Maldives signs deal with India's Afcons for India-funded mega infrastructure project

The Maldives has on Thursday signed a deal with an Indian company for the Greater Male Connectivity Project, the archipelago’s biggest infra project so far costing around $500 million, giving a major boost to connectivity around capital Male

Aug 26, 2021
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The Greater Male Connectivity Project

The Maldives has on Thursday signed a deal with an Indian company for the Greater Male Connectivity Project, the archipelago’s biggest infra project so far costing around $500 million, giving a major boost to connectivity around capital Male. The project, scheduled to be completed by 2023, has been funded under an Indian grant of $100 million and a line of credit of $400 million.  

In a ceremony held this morning, which was also attended by the Indian envoy Sanjay Sudhir, the Maldives government signed a contract with the Indian-based engineering firm Afcons. Maldives’ Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer along with other senior ministers were also present at the event. 

The proposed 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link under the project will connect Maldives' capital Male with adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. Last year in October, the Maldives had signed a line of credit agreement with the Exim Bank of India for $400 million with a 1.7 percent interest rate for the development of the bridge. The deal has a five-year gross period and the amount is supposed to be returned within a 20-year period.

The project first came under consideration in September 2019 when Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the Maldives and met President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih. New Delhi has been financing several infrastructure projects, including the development of airports in the archipelago. 

Calling it the defining moment in the country’s developmental history, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid said in a tweet that the project will stand as an “enduring tribute” to the India-Maldives developmental partnership. 

Jaishankar said New Delhi is proud to be a key development partner of Maldives. 

Sanjay Sudhir, the Indian high commissioner in the Maldives, has said the project will redefine the economic landscape of the archipelago. For India, he said, enhancing connectivity within the Maldives as well as between the Maldives and India has been a priority area.