utilities Fisheries & Agriculture 36 40 46 Transport & Construction People Health 10 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24 32 Government & Economy Tourism & Aviation
10 Corporate Maldives | July 23
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Honourable Abdulla Shahid Minister of Foreign Affairs

Our team had the privilege of speaking with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Abdulla Shahid, whose remarkable career spans the Executive and Legislative branches of the Maldives. From his humble beginnings as a Foreign Service Officer in 1983, Shahid’s dedication and hard work eventually propelled him to the role of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

– this is something I took to heart. I worked at every level in the Ministry – in those days we had to hand-deliver letters to other Ministries, and I used to do that. During official trips, I started as a junior protocol officer, carrying luggage. The result was that, when I became Minister, I knew what every single staff in the Ministry was doing, because I had done it myself. This helps me run the Ministry efficiently and effectively.

From the beginning, I was blessed with extremely good mentorship. Minister Fathulla Jameel and Deputy Minister Ibrahim Hussain Zaki and several others, were excellent mentors.

After my time at the Ministry, I worked as Executive Secretary at the President’s Office. I joined a well-oiled machinery, where there were standard operating procedures and set ways of doing things. I was privileged to work with many colleagues who had been working in the Presidential Secretariat for more years than I had been alive. I learnt a lot from my colleagues. President Maumoon was a perfectionist – and demanded nothing less than perfection from his staff. This post gave me a birds-eye view of the entire Government machinery, and how the administrative arm of the State worked. I was responsible for ensuring that the President’s policies were being implemented and that the Government was functioning well. This gave me a lot of exposure and experience.

Can you share details about the beginnings of your career and the experiences that helped shape your professional trajectory?

I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs straight after my A-Level examination. It was not as straightforward. I had wanted to join the Ministry right after I finished O’Levels. But when I went to see the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Fathulla Jameel – also one of my mentors – he told me to come and join after my A’Levels. He didn’t want to hire me for three months only. He asked me to come back then.

Eventually, I joined the Ministry in 1983. At the time, there was no orientation for new recruits. We were told that to become a well-rounded diplomat, “we should know how to do everything”

Following the Executive, I moved on to the Parliament. I became the first democratically elected Speaker of Parliament in 2009, under the new Constitution. With the 2008 Constitution, the legislature was separated from the executive. Up until that point, the parliament’s role was largely ceremonial. So, there weren’t enough professionals to work in such a setting, there was no physical space for Members of Parliament to work and limited experience of how a multi-party parliament worked. I had the opportunity to shape the institution and build capacity there as well.

My experiences in various roles and at various institutions in the Government, and in Parliament, shaped my professional career, but also helped me to shape the institutions that I had the opportunity to lead.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 11
As Foreign Minister, Shahid revolutionized the operations of the Ministry, streamlining its functions and expanding its global presence. Despite the initial challenges of a democratic transition, he successfully opened new diplomatic missions, bolstering the international standing and perception of the Maldives.
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

How do you plan to promote Maldives’ interests globally through your foreign policy vision?

Can you highlight some successful diplomatic initiatives you’ve led as Minister of Foreign Affairs?

The foreign policy of President Solih was set out in his inaugural address. Our foreign policy is geared towards advancing policies that have a stake in the progress and welfare of the country. It is formulated on the basis of climate diplomacy, human rights, and democracy promotion. The President further noted that we will fortify existing relationships with India and other regional countries, as well as bolster our shared role to retain enduring peace and harmony in the Indian Ocean. The President declared that the Maldives will be willing and open to establishing diplomatic relations and strengthening existing ties with all countries that wish to form mutually beneficial development partnerships. Our diplomacy is utilized to promote and further these goals.

First, we seek to strengthen our relationship with countries. Over the last 4 years, the number of countries with which we have diplomatic relations has increased to 185 countries. We resumed diplomatic relations with Qatar and Iran. At no point in our long history has our diplomatic reach been as extensive and solidified as we witness today. We have resident Ambassadors accredited to 17 countries, and 2 Consul Generals. We have accredited nonresident Ambassadors to 26 countries with 12 more pending appointments. This includes many firsts including in Africa. We have reopened our Mission in Washington after closing the Embassy in 2008. We have welcomed the establishment of Missions in the UK, the USA and also Australia in the Maldives.

Stronger relationships with countries mean better chances to seek outcomes that are beneficial to the Maldives. This means easing of travel, better connectivity, easier means to attract investment, attracting more tourists, and facilitating more trade and aid. Maldivians can now travel to over 90 countries without obtaining a prior visa. This makes our passport stronger. We have mobilized up to $3.4 billion in grants, concessional loans, lines of credit and in-kind assistance since November 2018. These

are milestone achievements, that will increase both people-to-people contacts between the Maldives and the countries of the world but will also increase investment in the Maldives and broaden the markets for Maldives tourism. These are indications of the growing strength of our relationship with countries around the world.

Second, we aim to utilize multilateral forums to pursue our foreign policy goals. The Maldives joined the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in 2019, fortifying our relationship with the Indian Ocean countries.

In 2020, we rejoined the Commonwealth as its 54th member state, after an almost 3-year absence from the organization. This has opened the doors for Maldivian students to receive Commonwealth scholarships and for Maldivian athletes to participate once again in the Commonwealth Games and gain valuable experience and knowledge. It has also opened the door for technical cooperation and subsequently, capacity building and institutional building opportunities between various Commonwealth organisations and local agencies.

In 2021, the Maldives was elected as the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Maldives won the candidature with 143 votes out of 191 total votes cast. The Presidency of Hope focused on responding and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable development and climate action, human rights and revitalizing the United Nations.

Just a year later, in 2022, the Maldives was elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025, with 154 votes out of a total of 189 votes cast. This was an overwhelming show of confidence and support for the Maldives’ foreign policy and a testament to the trust and standing accorded to the Maldives by the international community.

In 2021, the Maldives also became a member of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). This is a first step in enhancing the Maldives’ relations with fellow developing countries, especially small island developing countries and the African continent, and to leverage the combined strength of our countries to protect and promote the interests of the Maldives in the international arena.

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Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Maldives has continued to lead on issues pertaining to small states, environmental issues and human rights. In 2022, under Maldives’ leadership, the UN declared the 24th of June as the ‘International Day for Women in Diplomacy’. This resolution garnered 191 co-sponsors – the most any resolution has been co-sponsored in the General Assembly. The Maldives with other states, also led efforts to recognise the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment at the Human Rights Council as well as the General Assembly, in 2022. The Maldives has continued to play a bridging role in the climate negotiations.

Through this leadership and engagement, we are seeking to gain the trust and confidence of the international community towards the Maldives. By being on these platforms, we will be able to elevate the concerns of the Maldives, such as climate change, and sustainable development, and protect the interests of the Maldives at the highest echelons of international relations. Through the trust of the international community, we will be able to further serve our national interests.

How did the Ministry mobilise assistance for the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic?

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our diplomatic missions abroad, worked tirelessly to ensure the realisation of the needs of the Maldivian people.

As the pandemic took hold, the whole world went into lockdown and to an abrupt halt. The Maldives is a heavily import-dependent country. We bring everything from outside. So, we had to negotiate and find ways to mobilise what we needed.

From the beginning of the pandemic, our diplomats in Headquarters and in Missions, in coordination with local authorities, worked on securing the health equipment, and medicines necessary. In one operation, we coordinated in airlifting essential medicines that had been purchased by private parties and were held up in multiple cities of India, due to lack of connections, and brought them to the Maldives,

in coordination with the Indian Government. We repatriated students and Maldivians from several countries, including from Wuhan, China. Where we could not repatriate, we kept regular contact. We also facilitated the sending of care packages and the provision of essential medicines that were not available in the Maldives.

We sourced essential food items and commodities, as well as negotiated for financial support. The Maldives was one of the first countries in the region to start vaccination. This was because we had started the negotiations quite early on when the vaccines were still in development.

When the borders opened, we worked with Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health, to promote the Maldives and inform the world of the COVID-safety measures taken in the country.

I am immensely proud of the work we did during the pandemic, proud of our response efforts, and what we accomplished under very difficult circumstances.

What’s your strategy for building and maintaining strong relationships with other countries and international organizations?

Trust is an important factor in maintaining strong relationships with other countries and international organisations. We believe in building relationships on the virtue of trust with other countries; by engaging consistently and constructively with them. It cannot be done overnight, it is fostered through the accumulation of perseverance and dedication. Sometimes, we face a lot of criticism regarding travel or attending international conferences. Diplomacy is an instrument of good governance based on interactions – especially face-toface interactions. These interactions support the building of relationships and ultimately strengthen trust between nations. This is the key to achieving Maldives’s foreign policy objectives internationally.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

You would see that we have increased the number of policy dialogues between us and partner countries. We are confident that this will increase coordination between our countries and strengthen existing relationships between the Maldives and our partners. We are working to expand our relationships with Africa, ASEAN and Central Asian countries; bilaterally and through multilateral organisations. We believe that this will enhance our outreach, and ultimately work to serve our interests.

You have to build credibility for other countries and organisations to respect you. This means you follow what you advocate for. This is why in order to become a respected member of the international community, we need to respect international norms and principles and international law. International law is what determines equality among states – regardless of size or might. We need strong domestic institutions, the promotion of good governance and human rights.

How are you promoting trade and investment opportunities for Maldives on the global stage and which industries do you see as having the most growth potential?

The Economic Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mandated to work with national stakeholders and international organisations and partners to facilitate trade and investment opportunities for the Maldives in the global arena. Over the last 4 years, we have held a number of investment forums, both virtually and in a hybrid format aimed at a wide range of markets and countries. These forums have also been aimed at diversifying investment in the Maldives and minimizing the reliance of our economy on a single sector.

Our missions abroad are continuously working to identify new opportunities for trade and investment in the Maldives and also to promote Maldivian trade and products in international markets. I am happy to note that Authentic Maldives products are now available for purchase at the Narita International Airport in Japan.

Our tourism sector is still one of the most successful tourism sectors in the world –especially in the post-COVID-19 recovery. It is a good example of all stakeholders – public and private – working together. Also, in terms of sustainability and environmentally-conscious efforts. I believe there is potential for further increase in tourism numbers, as well as to attract investments. This is why we are working on establishing more air connectivity, as well as promoting investment in the lucrative tourism sector of the Maldives.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In 2022, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the Foreign Service Act, kickstarting the process of establishing a professional foreign service cadre. This has been a long-held dream of the Foreign Service, including myself.

We are keen to welcome more young people into the Ministry as the Maldivian Foreign Service matures into a more professional and more capable service. The Ministry already employs a lot of young people, which enhances its dynamism.

For all young people aspiring to pursue a career as a foreign service officer, my advice is to have a keen, committed work ethic. A diplomat is not built overnight. It is a gradual process, where layer after layer is added. Those layers are education, knowledge, and experience.

A good foreign service officer must be inquisitive, curious, and ready to learn new information and new skills, as they must undertake a wide variety of tasks throughout their career. I can tell you from my personal experience, being flexible and always ready for a challenge is key to becoming a successful foreign service officer.

I would encourage them to read as voraciously and as broadly as possible, as a keen understanding of current affairs is an important asset for any foreign service officer. It is especially important to critically analyse the available material, apply it to national contexts,

understand the nuances of foreign policy, and enhance your general knowledge on an array of topics. The right education is important. When I entered the Ministry, there were only 2 graduates in the Ministry. When I returned this time as a Minister, over 60% of the Ministry has at least a first degree. I have prioritized training foreign service officers, including strengthening our Foreign Service Institute.

Learning a foreign language, especially widely spoken languages such as French, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish will be an added bonus for any young people interested in pursuing a career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I remember a dinner I went to in Geneva. The Ambassador that was hosting the dinner, spoke to every single person at that table in their own language. I came away very impressed. This is the vision I see for the Maldivian Foreign Service Officers of tomorrow.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
What advice would you give to young people aspiring to pursue a career in diplomacy or international affairs, and what skills do they need to succeed?

Maldives Spearheads Global Cooperation: Key Agreements Signed with Partner Nations

This year, the Maldives has been actively strengthening its relationships with countries from around the world through diplomatic engagement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives recently announced the signing of several pivotal agreements, reflecting the country’s commitment to fostering international partnerships and promoting mutual cooperation for shared progress and development.

From sports and education to trade, investment, infrastructure, healthcare, and diplomatic collaboration, these agreements encompass a diverse array of sectors, showcasing the Maldives’ proactive approach to diplomacy and its dedication to expanding international relations.

16 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deepening Sports and Education Collaboration with Yunnan Province:

In a significant move, the Maldives and Yunnan Province sealed two agreements during the official visit of the Governor of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province. The first agreement, titled “Tri-partite Agreement Among Foreign Affairs of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, Sports Administration of Yunnan Province, and Table Tennis Association of Maldives,” aims to bolster sports cooperation between the two regions.

The second agreement is titled “Cooperation in the Joint Construction of Overseas Learning Centre between Maldives National University and Yunnan Open University.” The second agreement focuses on education and focuses on education and fosters collaboration in establishing an overseas learning centre between Maldives National University and Yunnan Open University.

Fortifying Bilateral Relations with the Republic of Serbia:

The Maldives and the Republic of Serbia concluded the signing of multiple significant agreements, solidifying their bilateral ties. These agreements encompass a Trade, Investment, and Economic Cooperation Agreement, an Air Services Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Diplomatic

Education, and a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sports. By enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, diplomacy, and sports, these agreements pave the way for a stronger partnership between the two nations.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations with Slovenia:

The Maldives and Slovenia inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding Political Consultations between their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs. This MoU seeks to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, facilitating regular consultations on mutual interests and international issues. The signing of this MoU reflects the shared commitment of both nations to strengthen their diplomatic ties.

Establishing Diplomatic Relations with Togo:

Formal diplomatic relations were established between the Republic of Maldives and the Togolese Republic, marking a significant milestone in their partnership. The signing of a Joint Communiqué formalized diplomatic relations, laying the foundation for increased bilateral and multilateral cooperation. This achievement highlights the Maldives’ dedication to building meaningful partnerships with nations that share common goals and values.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 17 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
18 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Broadening Collaboration with China:

During an official visit, the Maldives and China signed crucial agreements in areas of paramount importance such as infrastructure development and health. Noteworthy agreements include the “Memorandum of Understanding Between China International Development Cooperation Agency of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives on Development Cooperation Plan (2023-2025).” This agreement focuses on cooperation in healthcare, climate change, infrastructure, agriculture, and disaster prevention. Additional agreements encompass the feasibility study on hospitals, the renovation of the Maldives National Museum, and the maintenance of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.

Expanding Cooperation with India:

In a ceremony emphasizing the growing collaboration between the Maldives and India, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were exchanged, further strengthening ties in various fields. The MoUs encompass additional grant assistance for the High Impact Community Development Project scheme, the development

of a sports complex, and capacity-building initiatives between universities. The handover of two sea ambulances from India to the Maldives serves as a symbolic gesture, signifying the deepening relationship between the two nations.

Joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a Dialogue Partner:

The Maldives achieved official Dialogue Partner status within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, underscoring its dedication to regional cooperation. This membership opens up avenues for capacity building, training, and collaboration with SCO member states on diverse issues such as trade, investment, health, environment, and technology.

The recent agreements between the Maldives and Yunnan Province, Serbia, Slovenia, Togo, China, India, and the dialogue partnership with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization exemplify the Maldives’ proactive and multifaceted approach to diplomacy. By forging closer ties with partner nations, the Maldives aims to promote mutual understanding, cooperation, and socio-economic development, contributing to its long-term growth and prosperity.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa Exemption Overview: Strengthening Global Relations Through Visa-Free Travel

Throughout this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives has been proactively forging visa exemption relationships with numerous countries across the globe. These deliberate arrangements and partnerships have a dual purpose: bolstering the country’s economy and nurturing robust bilateral ties. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the visa exemption agreements that the Maldives has successfully established since January 2023.

Rwanda: Strengthening Bilateral Relations

The Maldives and Rwanda signed a visa waiver agreement, known as the Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements. Under this agreement, nationals of both countries are exempted from visas for single or multiple entry, exit, or transit, for a period of 30 days. The agreement was signed in London by His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, and His Excellency Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

of Rwanda. The signing ceremony marked a significant step towards increasing avenues for engagement and people-to-people contact between the Maldives and Rwanda.

Cambodia: Facilitating Peopleto-People Contact and Business Opportunities

Starting from May 4th, 2023, Maldivian nationals were exempted from visas when travelling to Cambodia. This visa exemption agreement, which was signed on 16th January 2023, allowed individuals with valid Diplomatic, Official, and Ordinary passports from the Maldives to enter and stay in Cambodia for a maximum duration of 30 days. However, it was necessary to obtain appropriate visas in advance for longer stays, work, education, or business purposes. The Maldivian government considered the visa exemption to Cambodia as a significant commitment to enhancing bilateral relations, promoting people-to-people contact, and facilitating business opportunities and investments between the two countries.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Burundi: Enhancing Bilateral Relations and Engagement

The Government of Maldives and the Government of Burundi signed the Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements, enabling the exemption of visas for single or multiple entry, exit, or transit for both countries’ nationals, valid for a period of 30 days. This significant agreement took place in New York, with the signing conducted by Her Excellency Thilmeeza Hussain, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, and His Excellency Zéphyrin Maniratanga, Permanent Representative of Burundi to the United Nations. The signing of this agreement aimed to strengthen bilateral relations, foster engagement, and facilitate people-to-people contact between the Maldives and Burundi.

Ghana: Deepening Bilateral Relations and Cooperation

Maldives and Ghana recently signed a significant agreement on the Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements for their Respective Nationals. This agreement, signed in London, signifies a closer

exchange between the two nations, allowing for visa exemption and fostering increased people-to-people contact. H.E. Abdulla Shahid signed the agreement on behalf of Maldives, while Her Excellency Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey signed on behalf of Ghana. This visa exemption is an important step towards strengthening the bilateral ties established between Ghana and the Maldives in August 1989.

China: Enforcing Visa-Free Arrangement

After being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic measures, the visa-free agreement between the Maldives and China was finally enforced. Starting from February 17, 2023, citizens from both countries were able to avail of on-arrival visas. Maldivian nationals arriving in China were granted a 30-day on-arrival visa, and vice versa. It is important to note that a visa had to be obtained in advance if individuals intended to engage in work, business, or journalism activities. This agreement not only facilitated travel between the two countries but also led to other initiatives aimed at strengthening their bilateral relations.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Maldives’ Foreign Ministry Takes Center Stage: Highlights from Global Diplomatic Engagements

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives serves as a crucial ambassador of the nation’s interests and a facilitator of international relations During a series of prominent meetings and forums, the Maldives has actively engaged with the international community, exhibiting its commitment to finding collaborative solutions and making meaningful contributions on various fronts. Let us delve into some of the key events where the Maldives delegation, led by Foreign Minister Shahid, showcased its dedication to multilateralism and its efforts to foster positive change on the world stage.

Munich Leaders Meeting in Tokyo, Japan:

In a bid to address pressing global challenges, Foreign Minister Shahid participated in the Munich Leaders Meeting held in Tokyo, Japan. This gathering of world leaders aimed to foster dialogue and collaboration on issues such as climate change, security, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy-Ninth Session of UNESCAP:

The Foreign Secretary of the Maldives represented the nation at the Seventy-Ninth Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). This session focused on regional cooperation, sustainable development, and the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.

EU-Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum:

Foreign Minister Shahid co-moderated a roundtable discussion during the EU-IndoPacific Ministerial Forum. This event aimed to enhance cooperation between the European Union and the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on sustainable development, connectivity, and security.

22 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

UPR Working Group - 43rd Session:

The Maldives actively participated in the 43rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group. The UPR serves as a platform for member states to review each other’s human rights records and make recommendations for improvement.

52nd Session of the Human Rights Council:

The Maldives delegation played an active role in the 52nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This session provided an opportunity for the Maldives to contribute to discussions on human rights issues and engage in multilateral dialogue.

Berlin Economic Forum 2023:

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid highlighted the challenges faced by small states and called for greater global attention during the Berlin Economic Forum 2023. This forum focused on economic cooperation, sustainable development, and addressing the needs of vulnerable nations.

United Nations Human Rights Council - 52nd Session:

The 52nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council provided another platform for the Maldives to engage in human rights discussions and contribute to the global discourse on important issues.

Virtual COVID-19 Global Action Plan Ministerial Meeting:

Foreign Minister Shahid participated in a virtual ministerial meeting focused on the COVID-19 Global Action Plan. The meeting aimed to coordinate international efforts to combat the pandemic and mitigate its social, economic, and health impacts.

Fifth Intersessional Meeting of the Human Rights Council:

Maldives actively participated in the Fifth Intersessional Meeting of the Human Rights Council on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, held in Geneva. This meeting explored the intersection of human rights and sustainable development goals.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Maldives Emerges as South Asia’s FastestGrowing Economy: World Bank

According to the Maldives Development Update (MDU) released by the World Bank, the Maldives has emerged as the fastest-growing economy in South Asia.

The report attributes the robust growth to an increase in tourist arrivals, capital expenditure, and private expenditure, and predicts that the Maldivian economy will remain strong in the coming years. Additionally, the World Bank expects the number of people living below the poverty line to decrease to pre-COVID-19 levels.

During the launch of the MDU at the Maldives National University, Deputy Finance Minister Mariyam Manarath highlighted the government’s strong fiscal reform policies, which aim to prioritize the most vulnerable people in society

to achieve financial sustainability. She also emphasized the importance of investing in projects such as the Ihavandhippolhu port and the Hankede integrated tourism project to transform the economy.

At the MDU launch, Finance Ministry’s Chief Financial Budget Executive Ahmed Saruvash shared the government’s efforts to strengthen the national health insurance scheme, Aasandha, and prepare for the increase in the number of elderly people in the Maldives due to current population changes. Saruvash further emphasized the significance of revenue-side consolidation, with the initial target set at 3%, while acknowledging that tourism growth has exceeded expectations.

24 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Government & Economy
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Maldives and EU Sign Agreement to Strengthen Anti-Corruption in Maldives

The Maldives and European Union officially launched a new flagship initiative to strengthen the rule of law and anti-corruption in the Maldives, at the sidelines of the 4th Maldives EU Senior Officials Meeting in Brussels. This five-year programme, funded by the European Union for a total amount of EUR 5 million (MVR 83 million), is based on the Maldives’ priority needs and reforms, and will be implemented in close partnership with all relevant actors from the justice and anti-corruption sectors.

The Agreement was signed by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Khaleel for the Government of Maldives, and Director for Asia, Middle East and the Pacific, Directorate General

for International Partnerships Mr. Peteris Ustubs for the European Union.

The ’Strengthening the Rule of Law and AntiCorruption’ programme will build upon and complement the achievements and lessons learnt from past EU initiatives in the sector. Its main objective is to strengthen the rule of law and reduce corruption in the Maldives, through:

(1) supporting the country in developing an effective, accountable and inclusive justice system, and;

(2) strengthening anti-corruption efforts through better legal frameworks, institutional capacity building and improving public perception.

26 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Government & Economy

Government Utilises MVR 1 Billion for Loan Repayment

The government of Maldives has already expended MVR 1 billion this year for loan repayment, as per recent data released by the Finance Ministry. This figure accounts for 49 per cent of the allocated MVR 2.1 billion designated for loan repayment in the 2023 budget, and it has been utilised as of June 8.

Compared to the same period last year, the government’s loan repayment expenditure has witnessed a significant drop of 38 per cent. During the corresponding period in 2022, the government

disbursed MVR 1.6 billion towards loan repayments. However, in the current year, a total of MVR 19.6 billion has already been disbursed.

Out of the disbursed amount, MVR 4.9 billion was dedicated to covering salaries and allowances, while administrative and operating expenses accounted for MVR 8.2 billion. Additionally, MVR 5 billion was allocated for development projects under the Public Sector Investment Program (PSIP).

Corporate Maldives | July 23 27 Government & Economy

IMF Report Warns of Uncertain and Rocky Path for Global Economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a difficult recovery for the global economy due to financial sector instability, high inflation, the continued impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The baseline forecast anticipates a decline in growth from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023, before settling at 3.0% in 2024. Advanced economies are expected to experience a more significant slowdown, with growth falling from 2.7% in 2022 to 1.3% in 2023. In a plausible alternative scenario with additional financial

sector stress, global growth could drop to around 2.5% in 2023, with advanced economies experiencing growth below 1%.

The baseline forecast predicts that global headline inflation will decrease from 8.7% in 2022 to 7.0% in 2023 due to lower commodity prices but underlying (core) inflation is expected to decline more slowly. The IMF believes that inflation will not return to target before 2025 in most cases.

28 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Government & Economy

Global Prospects and Policies

In Chapter 1 of their report, the IMF states that tentative signs in early 2023 of a soft landing for the world economy have faded due to stubbornly high inflation and recent financial sector turmoil. Despite central banks raising interest rates and food and energy prices decreasing, underlying price pressures remain high, with tight labour markets in several economies. The fast rise in policy rates has led to side effects, including banking sector vulnerabilities and fears of contagion across the broader financial sector. Risks to the outlook are heavily skewed to the downside, with the chances of a hard landing increasing significantly.

The Natural Rate of Interest: Drivers and Implications for Policy

Chapter 2 of the report examines the natural rate of interest, which is critical for both monetary and fiscal policy. The natural rate of interest refers to the real interest rate that neither stimulates nor contracts the economy, and it is a reference level to gauge the stance of monetary policy and a key determinant of the sustainability of public debt. The IMF analyses the evolution of the natural rate of interest across several large advanced and emerging market economies. They suggest that once the current inflationary episode has passed, interest rates will likely return to prepandemic levels in advanced economies. The degree to which interest rates reach those levels will depend on whether alternative scenarios involving persistently higher government debt and deficits, or financial fragmentation materialize.

Coming Down to Earth: How to Tackle Soaring Public Debt

Chapter 3 of the report addresses the challenge of reducing public debt-to-GDP ratios, which have increased significantly worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF finds that adequately timed and appropriately designed fiscal consolidations have a high probability of durably reducing debt ratios. When a country is in debt distress, a comprehensive approach that combines significant debt restructuring, fiscal consolidation, and policies to support economic growth can have a significant and long-lasting impact on reducing debt ratios. Economic growth and inflation have historically contributed to reducing debt ratios.

Geoeconomic Fragmentation and Foreign Direct Investment

Chapter 4 of the report examines the impact of geoeconomic fragmentation on foreign direct investment (FDI) and the global economy. Supply-chain disruptions and rising geopolitical tensions have brought the risks and potential benefits and costs of geoeconomic fragmentation to the centre of the policy debate. FDI flows are increasingly concentrated among geopolitically aligned countries, particularly in strategic sectors. Several emerging markets and developing economies are highly vulnerable to FDI relocation, given their reliance on FDI from geopolitically distant countries. In the long term, FDI fragmentation arising from the emergence of geopolitical blocs can generate large output losses, especially for emerging markets and developing economies. Multilateral efforts to preserve global integration are the best way to reduce the large and widespread economic costs of FDI fragmentation.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 29 Government & Economy

New Regulations Allow Island Lease for Economic Purposes without Bidding

A new regulation has been implemented to facilitate the leasing of uninhabited islands for economic purposes without the need for open bidding. The Ministry of Economy has issued the ‘Rules for Leasing of Uninhabited Islands for Development for Economic Purposes’ to govern this process.

Under the newly implemented regulations, uninhabited islands that do not fall under specific sectors are now eligible for leasing purposes to carry out economic activities. However, it is important to note that certain types of uninhabited islands still require a bidding process for leasing, including those leased under the Tourism Act, islands leased for fishing and agriculture, and islands covered by the local ‘Varuva’ scheme.

The regulations grant the President, with advisory support from the Economic Council, the authority to designate an island as an industrial island for conducting economic activities. If an island is designated as an industrial island and falls under the jurisdiction of an island or city council, it must be excluded from their jurisdiction and included in the list of industrial islands prepared under the new regulations.

As per the newly implemented regulations, uninhabited islands not falling under specific sectors can now be leased for economic activities. However, it is worth mentioning that certain types of uninhabited islands, such as those leased under the Tourism Act, islands leased for fishing and agriculture, and islands covered by the local ‘Varuva’ scheme, still necessitate a bidding process for leasing.

For islands leased under the Unsolicited Proposal Policy, the Ministry of Economy has the authority to impose payment conditions in the form of an acquisition fee. The Economic Council determines the acquisition fee based on factors such as the proposed development works on the island, the nature of the industry, and the investment value. The Ministry of Economy will determine the annual lease rent, which must not be less than 10 lari per square foot per year.

The regulation encompasses several essential provisions, which include:

• The lessee must sign an agreement with the ministry that outlines details such as the lease period, lease rental, payment methods, permitted activities, dispute resolution mechanisms, and termination conditions.

• The lease period for islands is initially set at 21 years. However, the ministry may extend this period to a maximum of 50 years if the lessee requests an extension.

• The extension will only be granted if at least 75% of the proposed investment has been made, the work is being carried out according to the agreed schedule, and at least 75% of the work has been completed.

• A lease period extension fee of MVR 5,000 will be charged.

• Any violation of the regulations will result in a fine not exceeding MVR 1 million, depending on the severity and nature of the violation

30 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Government & Economy
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Dubai-Based Real Estate Developer Announces USD 217 Million Resort Project in Maldives

Dubai-based real estate developer FAM Holding

P.S.C ventured into the Maldives with the launch of their latest luxury hotel residential project, Al Mahra Maldives. This marked the group’s first real estate expansion outside of the UAE and was one of their latest real estate development projects. The project received investments of about AED 800 million (USD 217 million) and was established on a 100,000-square-meter island. It comprised 150 hotel units and chalets, including 100 floating villas, 40 beach villas, three restaurants, one spa, and a gym. The project also featured various aquatic facilities.

Dr Faisal Ali Mousa, the Chairman of FAM Holding Group, stated that the Maldives had been chosen due to its popularity as a global tourist destination and its reputation as an ideal oasis for tranquillity and relaxation. The increase in tourist flow to the Maldives had encouraged the launch of new tourism projects to meet the high demand. The construction work was set to

commence in three months and would continue for two and a half years, with the completion scheduled for mid-2025.

The new project was expected to attract tourists from around the world and contribute to the integration of FAM Holding Group’s other projects inside and outside the UAE. This project served as an extension of the group’s trademark, Al Mahra. The group has plans to launch other projects in the future with one project in an Arab Gulf country and another in an African country.

FAM Holding was recognized as one of the fastestgrowing real estate development companies in the UAE, focusing on the development of highquality properties at affordable prices to cater to the middle-income categories. The company aimed to expand its presence in several markets within the region to strengthen its role in supporting economic development in the UAE and diversify its sources of income.

32 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Tourism & Aviation
Corporate Maldives | July 23 33 Government & Economy YOUR RELIABLE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT All Airline Services Holiday Packages (Maldives & Global) Medical Travel Assistance Group & MICE Travel Airport Ground Handling Supervision +960 333 6886 PARTNER

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to Debut in the Maldives with Rosewood Ranfaru

Opening in the Maldives in 2027, Rosewood Ranfaru is the latest development in Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ thoughtful growth pipeline. One of the most coveted island destinations on the planet, the Maldives is considered by many to be the ultimate luxury wanderlust experience. This picturesque archipelago boasts bright white sands, warm calm waters, and a standard of hospitality that is second to none. With an eye on longevity and sustainability, the Maldives is looking toward the future, making it a natural fit for the unique approach to the luxury lifestyle offered by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®. Reflecting Rosewood’s guiding Sense of Place® philosophy, Rosewood Ranfaru will offer a highly curated experience that emphasizes privacy, luxury, and a connection to the natural habitat.

Stretched across a striking chain of private islands around a pristine lagoon in the South Male Atoll, Rosewood Ranfaru will be situated less than an hour away from Velana International Airport in Male. From touchdown to toes in the sand, guests will be able to make the journey to the resort via either a 35-minute yacht ride or a ten-minute seaplane hop. Both experiences will exude the same level of luxury that awaits on the property’s shores. Developed by Estithmar Holding, this project represents the next generation of Maldives tourism and elevates the

overall luxury offerings available in this sublime corner of the globe.

“The Maldives has its own mystique and allure,” says Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. “Given its well-earned reputation as a haven for discerning travellers, we are very excited to bring our unique brand of Rosewood lifestyle and hospitality to this chain of islands. We are confident that through our commitment to immersive amenities, world-class design, and high-touch service, Rosewood will be able to offer the next iteration of Maldivian paradise.”

Rosewood Ranfaru will offer approximately 120 beachfront and overwater villas, ranging in size from one- to five-bedrooms, all with private pools and a select number located on private islands. In true Rosewood fashion, unsurpassed service and amenities will be central to the guest experience, including a Rosewood Explorer’s Club to spark discovery and inspire imagination among the youngest visitors. At the heart of the property will lie several speciality restaurants, a beach club, and an Asaya® well-being facility and fitness centre, together offering a holistic wellness escape. A true leisure oasis, Rosewood Ranfaru will also feature numerous swimming pools, both for adults and families, paddle courts, and an array of water sports that will allow guests to fully explore the peaceful and crystal-clear waters of the encircling lagoon.

“I am delighted to announce our latest investment in the Maldives, a destination that offers unparalleled beauty and a vibrant culture, making it one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world,” says Moutaz AlKhayyat, Chairman of Estithmar Holding.

34 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Tourism & Aviation

Maldives Wins ‘Best Stand Feature’ Award at ATM 2023

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) announced that their Maldives stand had been awarded ‘Best Stand Feature’ at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023. The Maldives Stand won this award while competing with several major destinations. The selection had been made through an anonymous judging panel that visited the stands, awarding the stand with the most unique features and the most engaging experience for the fair’s visitors. The introduction of these awards at ATM 2023 was a first. The award served as a testament to the countless hours of work that had been dedicated to curating the Maldives’ stand as the most attractive, vibrant, and energetic stand at the fair.

Destination Maldives had been showcased at ATM 2023 with a double-decker stand, occupying a space of over 429 sqm at the Dubai fair, providing visitors with a glimpse into the breathtaking Sunny Side of Life. Every aspect of the stand had been thoughtfully curated

to showcase the diversity and beauty of the Maldives as a destination, drawing inspiration from the geographically scattered islands of the Maldives. The vibrant and colourful stand consisted of 90 co-exhibitor counters and 53 B2B meeting tables, offering exciting experiences for visitors. The Maldives stand featured high engagement with co-exhibitors greeting and interacting with the visitors, along with fun quizzes conducted at the stand. LED screens showcased the breathtaking sights of the Maldives, while the 360-video booth provided an engaging and enticing activity for visitors. Additionally, gift bags were given to visitors at the stand.

Arabian Travel Market is the leading global event for the inbound and outbound travel industry in the Middle East. MMPRC joined ATM this year with the largest Maldivian delegation to attend the fair thus far, with over 200 partners representing 90 travel and tourism establishments promoting the Maldives at ATM 2023.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 35 Tourism & Aviation

MTCC Provides Update on Sh. Narudhoo Harbour Development Project

Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has provided its latest update on an ongoing harbour development.

According to MTCC, the Sh. Narudhoo Harbour Development Project is well underway. The first shipment of precast concrete blocks required for quay wall construction has been delivered to the site.

Scope of works include 51,212cbm of harbour dredging operations, 4,120cbm of channel dredging operations, construction of 371m breakwater; a 205m revetment; a 210m quay wall; installation of 955sqm harbour pavement, construction of a ramp and installation of harbour lights.

MTCC revealed that the value of the project is MVR 41.34 million.

36 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Transport & Construction
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Ministry of Transport Urges Seafarers to Obtain Seafarers Identity Document

In adherence to the Maritime Labor Convention’s regulations, specifically, No. 185, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation is urging all seafarers employed on ships voyaging overseas to obtain a Seafarer’s Identity Document (SID). This crucial requirement is aimed at enhancing the safety and security of seafarers while they carry out their duties at sea.

The SID is an essential document for seafarers, as it serves as their official identification while working aboard ships operating internationally. It is specifically designed to meet the requirements outlined in the Maritime Labor Convention, ensuring that seafarers’ rights

and welfare are protected throughout their employment.

Seafarers seeking to obtain the Seafarers Identity Document are requested to complete the SID form. Once the form is duly filled, applicants must submit the necessary materials mentioned in the form to the Ministry.

This proactive measure will not only enable compliance with international regulations but also strengthen the protection and rights of seafarers as they carry out their duties in the demanding maritime environment.

38 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Transport & Construction
Corporate Maldives | July 23 39
40 Corporate Maldives | July 23 People
Ahmed Nashid Founder and Chairman of ADK Group of Companies

Visionary pioneer of the healthcare industry of the Maldives, Mr Ahmed Nashid is the Founder and Chairman of ADK Group of Companies. As the recipient of this year’s Corporate Maldives Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr Nashid sat down with our team to chat about his journey — the challenges he has faced, the innovative approaches he takes in his business, and the various fields ADK Group has diversified into.

In 1987, I obtained the license to run a clinic, then there were no specific regulations or guidelines on running a clinic. I didn’t want to confine my service solely within the boundary of a small clinic; I aspired to expand it to a more comprehensive medical care institute on a larger scale in the future.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced early on and how did you overcome them?

What inspired you to enter the healthcare industry, and what was your vision when you first started?

I have always had the desire to establish something of my own. My primary objective was to become self-sufficient so I do not need to depend on others, especially when it comes to providing for my family. Both my parents were my role models; they both worked very hard to meet ends. I learnt at a very young age that the key to success is through hard work and that nothing is impossible if you are determined.

After leaving school, I strived to find a job to earn and save, to start something of my own one day. Building a vast business empire was neither my goal nor my plan when I entered the healthcare industry. I got into healthcare when I met Dr Pandian by chance and through our conversation, I shared my interest and vision in opening up a clinic in Male’ and offered him to work with me. I am ever so grateful for him for accepting my offer. When I started operating the clinic Dr Pandian was the first and the only doctor, and he played a key role in the conception stage to the transition into a full-fledged hospital — ‘ADK Hospital’ that you all know today.

I started my career in the merchant navy at the age of 17 and a few years later I met my future wife. It was she who encouraged me to leave my profession abroad and explore what I could do at home with my family. Taking her advice to heart, I was able to share my vision with Dr Pandian and convinced him to start the clinic.

Lack of regulations in healthcare was one of the biggest challenges we faced at the start, even after 8 years of service when we transitioned from a clinic to a hospital, and it still is even today after 36 years. However, I must admit that with the passing of certain bills such as the ‘Healthcare Professional Act and Health Administrative Act’, we are seeing some progress in this regard.

We require varied specialities of healthcare professionals and technicians to provide quality care in a hospital setting, to find different specialities for the smooth functioning of the hospital in the niche fields and to recruit and sustain them. Developing strategies to attract and retain them is also not an easy task. Juggling and balancing the budget without compromising the quality is the major challenge we face given the high costs associated with medical equipment, staff salaries, and infrastructure maintenance.

In life, everything comes with challenges, and overcoming them takes a lot of time and effort. It’s tricky to always identify what is feasible, to allocate and manage resources efficiently and effectively within the limitations. In such situations we try to be proactive and innovative with a strategic mindset; be resilient to face setbacks and remain persistent in pursuing solutions. It’s crucial to maintain a positive attitude and inspire others to stay motivated during challenging times, especially in this field when the stakes are so high. Collaborative teamwork and fostering good relationships with other stakeholders like government authorities, healthcare professionals, and society members are vital to overcoming challenges. For instance, overcoming the recent COVID-19 pandemic is an inspiring example of such an effort.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 41 People

One important aspect to note is that healthcare is not just a product; it is a service. Therefore, we recognized the need to strike a balance between infrastructure development and investing in human capital, an area that was not given much attention then.

As a result of investment in human capital, we now have a team of highly skilled neurosurgeons, cardiac surgeons, and doctors of many other specialities and clinical fields, all trained with our support. This substantial investment in the development of healthcare professionals has positively impacted the quality and accessibility of specialized services within the country and has contributed to building public confidence.

As service providers, our current approach is to move away from traditional to more patientcentred care and service. To foster a culture of patient-centric care within the hospital we prioritize patient needs and satisfaction and try to encourage open communication, empathy, and respect among staff members towards patients and their families. We regularly assess patient feedback and address those issues to provide quality and patient-centred care, which is very challenging as it is a relatively new approach in the country.

Moreover, we are also developing areas which require more, and new investments based on the needs and demands of society. Over 36 years, we have carefully observed the areas with the greatest deficiencies in available healthcare services and directed our efforts towards addressing and continuing to address those needs. By continuously evaluating our practices, finding innovative solutions, and prioritizing patient-centred care we strive to maintain a balance between patients’ demands and fiscal requirements, and thus we have been able to make practical and significant improvements in delivering innovative healthcare services.

Balancing the business aspects of running a medical company while ensuring highquality patient care is indeed a challenging task. Our healthcare system provides services to individuals from various income levels, including middle-income, high-income, and ordinary individuals. While some patients may require extensive investigations and can afford them, others may find them to be costly and excessive. However, regardless of the patient’s financial situation, the nature and condition of their health can never be compromised.

To enhance our services and make them more efficient, we are continuously focusing on reducing the duration of hospital stays, consequently reducing the overall patient bills. For example, we were pioneers in introducing laparoscopic surgery, which significantly reduces the number of days patients need to stay in the hospital compared to conventional open surgeries.

Our approach involves considering both the cost and affordability of services while ensuring the highest standards of care. However, a significant portion of this burden has been addressed with the introduction of our national health insurance scheme. Through this scheme, everyone receives coverage, alleviating some of the financial difficulties patients may face.

Our recent introduction of ‘The Wellness Club’ is a good example of a balance between the business aspect of the company and focusing on patient wellbeing, because preventive healthcare is always better than cure. Over the years we have had programs on educating our society on healthy lifestyle choices, health awareness and health screenings towards achieving a holistic approach.

42 Corporate Maldives | July 23 People
What innovative approaches have you taken to improve healthcare access and delivery in the Maldives, and what impact have they had?
How have you been able to balance the business aspects of running a successful medical company with the need to provide high-quality, patient care?

ADK Group has evolved and succeeded in several other significant fields. Could you tell us a little bit about these ventures and how the idea of diversification came about?

Diversification is a prudent strategy for any business. By engaging in multiple sectors under ADK Group, such as pharmaceuticals, general trading, logistics, education and tourism, we create a more resilient business portfolio. In an interconnected global world when we are faced with man-made crises and unforeseen natural disasters, it is quite risky putting all your eggs in one basket.

When one sector may experience a slowdown, another sector may be flourishing, which helps to mitigate risks and maintain stability. This approach has guided us in pursuing opportunities where we can afford to invest and contribute to various businesses, thereby allowing for mutual support and growth. Diversification ensures that if one sector faces challenges, we have other areas to rely on for support. Each business sector has its own dynamics, and by diversifying, we can balance the performance of different ventures.

Overall, diversification has been a fundamental principle in our business strategy, providing stability and opening doors to new opportunities across different industries.

What do you consider to be your greatest personal achievement?

Having over 1500 staff working under the umbrella of ADK Group, and being able to support not just the induvial but the wellbeing of their families, is something that gives me a sense of great satisfaction and achievement.

Having said this, my greatest personal achievement by far is navigating through the challenges of the demanding world we live in today. Despite the toxicity that surrounds us, I have managed to create a harmonious and loving family. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, amazing children, and supportive sons-in-laws who bring immense joy to my life. They are my greatest source of pride and accomplishment.

What’s in store for the future of ADK Group? What’s next?

In the Maldivian market, there are still numerous opportunities to explore. The field of healthcare, in particular, offers endless possibilities with new innovative technologies and evolving treatment methods. We see ample room for improvement and growth in this sector.

One recent accomplishment is the development of Oaga Art Resort, which was both challenging and rewarding. We have introduced a unique and fresh experience for our guests. Our vision is to expand the Oaga Resorts brand and take it to the next level. We aim to establish it as a leading local brand, providing a wonderful blend of authentic local experiences and international five-star service.

While we are aware of our limitations, we believe that success often starts from humble beginnings, just like many renowned businesses that originated in garages. In the healthcare industry, for instance, we started with a small clinic, and over 36 years, we have become a leading healthcare provider. Similarly, in tourism, our journey has been challenging but fruitful, as we finally entered the market after 20 years of persistence.

However, we acknowledge that there is still a long way to go. We have a five-year plan in the tourism business to bring all the different experiences together, including local heritage, culture, art, and much more. Our aim is to create a beautiful brand that people will love and trust. We are excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead for us.

When reflecting on my journey from a humble beginning to what I am today, I am extremely grateful to the contribution made by my sincere and hardworking staff throughout this venture.

I have never forgotten the blessings from Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. I am grateful to Him for all his blessings.

‘This is by the grace of my Lord’, ‘Hadha min fadli Rabbi’ (Quran 27:40).

Corporate Maldives | July 23 43 People

HRS Appoints Mohamed Nasih as Director of Operations for SEA Region

Hospitality & Retail Systems (HRS), a global leader in providing innovative solutions to the hospitality industry globally covering 90 countries and over 11,000 customers worldwide, has appointed Mohamed Nasih as its Director of Operations for the Southeast Asia region.

Mohamed Nasih is a seasoned service delivery manager and hospitality technology consultant who has served in the Maldives and abroad with a successful track record of over 16 years in the hospitality and retail industry.

His career began in 2005 as an implementation consultant with Micros Fidelio in the Maldives and later moved to Singapore in 2013 to work as

a project manager for Oracle Singapore before joining Hospitality and Retail Systems in 2018.

Currently based in Singapore, Mohamed serves as a director of operations for Southeast Asia, overseeing the operation of HRS in the SEA region. He is well-versed in establishing and maintaining service delivery standards, managing customer communications and expectations, and leading service delivery teams across the region.

With over 16 years of hospitality technology service in the Maldives and aboard, Nasih is dedicated to delivering high-quality services to HRS customers across Southeast Asia.

44 Corporate Maldives | July 23

Noora Zahir Appointed Head of Brand & Marcomms at Ooredoo Maldives

Ooredoo Maldives has announced the promotion of Noora Zahir to Head of Brand & Marcomms. Previously serving as Senior Manager for Brand and Marcomms, Noora brings a wealth of experience, having dedicated the past eleven years to Ooredoo Maldives.

Ooredoo Maldives provides an innovative range of voice, data, broadband, content and enterprise

services tailored to the growing needs of today’s consumers and businesses.

Guided by its vision of enriching people’s lives and its belief that it can stimulate human growth by leveraging communications to help people achieve their full potential, Ooredoo Maldives has transformed the digital lives of communities across the Maldives.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 45

Details of Improved Pay Framework for Health Sector Announced

As previously announced in the 2023 Presidential Address, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has disclosed the details of the new pay framework for health sector employees, came into effect on 1st May.

The President detailed some of the revisions made to the wages of health sector employees. He stated that a senior registered nurse previously earning MVR20,459 as total pay, will now earn MVR29,271 without overtime pay whereas a specialist nurse will now earn MVR41,976. A senior medical officer will earn an average monthly pay of MVR41,541 without overtime and a subspecialist consultant with the highest grade will now earn MVR98,137 without overtime pay.

President Solih relayed that the government has also brought revisions to social service sector employees, including psychologists, councillors, and social workers. He further stated that the

employees who have not received the 35 percent allowance working in government ministries will now start receiving the 35 percent allowance as well.

The President also stated that the government has decided to start providing an internship allowance for students who pursue medical and dental internships and introduce a scholarship loan program to equip Maldivians in areas of the health sector previously lacking Maldivian representation.

President Solih disclosed that these salary changes and 35 percent allowance for staff in all government ministries would benefit a total of 9,838 employees and cost MVR 482 million annually. He expressed hope that these improvements will lead to greater service and incentivise more Maldivians to join the health sector workforce.

46 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Health

New Services Introduced in Regional Hospitals Under Efforts to Enhance Healthcare

The Spokesperson at the President’s Office, Miuvaan Mohamed, has announced that the administration recently introduced new services in regional hospitals nationwide under its continued efforts to enhance healthcare.

Miuvaan recalled President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s meeting with senior health sector staff last year, where he pledged to prioritise efforts to enhance healthcare services nationwide. At the meeting, the President had also noted that the administration had achieved significant transformative improvements over the past four years but had added that there was always room for improvement.

The Spokesperson added that the administration recently introduced new healthcare services in Dr Abdul Samad Memorial Hospital, including advanced laparoscopic surgery, advanced wound care and chemotherapy. He said that introducing chemotherapy and other services would make healthcare more accessible to the residents of Huvadhu Atoll.

The Spokesperson also noted that the administration had set up 112 laboratories at healthcare facilities across the country, with efforts currently underway to supply kits needed for blood transfusions to upgrade existing services.

48 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Health

Maldives Implements Strict Measures to Curb ForeignControlled Private Businesses

In an effort to address the issue of private businesses controlled by foreigners, the Ministry of Economic Development in the Maldives has introduced stringent measures and regulations. These new rules aim to crack down on businesses registered under the names of Maldivians but ultimately benefit foreign individuals. The prevalence of such enterprises, including numerous shops and market stalls run by non-Maldivians, has prompted the government to take decisive action.

Under the newly implemented regulations, strict procedures have been established for the registration, operation, and cancellation of private businesses that are controlled by foreigners. The primary objective is to halt any private enterprise that directly or indirectly favours foreign individuals and to hold the Maldivian registrants accountable for their actions. Should the Ministry of Economic Development receive evidence of revenue being deposited into a foreigner’s bank account, swift action will be taken. Offenders will face a hefty fine amounting to USD 6,500, accompanied by

a ban preventing them from registering a new business for a duration of five years.

To ensure transparency, the ministry will publicly disclose the grounds for terminating such businesses. Financial institutions and other relevant entities are mandated to report any suspicious fund transfers from these businesses to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). The ministry will also verify business permissions and penalize those found in violation of regulations, particularly if goods are placed outside the designated premises, with fines ranging from USD 65 to USD 6,500.

Furthermore, the new regulations stipulate that businesses must be registered online or through the local council. Upon registration, the ministry will reserve the chosen business name for a period of 14 days. Private enterprises can now be registered for up to 10 years but will be subject to inspections to ensure compliance. Violations of the regulations may result in fines ranging from USD 65 to USD 6,500.

Presently, there are approximately 22,000 registered businesses in the Maldives. Recognizing the need to support businesses in adhering to the new regulations, the Ministry of Economic Development plans to conduct awareness programs to provide guidance and ensure widespread compliance. These measures are expected to significantly curb the issue of private businesses controlled by foreigners in the Maldives, safeguarding the interests of the local economy and fostering a more equitable business environment.

50 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Retail

Economic Ministry to Grant USD 6,500 to 200 SMEs

The Ministry of Economic Development has introduced initiatives designed to offer grants of USD 6,500 to 200 small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Under the Maldives: Enhancing Employability and Resilience of Youth (MEERY) project, funded by the World Bank, the Grants for Women-led Businesses and Grants for Tailoring Businesses programs have been launched. The inaugural ceremony took place in Addu City, presided over by Neeza Imad, the Minister of State for Economic Development.

The primary objective of these programs is to foster and support SMEs by providing financial

aid, training, and technical assistance. They offer 200 opportunities for businesses to apply for grants of up to USD 6,500. The programs specifically target micro businesses registered under the Small and Medium Enterprises Act in Male’ City, Addu City, Fuvahmulah City, and Kulhudhuffushi City. However, unregistered businesses are also encouraged to participate.

The women-led businesses program aims to extend financial aid and training to women seeking to expand their existing businesses or venture into new enterprises. Meanwhile, the program for tailoring businesses seeks to provide support to individuals owning tailoring businesses.

Applicants must either be individuals aged between 18 and 65 or businesses that are 100% Maldivian-owned. They should not have previously benefited from grant programs launched under the MEERY project since January 2020. Interested parties can submit their applications through the Job Centre portal.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 51 Retail

Moolee Partners with WEAM to Empower Women Entrepreneurs in the Maldives

Moolee, the e-commerce platform of Ooredoo Maldives, has partnered with Women Entrepreneurs Association Maldives (WEAM) to promote and empower women entrepreneurs in the country. The partnership allows women entrepreneurs to showcase their one-of-a-kind products, such as handmade jewellery, coconut oil, and handicrafts, to a broader audience.

WEAM is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship among Maldivian women and seeks to align strategies with government stakeholders to support women’s entrepreneurship in the country. On the other hand, Moolee provides businesses with an e-commerce platform to reach a wider market and deliver their products across the country.

Through the “Hadhiya with WEAM” collection, Moolee now features a range of products from women entrepreneurs who are members of WEAM.

This partnership provides customers with the opportunity to purchase unique and authentic products created by talented Maldivian women. Additionally, customers can feel good about supporting the growth and development of women-owned businesses in the country.

This partnership between Moolee and WEAM is a significant initiative that promotes women’s entrepreneurship in the Maldives. By featuring their products on Moolee, women entrepreneurs can reach a broader audience and showcase their unique products. The partnership encourages everyone to visit the “Hadhiya with WEAM” collection on Moolee’s website to support the growth and development of women-owned businesses in the Maldives.

52 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Retail

BML & American Express Launch the ‘Experience Maldives’ Destination Campaign

Bank of Maldives (BML) in partnership with American Express has launched the ‘Experience Maldives’ destination campaign offering unique, authentic experiences for American Express Cardmembers. The year-long campaign, endorsed by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC), National Boating Associating of Maldives (NBAM) and Ministry of Tourism was launched at a special ceremony held at Kurumba Maldives.

‘Experience Maldives’ offers a variety of experiences for American Express Cardmembers with special privileges and discount offers at several resorts, guesthouses, and merchants across the country. From 10-25% discount on spa/activities, free night stays, great discounts at restaurants to free data from local network providers, Cardmembers are in for a great experience while holidaying in Maldives.

BML Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Karl Stumke said: “Maldives welcomed over half a million tourists within the first four months of this year and as the national bank of

the country, we are pleased to contribute to reach the 2023 target arrival of 1.8 million tourists. We are delighted to partner with American Express to promote Maldives as an international tourist destination to its Cardmembers across the globe. My sincere appreciation to our partners as well as the properties and merchants that have joined the campaign with their offers.”

Commenting on the partnership, Divya Jain, Vice President & General Manager, Global Network Services, Asia and South Pacific Growth Markets, American Express said: “Maldives is one of the most sought-after travel destinations for premium and affluent travellers from across the world and the Experience Maldives campaign will further create excitement around this beautiful destination, positively supporting the tourism sector in the economy. We are excited to bring a suite of amazing travel experiences to our global American Express Cardmembers with the launch of yet another edition of the ‘Experience Maldives’ campaign in partnership with our long-standing partner, Bank of Maldives.”

54 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Banking & Finance

Bank of Maldives Shareholders to Receive MVR 215 Million as Total Dividend Payout

Bank of Maldives shareholders have approved a total dividend payout of MVR 215 million with MVR 40 per share, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting held at the Islamic Centre.

BML’s CEO and Managing Director Karl Stumke commented “Shareholders have tonight approved a total dividend of MVR 40 per share. This includes the interim dividend of MVR 20 per share paid out in the last month.

“I would like to extend my appreciation to our team of committed staff across the country for their hard work last year. I would like to thank all our customers for their loyalty and support over the past 40 years. With a new strategy in place focusing on sustainability, treating customers fairly and digitalization, we will strive to continue to be the bank of choice in Maldives.”

The total dividend payout for the year 2022 is MVR 215 million and the Government, as the biggest shareholder, stands to benefit with MVR 125 million as dividend and over MVR 500 million as tax for the year 2022.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 55 Banking & Finance
“I would like to extend my appreciation to our team of committed staff across the country for their hard work last year. I would like to thank all our customers for their loyalty and support over the past 40 years. With a new strategy in place focusing on sustainability, treating customers fairly and digitalization, we will strive to continue to be the bank of choice in Maldives.”
Karl Stumke, CEO & Managing Director of BML

CMDA Signs MoU with UNDP Maldives to Develop an ESG Framework for Corporates in Maldives

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives and the Maldives Capital Market Development Authority (CMDA) have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate in advancing the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting framework for listed corporates in Maldives.

The MoU outlines a partnership between UNDP and CMDA to develop a comprehensive ESG reporting framework that will enable companies to report on their sustainability efforts in a consistent and standardized manner.

The main objective of this collaboration is to develop an ESG ecosystem and necessary human capacities for regulators and capital market participants in Maldives through the alignment of business practices and financing

flows against sustainable financing principles, in support of achieving the Maldives Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Strategic Action Plan (SAP), and the strategic priorities of CMDA.

“CMDA is pleased to collaborate with UNDP to develop a framework for sustainability financing and ESG reporting for the Maldives. Through this collaboration, CMDA aims to create market financing opportunities for local companies to carry out sustainability-linked programs, enhance transparency and strengthen governance through effective ESG reporting.  CMDA is committed to continue its efforts to increase investor confidence in Maldivian companies, both locally and internationally, by ensuring they operate within a robust regulatory framework,” said Chief Executive Officer of CMDA Mohamed Hussain Maniku.

56 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Banking & Finance

Under the MoU, cooperation between UNDP and CMDA will be pursued under the following activities:

• To jointly develop a sustainability financing and ESG reporting framework for the corporate sector in Maldives;

• To provide CMDA, listed entities, and other relevant stakeholders a series of capacity building and knowledge sharing opportunities on sustainability financing and ESG reporting practices and,

• Preparation for scaling up ESG reporting and enforcement in the long term.

As a first activity under this MoU, UNDP and CMDA is co-organizing an introductory webinar for relevant stakeholders to introduce the concept and good practices of corporate sustainability reporting, sustainability impact assessment, and to grow momentum among the corporate

sector in the Maldives with motivations to continue learning skills and building capacities to mainstream and integrate sustainability into business activities.

UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives

Enrico Gaveglia said: “UNDP is continuously exploring pathways to enhance global best practices on the ground here in the Maldives and we are pleased to be partnering with the CMDA to advance ESG and sustainability in the corporate sector. We have a vision of not just creating a framework for reporting but garnering motivation among corporate actors towards sustainable business practices and financing towards closing the gap between national and global sustainability goals and action. UNDP is strategically well-placed to leverage this through our access to a vast range of experts and resources in this field. The ESG framework would be a starting point to a much wider scope of sustainability practice and financing within the private sector in the Maldives.”

Corporate Maldives | July 23 57 Banking & Finance

Medtech Diagnostics Pvt Ltd’s Sukuk Successfully Closes with 20 Million

Medtech Diagnostics Pvt Ltd’s debut Sukuk listed on the VIYANA platform was successfully closed with MVR 20 million. The issue was strongly supported by an increasing number of investors registered on VIYANA which stands at 237. The 7-year Sukuk was opened for subscription on the 19th of April 2023, and closed on the 28th of May 2023.

Medtech Diagnostics is one of the leading distributors of medical equipment, machinery and consumables to the healthcare system of Maldives.

This Sukuk issuance marks a milestone in the history of the Islamic Capital Market of Maldives making it the first Shari’ah Compliant issuance by a private company through VIYANA platform for private securities.

First National Finance Corporation Pvt Ltd was the Lead arranger for this issuance. On the

success of the Sukuk issue, the CEO of First National thanked the foresight of the founders of Medtech Diagnostics and the regulators and Maldives Stock Exchange. “I am humbled by the overwhelming response from the market for Shari’ah-compliant and good-quality products from well-governed private companies. We will continue our work to introduce more investment products in the Capital Market of Maldives in the future to provide a diverse range of investment opportunities to the domestic market.”

First National Finance Corporation operates in the capital market space, providing lead manager services, structuring and arranging finances, and providing investment solutions, fund management and private wealth planning.

For more information on the Sukuk and First National Maldives, please visit the website www.

58 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Banking & Finance

SDFC Upgrades SME Loan Portal, Opens Applications for Loan Products

SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) has upgraded its SME loan portal and reopened submissions for SMEs to apply for financial assistance.

SDFC had, in December 2022, suspended applications for all but two loans in order to upgrade its portal. At that time, applications were open only for the ‘Dhanduveri Nafaa’ loan to provide easily accessible financing options to parties involved in the agriculture sector, and the ‘Kandufalhuge Nafaa’ loan to provide easily accessible financing options towards the facilitation of RSW systems in existing fishing vessels.

However, the SME portal has now been upgraded and launched, and SMEs can also apply for other loans. According to the SDFC, applicants can

apply for business development, hard assets, business assistance and rural tourism loans.

According to the corporation, the upgraded SME portal will be able to apply for loans, check updates on various stages of the loan and help in various loan-related matters easily through the portal. “Appointments will be arranged, information cleared and all loanrelated documents and customer information will be maintained in one place,” SDFC said in a statement.

SDFC further revealed that the new portal has established a ‘loan product wizard’ to help identify the most appropriate loan that the customer chooses and has also introduced a search feature to facilitate the network’s navigation.

60 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Banking & Finance

Embracing the Future with SmartCom –Urbanco’s Vision to Redefine Quality Living

The Urbanco’s brand, SmartCom, is making significant strides in the technological realm, breathing life into the vision of redefining quality living. By leveraging technology, SmartCom aims to transform Hulhumalé, creating a better, more comfortable life for its residents.

Solving the Parking Puzzle with Smart Parking

One of SmartCom’s most prominent initiatives is the development of smart parking facilities. These state-of-the-art facilities are designed to ease the burden of finding a parking space, a challenge that many urban dwellers face daily.

The recently launched Firthuroanu Smart Parking is an excellent example of this innovation. This

intelligent parking solution, exclusively designed for four-wheel vehicles, employs cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to streamline the parking process. AI cameras read the license plates of registered vehicles, allowing seamless entry and exit while maintaining the highest security standards. The system is designed to differentiate between various types of vehicles and only recognizes legitimate vehicles, ensuring the integrity of the facility.

This 24/7 facility negates the need for human interaction during parking, further emphasizing the convenience factor. The Urbanco app has been integrated into the system, allowing users to conveniently book parking spaces. With a few taps, users can select their desired booking time and pay online, and they are even provided with directions to the facility via Google Maps.

62 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Technology & Innovation

Long-Term and Short-Term Parking

Long-term parking is provided through a unique, bid-based auction system. Customers winning the bid receive a three-year parking period and make monthly payments alongside an initial deposit. This approach offers a practical solution for residents seeking a dedicated parking space. However, terms and conditions apply.

On the other hand, the short-term parking option allows customers to pre-book parking slots for shorter durations through the Urbanco app. After selecting their preferred booking time, customers can effortlessly make online payments.

Inclusivity: A Priority in Smart Parking

Addressing inclusivity, SmartCom has dedicated parking spaces for persons with disabilities. This free parking slot represents SmartCom’s commitment to ensuring its services cater to all citizens, further exemplifying their efforts towards social inclusion.

Expanding Horizons: Upcoming SmartCom Projects

SmartCom’s mission extends beyond the successful implementation of the Firthuroanu Smart Parking facility. Addressing Hulhumalé’s challenging parking problem is at the forefront of SmartCom’s agenda, with plans to extend smart parking to many other locations in Hulhumale’.

The brand is also tackling roadside parking issues, aiming to introduce efficient, high-tech solutions to counteract the struggles associated with implementing regulatory measures.

Towards the First Smart City in Maldives

However, the vision to redefine quality living extends beyond smart parking. SmartCom has taken on the responsibility of transforming Hulhumalé into the first smart city in the Maldives. This ambitious project involves addressing core issues through the use of cutting-edge technology and encouraging positive citizen engagement.

SmartCom firmly believes that the key to true transformation lies in centering technology around people and encouraging citizen-led problem-solving. With the capabilities of the SmartCom team, the reality of creating the first smart city is within reach.

The journey may be long, but as the saying goes, even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For Urbanco and SmartCom, these steps are already being taken on multiple fronts, inching closer every day to making this vision a reality.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 63 Technology & Innovation

Navigating the Future: How Should CEOs Embrace AI, or Will AI Assume CEO Roles?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative technology across various industries, disrupting traditional business models and revolutionizing operations. With the increasing capabilities of AI, there is a growing debate about its role in top leadership positions. This article explores the relationship between CEOs and AI, discussing how CEOs should embrace AI and whether there is a possibility of AI assuming CEO roles in the future.

The Rise of AI in Business

AI has become a powerful tool for organizations, enabling data-driven decision-making, automation, and enhanced efficiency. From predictive analytics to machine learning algorithms, AI offers insights and solutions that were previously unimaginable. As businesses strive to stay competitive, embracing AI has become imperative for CEOs looking to leverage the technology’s potential.

CEOs Embracing AI

Forward-thinking CEOs recognize the strategic advantage of incorporating AI into their business strategies. They understand that AI can augment their decision-making processes, identify trends, and unlock new growth opportunities. By embracing AI, CEOs can harness its power to streamline operations, optimize supply chains, personalize customer experiences, and drive innovation. Successful integration of AI requires CEOs to foster a culture of collaboration between humans and machines, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The Augmented CEO

While AI offers tremendous potential, the notion of AI assuming CEO roles entirely is still a matter

of speculation. AI possesses certain capabilities, such as data analysis and pattern recognition, that can enhance decision-making. However, it lacks the nuanced judgment, intuition, and creativity exhibited by human CEOs. Additionally, the CEO’s role extends beyond decision-making, encompassing leadership, vision, and strategic direction. These aspects of leadership require human empathy, emotional intelligence, and the ability to inspire and motivate teams.

Collaboration, Not Replacement

Rather than replacing CEOs, AI is more likely to augment their capabilities, allowing them to make more informed and efficient decisions. AI can provide CEOs with real-time insights, predictive analytics, and scenario modeling to navigate complex business environments. By leveraging AI, CEOs can focus on strategic initiatives, innovation, and building relationships while leaving repetitive tasks and data analysis to the technology. This collaborative approach enables CEOs to harness the power of AI as a strategic ally.

In an era dominated by technological advancements, CEOs must recognize the transformative potential of AI and adapt their leadership styles accordingly. Embracing AI as a strategic ally can empower CEOs to make more informed decisions, drive innovation, and lead their organizations towards sustainable growth. However, the human touch and qualities that define effective leadership cannot be replicated by AI alone. The future lies in a collaborative relationship between CEOs and AI, where both human judgment and machine intelligence work in harmony to create successful enterprises.

64 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Technology & Innovation

Shattering Glass Ceilings: Dhiraagu Champions Girls and Women in ICT in the Maldives

Girls in ICT Day, which was marked on 27th April 2023, is a global initiative aimed at promoting the inclusion of girls and women in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. The ICT sector is a crucial part of the telecommunications industry, encompassing a wide range of technologies, services, and applications that enable communication and data sharing.

Dhiraagu, a leading local telecommunications firm, is at the forefront of this movement in the Maldives. Established in 1988 as the country’s sole telecommunication service provider, Dhiraagu has grown to cater to over half a million customers and has become a key player in the Maldivian ICT landscape.

Dhiraagu’s efforts to promote equality are reflected in its workforce, where women hold key positions. The company actively supports the career development of women through mentoring programs, training initiatives, and leadership opportunities.

The company’s commitment to promoting women in ICT goes beyond its internal initiatives. Dhiraagu collaborates with industry partners and non-profit

organizations to advocate for programmes that aim to level the playing field for women in ICT fields for years to come, by inspiring young girls to go forward in these career paths.

One such collaboration is the “Girls to Code Laamu Edition” which is currently ongoing. Held in partnership with Women in Tech Maldives, the programme teaches participants basic coding skills by using HTML, CSS and Javascript. Targeted exclusively to girls between 14 to 20 years, the objective is to inspire and empower women to join technology fields and address the gender gap in the field. This is the fourth edition of the “Girls to Code” series, the first of which was held in 2019 at Fuvahmulah City with the second and third series conducted in 2021 at GDh. Thinadhoo and HDh. Kulhudhuffushi respectively.

Other collaborations with Women in Tech Maldives include the “Girls in Data” programme held in mid-2022, which was an online data literacy initiative targeted towards girls, as well as the “Hour of Code at Women in Tech” held in each year in collaboration with Dhiraagu since 2019, aimed at sparking interest in computer science among young students.

As a result of Dhiraagu’s efforts, there has been an increase in the representation of women in the ICT landscape. The company believes that women in ICT are not only essential for achieving gender equality but also for driving sustainable economic growth and social development in the Maldives. Dhiraagu’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has created a positive impact on the ICT sector in the Maldives, serving as a model for other organizations to follow in empowering women and girls in the technology field.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 65 Technology & Innovation

Pension Office Concludes 10th Edition of Finance Forum 2023

The Pension Office successfully wrapped up the 10th annual Maldives Finance Forum, held in Kurumba Maldives, under the theme “The Future of Finance: Exploring the Intersection of Fintech and AI.” The forum, a platform for financial leaders in the Maldives, brought together esteemed guests, including board members of the Pension Office, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Aminath Shauna, State Minister Mohamed Shareef, international expert speakers, CEOs of major banks in the Maldives, and local fintech experts.

Minister Aminath Shauna highlighted the crucial role of financial technology (Fintech) in unlocking the Maldives’ full potential. During her speech, she emphasized the significance of Fintech in overcoming the unique challenges posed by the geographical layout of the Maldives. Minister Shauna emphasized how Fintech can bridge the distances between islands, ensuring financial accessibility to every resident across the country. She also stressed the government’s commitment to developing cybercrime legislation to safeguard the digital environment.

The Minister further expressed her satisfaction with the citizens’ enthusiasm and readiness to embrace Fintech, as evidenced by the national financial inclusion survey conducted in 2022. The survey revealed the widespread adoption of mobile internet usage and mobile banking, showcasing the Maldivian population’s embrace of digital finance.

The Pension Office CEO, Sujatha Haleem, also shared insights at the forum, revealing that the pension fund in the Maldives currently stands at MVR 20.5 billion. Haleem expressed optimism about expanding the fund further, stating, “There is an opportunity to expand the fund even more. We are looking at new ways to expand the pension fund with modern facilities.”

Since its inception in 2012, the Finance Forum has become a significant annual event organized by the Pension Office, attracting financial leaders in the Maldives. This year’s edition witnessed engaging discussions on the future of finance, exploring the intersection of financial technologies and artificial intelligence.

66 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Technology & Innovation

MIFCO Reports Impressive 28% Increase in Revenue in 2022

Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) had a successful year in 2022, generating USD106 million in revenue, an impressive 28% increase from 2021. The rise in revenue can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the government’s efforts to make the stateowned company profitable, an increase in fish purchases, and the company’s own initiatives.

One of the notable initiatives of MIFCO was the launch of the HOSA mobile application, which has been highly beneficial to fishermen. The application enables them to track the areas where they caught fish and the number of fish processed. Additionally, fishermen can select a queue number at fish processing facilities, making the process more efficient and streamlined.

Another significant achievement of MIFCO in 2022 was the acquisition of the Jazeera Reefer, a fish processing vessel, which increased its fleet to five vessels. Currently, MIFCO is using

two vessels with fish freezing capacity, ten collectors with refrigerated sea water (RSW) systems, and seven vessels for chartered exports. The expansion of the fleet has allowed MIFCO to increase its processing capacity, which has undoubtedly contributed to the increased revenue in 2022.

Moreover, the opening of a new fish store in Hulhumale’ Phase II has helped MIFCO cater to a wider customer base, further boosting revenue. The launch of new canned tuna products, including drained tuna chunks, smoked tuna in olive oil, and tuna chunks in oil with garlic, has also been well-received in the market.

The impressive growth of MIFCO in 2022 highlights the company’s commitment to innovation and efficiency. By leveraging technology and expanding its fleet and product offerings, MIFCO has been able to increase its processing capacity and cater to a wider market, resulting in significant revenue growth.

68 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Fisheries & Agriculture



Corporate Maldives | July 23 69 Fisheries & Agriculture

World Bank Approves USD 64.8 Million Project to Boost Fisheries Competitiveness in Maldives

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $64.8 million project to strengthen regional fisheries management in the SouthWest Indian Ocean (SWIO) Region and to improve the competitiveness of the fisheries sector in Maldives.

The Transforming Fisheries Sector Management in South-West Indian Ocean Region and Maldives Project (TransFORM) aims to improve fisheries management in the SWIO region as a whole and to strengthen regional collaboration by producing and sharing knowledge, data and research to support evidence-based decision-making; improving fisheries and fish stock assessments; providing targeted capacity development; and

promoting effective collaboration with other fisheries management regional initiatives.

“Maldives’ strong track record in sustainable fisheries management can serve as a model for other countries in the South-West Indian Ocean region,” said Faris H. Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This project also promotes a larger role for small and medium enterprises in the fisheries and allied sectors such as mariculture and aquaculture and is part of the overall strategic engagement between the Government of Maldives and the World Bank to address the weak investment and business climate that constrains private sector development in the country.”

70 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Fisheries & Agriculture

The project will build national capacities, skills, and regulations to improve the governance of the fisheries sector. The longer-term aim is for Maldives to serve as a regional enabler that provides knowledge and capacity-building support to the SWIO region, particularly the island nations. The project will also pursue green, resilient, inclusive enterprise development practices to expand and diversify the fisheries and allied sectors, including, for example, the gradual removal of barriers to a competitive business climate in Maldives and facilitating learning in the fisheries sector in SWIO countries.

“This project supports greater regional cohesion and cooperation and provides a platform for mutual learning and support,” said Sachiko Kondo, World Bank Task Team Leader. “Appropriate skilling of stakeholders, developing national capacities to address challenges such as biosecurity, decarbonization, and promoting environmentally sound production and value chains are all part of the fisheries sector management and governance agenda. The project will build such capacities for the benefit of Maldives and the wider southwest

Indian Ocean region,” added Tapas Paul, World Bank Lead Environmental Specialist and Co-Task Team Leader of the project.

The project will be implemented by the regional Indian Ocean Commission and Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. The total financing is $64.8 million, which is comprised of a $12 million grant to the Indian Ocean Commission, as well as a $26.4 million grant and a $26.4 million credit to the Maldives from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries.

Maldives and 11 other countries border the waters of the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) – the island nations of Comoros, La Réunion (France), Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles; and six mainland countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Yemen. Together these countries are members of the South-West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC), a regional fisheries body.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 71 Fisheries & Agriculture
“This project also promotes a larger role for small and medium enterprises in the fisheries and allied sectors such as mariculture and aquaculture and is part of the overall strategic engagement between the Government of Maldives and the World Bank to address the weak investment and business climate that constrains private sector development in the country.”
H. Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka

MIFCO Disburses Over Half a Billion Rufiyaa to Fishermen in 2023

MIFCO has announced that it has disbursed more than half a billion rufiyaa to fishermen as of the 19th of this month. This represents a substantial increase compared to the same period last year.

Last year marked a record-breaking year for MIFCO; however, the disbursement amount has surpassed the previous year’s figures. According to the latest statistics, the company purchased a total of 34,082 tonnes of fish from fishermen between the 1st of January and the 19th of this month. In comparison, during the same period in

2022, MIFCO purchased 26,694 tonnes of fish. This signifies a notable increase of 28% compared to the previous year.

The surge in the quantity of fish purchased from fishermen has resulted in an augmented disbursement of funds to support the fishing community. So far this year, MIFCO has disbursed nearly half a billion-rufiyaa, totalling MVR 567,035,746. In 2022, the disbursed amount stood at MVR 430,523,358.

72 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Fisheries & Agriculture

STO Announces Reduction in Fuel Prices

State Trading Organization (STO) in the Maldives has announced a reduction in fuel prices, bringing relief to consumers across the nation. The price adjustments are implemented by its subsidiary Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM). The reduction in prices applies to both petrol and diesel, with petrol experiencing a decrease of MVR 0.41 per litre and diesel seeing a reduction of MVR 0.63 per litre.

Before the price revision, petrol in the Maldives was priced at MVR 15.14 per litre, while diesel was sold at MVR 15.70 per litre. With the recent changes, the price of petrol now stands at MVR 14.73 per litre, while diesel is available at MVR 15.07 per litre.

This price reduction comes as welcome news for the people of the Maldives, who rely heavily on fuel for various purposes, including transportation and power generation. Fuel prices play a significant role in determining the cost of living, as they have a cascading effect on the prices of other goods and services. Any fluctuations in fuel prices can greatly impact the economy and the daily lives of citizens.

The decision by STO to lower fuel prices follows their previous adjustment made on May 1, when petrol prices were reduced by MVR 0.83 per litre and diesel prices by MVR 0.62 per litre. These periodic changes in fuel prices demonstrate STO’s commitment to ensuring affordable fuel for the Maldivian population.

74 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Trade, Fuel & Shipping

Maldives Customs Reports Increase in Imports and Exports in May

According to the latest data released by the Maldives Customs Service, the value of imports in May 2023 increased by 5% compared to the same period in 2022. Imports including fuel worth MVR 4.6 billion were recorded during this period.

Major import contributors included India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Oman and Singapore. The largest import category in May 2023 was fuel, valued at MVR 834 million, followed by machinery and electrical equipment worth MVR 824 million.

The Maldives also experienced a major increase in exports in May 2023. Exported goods totalled

MVR 285 million in May 2023, which is a 37% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. Key export destinations were Thailand, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Bangladesh. Thailand accounted for 61% of the exports, followed by Great Britain at 17% and Germany at 7%. Notably, various frozen fish products were among the most exported items.

Furthermore, the Maldives recorded a total customs revenue of MVR 357 million for the month of May 2023, which is a 19% increase compared to May 2022.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 75 Trade, Fuel & Shipping

STO Reports 37% Increase in Net Profit in Q1 2023 Due to Lower Operational Costs

State Trading Organization (STO), a state-owned enterprise, has declared a net profit of MVR 368 million for the first quarter of 2023. The company’s total revenue during the quarter was MVR 4.4 billion, which is lower than the MVR 4.5 billion earned in the previous quarter. Despite the lower revenue, STO’s net profit for the first quarter was 37% higher than the last quarter, thanks to lower operational costs and total expenses.

The financial highlights of STO’s 2023 1st Quarter Report show that the company earned a gross profit of MVR 808.9 million and an operating profit of MVR 503.4 million. The earning per share for the quarter was MVR 327. The report also shows a decrease in the debt owed by STO,

from MVR 7.5 billion in the last quarter to MVR 6.6 billion in the current quarter. At the same time, the company’s net worth increased from MVR 3.6 million to MVR 3.95 million.

Despite the decrease in revenue, the company was able to reduce its operational costs by MVR 16.2 million and total expenses by MVR 283.8 million, resulting in a significant increase in net profit. These positive signs bode well for the company’s future and are likely to instil confidence in its shareholders and customers.

STO is one of the largest state-owned enterprises in the Maldives, with a diversified business portfolio that includes retail, wholesale, and import/export businesses.

76 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Trade, Fuel & Shipping

STO’s New Barge and Contract with IASL Brings Lower Jet Fuel Prices to Maafaru Airport

State Trading Organization’s special barge named Lagana, has resulted in a drop in the price of Jet fuel supplied to Maafaru International Airport.

The development of Maafaru as an international airport with fuel storage and refuelling service by Island Aviation Services Limited (IASL) has attracted a significant number of private jets to the area. Jet fuel has specific handling and transportation requirements, with a need for special equipment and vehicles to ensure its safe transportation.

In August 2021, IASL contracted STO to supply Jet fuel to Maafaru International Airport. Since then, STO has been working on supply-

side infrastructure and IASL on fuel receipt infrastructure. STO launched the Maldives’ first dedicated barge for supplying Jet A-1 fuel to refuelling stations nationwide on April 30th. Lagana has a capacity of 200cbm and is equipped with advanced measuring instruments and commissioned with industry-standard aviation filters, adhering to relevant quality assurance codes.

The contract between IASL and STO, along with the investment in the new barge, has enabled STO to supply Jet fuel to Maafaru at a lower rate compared to prices at other regional airports. The cost of Jet supplied for IASL at Maafaru will be approximately half of that at other airports, subject to global fuel prices.

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Trade, Fuel & Shipping

STELCO Invites Homeowners to Rent Rooftops for Solar Panel Installation

State Electric Company Limited (STELCO) is accepting applications from interested individuals who wish to lease their rooftops for solar panel installation under the Avikatha programme.

The initiative allows STELCO to install solar panels on rented rooftops of residential buildings, thereby enabling households to generate revenue. Prospective applicants must obtain permission from the homeowner and ensure that their building has a rooftop area of at least 100 square feet, is exposed to sunlight,

and can sustain a weight of up to 150 kilograms. Additionally, STELCO has announced that it will pay a monthly lease payment of USD 11.71 for each 1 kW solar panel installed.

The programme is currently available in the Greater Male’ Region and other islands serviced by the company. STELCO has been actively working towards increasing the production of renewable energy in the Maldives since 2020 to support the country’s carbon-neutral goal by 2030.

78 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Utilities

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Teams Up with Parley for the Oceans

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives and Parley for the Ocean Maldives have formalised a collaboration ahead of World Ocean Awareness Month (June). The recently signed Letter of Intent supports the Tourism Industry of the Maldives’ goal to implement the Parley AIR Strategy and aims to put the spotlight on the major threats facing the ocean.

The Parley AIR Strategy embodies 3 key pillars:

• AVOID the use of fossil-based plastics wherever possible

• INTERCEPT plastic waste, divert it from landfills, nature and burn, into closed loops

• REDESIGN products and materials and rethink how we interact and live on Planet Earth

“We are delighted to be officially collaborating with Parley for the Ocean to keep the crystal clear waters of the Maldives pristine and a safe habitat for our marine life,” said Mark Eletr, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives.

“When we met with the team from Parley, I was immediately engaged and inspired. I wanted to have our resort be part of their efforts not just in a strategic sense, but also in the important areas of awareness and education.”

Mark explained that many guests visiting Kandooma are interested in environmental activities, efforts in the sustainability space and

the use of renewable energy and that the resort is well-positioned to help drive awareness through guest outreach and bespoke activities. “Hotels and resorts are in a unique position to be able to use their reach to guests to model behaviours and to share the story. We have a responsibility in the tourism sector to preserve the beautiful natural resources of our destination,” he added.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives has committed to intercepting plastic waste at the resort, collaborating in transporting plastics from nearby islands (when needed) using resort boats, and participating in uninhabited island clean-ups, as the Resort’s contribution to the AIR Strategy. The Resort is actively exploring further ‘avoid’ measures around the use of plastic in the resort operation, actively encouraging visitors to Kandooma to emotionally connect with the life of the ocean to ensure its protection for future generations. The resort has also pledged to engage each team member to become a champion of the oceans and to actively embrace relationships with nearby communities and schools to foster an appreciation for the ocean.

Speaking about the collaboration with Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, Executive Director, Shaahina Ali from Parley Maldives, commented, “Parley shares valuable synergies with Kandooma’s management and we are excited about the opportunities that will unfold through this new relationship which will further promote our AIR Tourism programme designed to address the major threats to our oceans through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.”

80 Corporate Maldives | July 23
Environment & Sustainability

Maldives Resilient Reefs Launches New e-Learning Hub, Masmahaa Veshi

Maldives Resilient Reefs and the Blue Marine Foundation have joined hands to launch Masmahaa Veshi, an e-learning hub aimed at increasing marine literacy among Maldivians. The modules are available in both Dhivehi and English and are free of charge. The aim of the project is to raise awareness about the biggest issues facing our oceans and how we can tackle them.

“Despite being a country whose lives are intricately connected to the ocean, Maldivians have relatively low marine literacy,” stated Hassan Moosa, Education and Outreach Officer of Maldives Resilient Reefs. “This is unfortunate because the ocean is not only the source of livelihood for many Maldivians but also plays a vital role in shaping the country’s geography and culture. By increasing marine literacy, the project hopes to inspire more people to become

stewards of the ocean and contribute to its conservation.”

The e-learning hub is for everyone, regardless of age or background. At the launch, there are four general modules, which have been designed to introduce unfamiliar concepts in a simple, informative, and interactive way. The topics covered include what makes reef fish different and special, how they gather to some reefs to reproduce in spawning aggregations, how marine protected areas work, and what overfishing is. In addition to the general modules, there is also a specialist module for fishers enrolled in the sustainable resort reef fishing ‘Laamaseelu Masveriyaa program’.

The Masmahaa Veshi e-learning hub is a growing resource, and more modules will be added in the future.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 81 Environment & Sustainability

Insufficient Regulations Endanger Local Tourism Sustainability!

The development of resorts in the Maldives is governed by the government, which determines the bed capacity. The number of rooms and beds is fixed, and any increase requires a permit after careful consideration of the requirements by the government. However, the situation is different for local tourism. Due to the absence of strong regulations in the development of guesthouses on local islands, various issues arise. The responsibility for governing these islands is left to the councils, resulting in different rules being followed on different islands.

Concerns Highlighted in Dr. Ahmed Solih’s Speech

During the 7th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Media Summit held in Maldives, Dr. Ahmed Solih, the State Minister of Tourism, emphasized the relationship between tourism and the environment. He elaborated on the significance of tourism in the country’s economy, the priority given to sustainable tourism in resort development, and the government’s role in

determining resort capacity. However, Dr. Solih’s speech also revealed several worrisome aspects.

As an experienced professional in the tourism industry, Dr. Solih explained that every resort in the Maldives is developed only after the government determines its capacity. Factors such as the environmental impact, waste generation, and level of services provided are considered. Dr. Solih expressed concerns about the consequences of exceeding the designated limit, emphasizing the government’s commitment to sustainable tourism rather than haphazardly adding resorts or beds in tourism development.

While Dr. Solih’s comments primarily focused on resorts, it is essential to note that tourism in the Maldives extends beyond resort boundaries. Local tourism, including guesthouses, has become a significant part of the industry. However, there is a lack of government policies regarding local tourism, and the implementation of sustainable resort development policies is also inadequate. Dr. Solih highlighted these concerns during the ABU Summit, emphasizing the need for appropriate actions to address them.

82 Corporate Maldives | July 23
Environment & Sustainability

Introduction of Local Tourism in the Maldives

Maafushi Island was among the first to introduce local tourism, which contradicted the government’s sustainable tourism policy. While local tourism brought numerous benefits to Maafushi initially, it is no longer considered a local tourism island. Instead, it has transformed into a tourism hub with towering buildings and guesthouses that offer more tourist beds than a typical resort. City hotels spanning six or seven stories are operating under the guise of guesthouses, expanding their businesses without proper regulations.

This trend is not exclusive to Maafushi but is also observed in other villages across the Maldives. World-class city hotels are being constructed as guesthouses without considering the island’s capacity. Consequently, many islands that once boasted serene and picturesque environments are turning into concrete jungles resembling Male. Although numerous tourist beds are being added to the islands, other necessary developments are not taking place.

Lack of Regulations in Guesthouse Development

While resorts are required to meet various criteria, such as having water and sewerage systems, waste disposal incinerators, and

adequate staffing based on bed capacity, guesthouse development lacks such regulations. Guesthouses are being established without essential services and basic infrastructure like water and sewerage systems. In particular, the absence of waste disposal systems has led to the accumulation of waste generated by thousands of tourists, which is devastating the islands’ beautiful mangroves and forests. As a result, the islands are becoming overcrowded, and their unique culture and customs are gradually disappearing. Crime rates are increasing, and illicit liquor services, prevalent in resorts, are spreading to the villages. Safaris are being brought close to the villages to cater to this demand, as observed in Male and Hulhumale.

The current trajectory of local tourism poses a significant threat to the Maldives’ tourism industry and its islands. Without sustainable tourism practices, there is a high risk of environmental degradation and irreversible damage to the delicate ecosystems and natural beauty that define the Maldives. Additionally, the absence of sustainable tourism practices jeopardizes the long-term viability of the tourism industry, leading to potential economic decline and loss of livelihoods for local communities dependent on tourism-related activities.

Immediate action is crucial to safeguard the environment, preserve the unique charm of the islands, and ensure a sustainable future for the Maldives’ tourism sector.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 83
Environment & Sustainability

Corporate Maldives “GOLD 100 GALA” 2023 Highlights

The seventh edition of Corporate Maldives “GOLD 100 GALA” was held on the evening of 16th May 2023 at CROSSROADS Maldives attended by 200 top-level executives from the leading companies of the Maldives and VIP guests.

“GOLD 100 GALA” is an annual invitationonly event that offers a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer networking among the most influential executives in the Maldivian business community. This year, the event was graced by the chief guest, Vice President of the Maldives H.E. Faisal Naseem, along with high delegates including high commissioners, ambassadors and senior government officials. The event was attended by chairmen, managing directors, CEOs and key decision-makers within the business community of Maldives, exemplifying the collective brilliance and leadership that shape the thriving business landscape of the Maldives.

At the GALA function, “GOLD 100” companies were presented with an award and the “GOLD 100” magazine was launched. “GOLD 100” is a list of the leading 100 business entities in the Maldives, published by Corporate Maldives every year. Employing a fair and transparent selection process, the “GOLD 100” is carefully curated to

highlight leading businesses rather than rank them, resulting in an alphabetical arrangement of the list.

In addition to the “GOLD 100” Awards, Corporate Maldives also presented the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. This distinguished honour aims to recognize a visionary business leader who has made remarkable contributions to their industry. This year, the recipient of this esteemed award was Mr Ahmed Nashid, the Founder and Chairman of the ADK Group of Companies. Mr Nashid’s outstanding achievements in business, as well as his philanthropic endeavours, have significantly contributed to the overall growth and development of the Maldivian business community.

The Platinum Partner for this year’s “GOLD 100 GALA” was the Bank of Maldives, the largest bank and leading financial institution in the Maldives. Gold Partners of the event included Ooredoo Maldives, Medtech Maldives, The Hawks, Allied Insurance Company and Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC). CROSSROADS

Maldives was the Host Partner of the event, Jalboot Maldives was the Transport Partner and Red Creatic was the Print Partner.

84 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Corporate Maldives Events

Objective & Highlights

One of the main objectives of the “GOLD 100 GALA” is to bestow well-deserved recognition upon distinguished leaders within the Maldivian business community, celebrating their exceptional contributions. Additionally, this prestigious event serves as a pivotal platform for top executives to forge valuable connections, fostering opportunities for networking, meaningful interactions, and the establishment of fruitful business relationships. In line with this objective, a pre-event networking session was meticulously organized at Beach Club, at CROSSROADS Maldives.

The event was graced by the chief guest, Vice President H.E. Faisal Naseem, along with respected dignitaries including the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the Maldives, H.E. Rear Admiral S M Abul Kalam Azad, Deputy Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the Maldives, H.E. Saleh Al Bedah, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the Maldives, H.E. Adam Maznavee Jaufer Sadiq, and Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives, H.E. Mrs Takeuchi Midori.

The highly anticipated 7th edition of the renowned Corporate Maldives GOLD 100 magazine was unveiled at the event, launched by Vice President H.E. Faisal Naseem and the CEO of the Bank of Maldives, Mr Karl Stumke. The magazine contains the listing of the leading businesses in the Maldives, the GOLD 100, categorized by industry with company profiles and other up-todate information.

During his speech, Vice President H.E. Faisal Naseem underscored the important role played by businesses in sustaining the economy. He further thanked Corporate Maldives, for recognizing and empowering the business sector of the Maldives.

While addressing the gathering, the CEO of the Bank of Maldives Mr Karl Stumke spoke about the bank’s initiatives to cushion the financial blow for its customers caused by COVID-related shocks.

He added that the bank is constantly finding new ways to innovate, adapt and serve its customers amid everchanging global circumstances, in order to maintain its current market share.

Also, speaking at the event, Mr Nashid stated that the receipt of the Corporate Maldives GOLD 100 award was a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the company founders and that it should serve as an encouragement to reach even greater heights.

The event concluded with dinner, giving attendees the time to network, exchange cards, and make new business contacts. The overwhelmingly positive feedback received from our esteemed event partners, participants, and previous years’ winners further fuels our determination to surpass all expectations and craft an unforgettable experience for our next GOLD 100 GALA.

Corporate Maldives | July 23 85 Corporate Maldives Events

Founder & Chairman of ADK Group of Companies, Mr. Ahmed Nashid received the prestigious Corporate Maldives Lifetime Achievement Award at the “GOLD 100 GALA”.

86 Corporate Maldives | July 23 Corporate Maldives Events
Corporate Maldives | July 23 87 Corporate Maldives Events

Corporate Maldives Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

(2017 - 2023)

88 Corporate Maldives | July 23
2022 Mohamed Salih 2023 Ahmed Nashid 2020 Salah Shihab 2018 Mohamed Waheed Deen 2021 Ahmed Rasheed Hassan 2019 Qasim Ibrahim 2017 Hussain Afeef 2021 Abdul Majeed 2019 Abdulla Ali 2017 Mohamed Umar Maniku The Chairman of Damas Company Pvt Ltd. Founder and Chairman of ADK Group of Companies Founder and Managing Director of Voyages Maldives Chairman of Bandos Maldives Founder and Chairman of The Hawks Private Limited Chairman and Founder of the Villa Group Chairman of Crown Company Chairman and Managing Director of Bison Maldives Chairman of AAA Trading Company Pvt. Ltd Chairman at Universal Enterprises Pvt Ltd 2020 The Late Abdul Rasheed Founder and Chairman of Rasheed Carpentry and Construction Pvt Ltd. (RCC)
Corporate Maldives Events
2018 Ahmed Nazeer Founder and Director of Crown Company
Corporate Maldives | July 23 89 Corporate Maldives Events

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