The Maldives government has entered into development agreements with the International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), based in Dubai, to enhance economic and infrastructure projects in two key locations. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Minister for Economic Development Mohamed Saeed and Chairman of IFZA Martin Pedersen during a ceremony in Malé City on Sunday.

The agreements focus on the creation of a Special Economic and Financial Services Zone in Funadhoo and an Economic Gateway in Ihavandhippolhu. The Funadhoo project, located in the central Kaafu atoll, close to Malé, will be developed in a single phase, transforming the area into a financial hub featuring conference centers and hotels. 

The Ihavandhippolhu project, positioned in the northernmost atoll, involves a more extensive development plan. It will be executed in three phases, ultimately featuring Islamic finance centers, universities, research facilities, and a comprehensive residential area dubbed “aero city,” complete with a port, cruise terminal, and airport.

The total land reclamation for the Ihavandhippolhu project is slated to cover 2,500 hectares, supporting industrial, financial, and tourism activities. This development is part of the government’s strategy to diversify the Maldivian economy by leveraging IFZA’s global connections and expertise in infrastructure development.

The completion of these projects is expected to significantly enhance the Maldives’ global economic presence and facilitate connectivity between Velana International Airport and Malé, enhancing both transport logistics and economic efficiency. 

The government anticipates formalising these plans within five months, setting a detailed course for the project’s components and operational aspects.