Mr. Abdulla Jihad, Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority, Mr. Gerard Hardy, President of the Board of Directors of the Mauritius Commercial Bank, Honourable Ministers , Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am very happy to be here this afternoon to inaugurate the Male’ Branch of the Mauritius Commercial Bank.
I thank the Mauritius Commercial Bank and the MMA for inviting me to this important event. May I also thank Mr. Gerard Hardy, the President of the Board of Directors of the Mauritius Commercial Bank, and Mr. Pierre Guy Noel, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mauritius Commercial Bank for presenting me with the beautiful commemorative plaque a short while ago.
As the largest and the oldest banking institution in Mauritius, and indeed as the oldest banking institution in south of the Sahara, the Mauritius Commercial Bank is no doubt a welcome addition to the growing number of foreign banks operating in the Maldives.
The Maldives and Mauritius both belong to the same region and enjoy excellent bilateral relations. I am sure that with the opening of this branch in Male’, the relations between our two countries will be further strengthened.
I understand that, with the opening today of its Male’ Branch, MCB’s operations will span 7 countries, and include 78 branches. The strength of the Bank can also be seen by its subsidiaries and shareholders, including Llyods Bank.
Being the only Mauritian Bank to feature in the Bankers’ List of “The Top 1000 World Banks”, the Mauritius Commercial Bank brings to the Maldives its long tradition of steady growth, proven success and operational strength.
With its commitment to expansion, the Maldives, as a neighbour in the Indian Ocean, is, no doubt, a natural choice for the MCB. Similarly, with its record of successful operations in countries with remarkable similarities to the Maldives, we too view our relationship with the MCB as one with vast potential for growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
A recent Investment Climate Assessment survey carried out by the World Bank has revealed that the major constraint facing investment in the Maldives is the limited access to and high cost of financing. The Government is confident that the arrival of this fifth foreign commercial bank will contribute to the easing of that constraint and that the country’s economy will attain further strength and vitality.
Also, we hope that there will be an expansion of development banking activities, particularly through greater availability of capital and financing for various development projects in all parts of the country.
Our Vision 2020 is for the Maldives to become one of the top-ranking middle-income countries in the next 12 years. The UN decision to graduate the Maldives from its LDCs list by 2011 is a sure step in that direction. Also, looking to the future, the Government is now focusing on implementing mega development projects that would provide substantial employment opportunities and a major boost to current standards of living.
With the reforms currently being implemented to make the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) a fully independent central bank and other development planning objectives including the revising of existing licensing criteria and guidelines and regulations for banks, the Mauritius Commercial Bank has the assurance of the Government’s firm commitment to the development of the financial and banking sectors in the Maldives.
I am confident that our entrepreneurs, businessmen and the general public will warmly welcome the arrival of MCB to our shores. I wish the MBC every success in its endeavours in the Maldives.