The Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Mohamed Saeed, has left for the United Kingdom to attend the high-level, closed-door Commonwealth Trade and Investment Roundtable to bolster the nation’s economic and social development.

The roundtable, a platform to discuss the future trade potential of the 56-member bloc, presents a unique opportunity for the Maldives. Through the the talks, the country aims to seek assistance from participants in the UK financial sector to establish a vibrant financial market in the Maldives, according to the ministry.

The discussions will primarily focus on the development of the Maldives International Financial Services Authority and Development Bank, according to the ministry. The visit is expected to pave the way for establishing formal working relationships with UK financial services firms. These collaborations aim to modernise the legal and financial sector infrastructure and develop a modern and world-class governance, strategy, and operations framework for establishing International Financial Centres in the Maldives.

The Maldives’ relationship with the Commonwealth has seen considerable improvement after it rejoined the organisation in February 2020 under the then President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. This came more than three years after his predecessor, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, withdrew from the bloc, citing alleged interference in the nation’s domestic affairs. Notably, this occurred during Minister Mohamed Saeed’s tenure as the Economic Minister in the Yameen administration.

Observers view Minister Saeed’s current visit to the UK to attend the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Roundtable as an indication of the current Mohamed Muizzu administration’s intension to maintain the Maldives’ relations with the Commonwealth.

During his visit, Minister Saeed is scheduled to meet with UK government officials, members of the House of Lords, and representatives from the UK financial and professional services industry.