President Mohamed Muizzu on Monday inaugurated the ambitious Ras Male’ land reclamation project, marking the commencement of the Maldives’ most extensive land reclamation endeavour to date. The project launch took place at Fushidhiggaru lagoon, located from a 17-minute speedboat ride from the capital city of Male’.

Ras Malé is poised to be a game-changer, reclaiming a staggering 1,150 hectares of land—a landmass nearly three times the combined area of the two phases of Hulhumalé, becoming the nation’s largest-ever land reclamation initiative, according to the government. The president pledged to complete the project within eight months of its commencement.

To address climate change concerns, the city will be elevated two meters at its edges and three meters at its centre. President Muizzu highlighted several key features of the project, including the establishment of an airstrip in the reclaimed lagoon, connected to Ras Malé by a bridge. 

The city aims to position itself as the “Maldives Eco City,” setting ambitious sustainability goals. President Muizzu affirmed that Ras Male’ will run entirely on renewable energy, adhering to international climate adaptation standards. This commitment extends to transportation within the city, with vehicles operating on renewable energy sources, such as electricity or batteries. The city’s infrastructure and facilities will also prioritize renewable energy, aligning with the vision of a zero-carbon, green, and sustainable urban environment.

“This will be a doorstep, a job destination, and an income-generating destination. It will be an inclusive development,” President Muizzu stated, underlining the transformative potential of Ras Malé.

Sri Lanka’s Capital Marine and Civil Construction (CMC) has been awarded the contract for land reclamation from Fushidhiggaru lagoon—a critical component of the government’s flagship housing and urban development project. Despite challenges posed by opposition-led parliamentary budget decisions, the government remains resolute in its commitment to allocate MVR 1.4 billion over the next three years to realise this ambitious vision, with an initial allocation of MVR 400 million for 2024.

The initiation of lagoon dredging aligns with the government’s first 100-day pledges, setting the stage for a landmark project that promises to address housing needs, foster sustainability, and serve as a model for eco-friendly urban development on an international scale.