Maldives president Abdulla Yameen has signed a loan agreement with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to develop the Velana International Airport (VIA).
The president is currently on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with first lady Fathmath Ibrahim, upon the invitation of UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Mihaaru is aware that ADFD will be aiding the development of VIA’s terminals; however, the exact amount of the loan has not been officially disclosed yet.
Sources have told Mihaaru that it was roughly a USD 50 million loan, whilst the estimated cost of revamping the entire terminal is USD 350 million. The construction of the terminal will be overseen by the Saudi-based multinational construction conglomerate, the Saudi Binladin Group, the source revealed.
The president had also met with the top officials of UAE’s government including president Nahyan, the vice president, prime minister and ruler of the Emirates of Dubai Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid at the H.H. Ruler’s Court in Dubai.
According to the President’s Office, the president will meet more government officials and engage in discussions on ways to improve the bilateral relations with the gulf nation.
The president and the first lady had also met with the Maldivian community living in the UAE at a luncheon, where he had highlighted how well-disciplined the Maldivians residing in UAE are. He had praised the crowd for upholding Maldivians’ good name in the international community, the President’s Office revealed.
The president was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamed Asim, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed and the Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim on his visit to the UAE.
Maldives first established diplomatic relations with UAE in 1978. Since then, ties between the two countries have been strong, with UAE contributing over MVR 400 million to the Maldivian government for various development projects over the years.
Most notably, the Maldivian government had sub-contracted the construction of the runway at the Velana International Airport to a UAE-based company.