At the heart of the Maldives’ development vision is the ambition to provide youth with job security. Given the amount of investment being plunged into the development of big-ticket infrastructure projects, it looks as though the construction sector may be the best place to groom a future of specialized and experienced workers. Mohamed Ali Janah, Chairman of Hotels and Resort Construction (HRC) and President of the Maldives Association of the Construction Industry, tells us how the industry is aligned with President Yameen’s vision.
What is the mission of the Maldives Association of Construction Industry?
The MACI was formed to keep the control of the construction industry within the ands of local management and companies. When the association was established in 2001, we did not want foreign companies coming in to capture a majority market share. The main principle was to ensure construction standards. As a result, Maldivian companies conduct 95% of the country’s construction.
How is the association aligned with ambitions to empower youth?
The construction industry is completely open to the developmental vision of this government, and we will do everything to encourage the youth to come and work with us. President Yameen has declared that he aims to create 94,000 jobs in his five-year term, and certainly the construction sector will have a large role to play in this endeavour.
Is MACI aligned with the Maldives’ megaprojects?
Entirely. President Yameen has promised to deliver 50 resorts during his five-year term and I have promised him that HRC would handle 10% of that. I believe our alignment is crucial for the government because the speed of the development of these flagship projects will be much faster with support from an association like us because we represent the majority of this industry in this country.
As the head of HRC, was is your footprint in tourism?
HRC is the largest builder of resorts and hotels in this country. I have built 47 projects related to resorts, both small and large, which include the likes of Shangri-la, a project in which were the main contractor. HRC also built the Gili Lankafushi resort, the Como Maalifushi, the Como Cocoa Island resort, and even a resort in Doha through a joint venture, which is today one of the most beautiful properties in the Gulf region. Currently, we are building a 107-room resort in the Gaafaru Atoll near Kudu Island.
What other prospects do you have in the Gulf?
I think I am the first Maldivian that has worked extensively in the Gulf construction sector, and I believe it is high time that other Maldivian companies follow me and engage in Maldivian-Gulf partnerships. Additionally, I have also brought investments from the Gulf to the Maldives, such as a $150-million investment from a Doha-based company. In a nutshell, we are open to new opportunities and to exploring the Gulf region.