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Trade, investment crucial for continued recovery: WEF

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DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Trade and investment remain essential for the continued recovery of the global economy, participants said at the 54th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting here this week.

“Without a free flow of trade, I don’t think we can recover,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said in a session exploring the role of trade and investment as a driver of economic growth.

Stressing a two-way relationship between growth and trade, she said the WTO is negotiating an investment facilitation agreement with 110 countries, in an effort to help developing countries “sweep away barriers” for investment to flow in and revitalize trade and growth.

According to Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO was “slightly less optimistic” about its projected 3.3 percent growth in commodity trade this year due to the tensions in the Red Sea and the downgrade of global growth.

“We are revising it, but I do not have the new numbers,” she said.

In October, the WTO more than halved last year’s global commodity trade forecast to 0.8 percent, compared to 1.7 percent estimated in April, but maintained its 3.3 percent growth forecast for 2024.

Global trade leaders at the WEF see significant opportunities for investment in growth across global supply chains, such as digital trade, services and green trade.

A mindset shift is needed, where trade and globalization are “embraced politically,” said Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chief executive officer and managing director at Mubadala Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates. “With economic development comes prosperity, with prosperity comes stability, with stability, ultimately, you have peace.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that geopolitical instability also poses risks to supply chains and international trade.

Talking about the European Union’s (EU) role in securing trade that would recover global growth, EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said the 27-member bloc is committed to preserving a rules-based multilateral trading system.

He said the geopolitical context is changing and becoming much more conflictual, posing the risk of economic fragmentation.

As the largest trading block in the world with the most comprehensive network of free trade agreements, the EU has a lot at stake when discussing the global trading system, he added.

“We really need to revive growth and investment, to see an inclusive job creating, and sustainable recovery,” WEF President Borge Brende said.

Under the theme “Rebuilding Trust,” the WEF annual meeting, scheduled for Jan. 15-19, focuses on four priorities: achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world; creating growth and jobs for a new era; harnessing artificial intelligence as a driving force for the economy and society, and formulating a long-term strategy for climate, nature, and energy.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Economy thrives, projects speed ahead despite challenges

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Before President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu assumed office, the economic condition of the Maldives was significantly deteriorating. Experts attribute the primary reason for the depreciation of the Maldivian currency to the excessive printing of money by the previous administration.

According to statistics from the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), more than USD 518.04 million was printed over the last three consecutive years, marking a historic high compared to USD 388.53 million printed over 40 years.

Additionally, upon assuming office, President Muizzu inherited a heavy debt burden. The total debt amounted to over USD 7.71 billion, with a significant portion owed to companies for upcoming parliamentary elections and previously initiated projects, totaling USD 584.88 million.

Despite these challenges, President Muizzu has been proactive in rejuvenating the Maldives’ economic status. Within three months of his tenure, USD 35 million has been deposited into the sovereign development fund. The President estimates that more than USD 100 million will be deposited into the fund by the end of the year.

discontinuation of printing money has been regarded as a pivotal step towards economic progression for the Maldives

President Muizzu’s commitment to revitalizing the Maldivian economy without resorting to the printing of money is indeed a significant pledge. By discontinuing the practice of printing money, the government aims to address economic challenges while ensuring fiscal responsibility and long-term sustainability.

The decision to immediately halt the printing of money upon assuming office underscores President Muizzu’s determination to prioritize sound monetary policy. This move reflects an acknowledgment of the risks associated with excessive money printing, including inflation and currency devaluation, and signals a commitment to addressing these challenges through prudent financial management.

Furthermore, President Muizzu’s plans to boost the country’s prosperity and income by reducing reliance on loans and settling debts owed to both foreign and domestic entities demonstrate a holistic approach to economic revitalization.

attracting a vast pool of investors

The efforts of the present administration to attract a wide range of investors reflect a strategic approach to addressing the significant development needs of the Maldives. By engaging in investment forums both domestically and abroad, the government has been successful in showcasing the diverse investment opportunities available in the country.

The decision to host investment forums in countries like China and the UAE demonstrates a proactive approach to international investment promotion. These forums serve as platforms for highlighting the potential for investment in key sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, and hospitality. By creating awareness about these opportunities, the government aims to attract investors who are interested in contributing to the development of critical projects, including the establishment of bridges, domestic airports, and resorts.

Over 500 projects underway

The continuation of 527 projects, including those that faced interruptions due to non-payment to companies during the government transition, underscores the commitment of President Muizzu’s administration to ensure continuity and progress in ongoing initiatives. Despite the challenges encountered, efforts have been made to address issues such as delayed payments and optimize project expenses to keep important projects on track.

It’s notable that the current year’s budget, initially approved by the prior administration, may not have fully aligned with President Muizzu’s priorities and rules for project implementation. This misalignment may have resulted in some projects not receiving adequate budget allocations or not being included in the budget at all. However, the administration has taken steps to optimize expenses and prioritize projects that align with President Muizzu’s vision for development

Initiatives to enhance economic growth and foster sustainable growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized President Muizzu’s initiatives as some of the strongest implementations seen among world leaders, emphasizing their potential for substantial progression. The IMF applauded the government’s decision not to overdraw the government’s account and expressed its readiness to provide any assistance needed. This endorsement from the IMF underscores the effectiveness of President Muizzu’s economic policies and strategies.

Additionally, the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industries has voiced support for the government’s initiatives, recognizing them as favorable for the Maldivian future as a growing economy. Despite challenges such as a shortage of dollars for small businesses, the Chamber remains optimistic that the government’s decisive actions will lead to economic growth and stability in the value of the dollar.

The government has projected a 5.5 percent economic growth rate for this year, indicating confidence in the trajectory of the economy under President Muizzu’s leadership. Furthermore, President Muizzu revealed a significant reduction in the country’s primary debt balance, from USD 103.61 billion last year to USD 8.68 million in the current year. This reduction in debt, achieved within just four months, demonstrates the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and its ability to effectively manage the country’s finances.

Overall, these developments indicate that the government’s economic rejuvenation efforts have been successful, earning the confidence of global financial institutions in the Maldives’ future economic prospects.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Council to issue 14 plots in Hanimaadhoo for tourism development

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Haa Dhaalu atoll Hanimaadhoo island council has announced a 50-year lease on 14 plots from the island for tourism development purposes.

In the announcement put on gazette by the council, it has opened bid opportunity for interested bidders to lease the plots from Hanimaadhoo’s tourism zone.

The council has announced lease of 5,000 square feet plots for a 50-year lease period, for which interested proponents are required to register for the bids before 13:00hrs on April 30th, 2024.

For proponents wishing to mail the bid registration form, they can mail it to info@hanimaadhoo.gov.mv.

Proponents must furnish a bid registration, non-refundable, fee of MVR 1,000 for the 5,000 square feet plots. If proponents wish to acquire more than one plot, then they must pay MVR 1,000 per plot.

If the council annuls the announcement, it said the registration fees will be refunded to the proponents, and added the proponents will receive bid books upon registration.

Bid acceptance and opening are scheduled for April 30th, 2024 as well.

While the Hanimaadhoo International Airport is under an expansion project, the island has been putting efforts to increase its local tourism activities as well.

During his last month visit to Hanimaadhoo, President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu said the airport’s expansion will contribute towards increased tourism activity in the island.

He also said sustainable development cannot be achieved without individual development of key regions which include Hanimaadhoo as well.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Maldives signs with Chinese firm for Laamu Integrated Maritime Hub Project

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Agreements pertaining to the Laamu Integrated Maritime Hub Project have been signed with a Chinese company, aiming to accomplish the commitments made by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. The contract laying groundworks for this transformative endeavor was signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) Mohamed Wajeeh and the General Manager of CAMC Engineering Li Wei Wei.

Outlined within the agreement are details of six subprojects:

  • Launching offshore bunkering services
  • Developing a cruise terminal
  • Establishing a super yacht marina
  • Developing Gaadhoo as an Eco-resort
  • Establishing a facility to store regionally produced food items
  • Building a transshipment port

Providing insight into the developmental project, CEO Wajeeh underscored MPL’s ongoing efforts to secure a relevant market. He envisioned attracting international shipping lines to the transshipment port, anticipating a significant economic boost from even a single shipping line. Discussions are also underway with cruise operators to initiate cruise terminal operations.

MPL disclosed proposals from two companies to assist in providing bunkering services. While Vitol Bunkering, currently involved in developing bunkering facilities in Haa Alif Atoll, is one of them, the second company expressing interest hails from Dubai.

The establishment of a commercial port and a harbor including logistics is a commitment outlined in the governments’ manifesto.

Source(s): PsmNews

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