Maldives, Japan sign agreement for 24 scholarships

Maldivian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid (R) and Japanese Ambassador Keiko Yanai (L) at a ceremony to sign an exchange of notes for 24 scholarships on August 5, 2020. (Photo/Foreign Affairs Ministry)

Maldives and Japan have signed an agreement for a project for human resource development scholarships, which will grant 24 Maldivian students scholarships to pursue higher education in Japan.

The exchange of notes for the project was signed by Maldivian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid and Japanese Ambassador Keiko Yanai in a ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday.

Under the project, the Japanese government will provide scholarships for six Maldivian students per year for the period of four years.

The 24 scholarships are valued at MVR 19 million.

Speaking at the ceremony, Foreign Affairs Minister Shahid expressed appreciation to the government and people of Japan, and said that the scholarships will provide immense contribution towards the human resource development of Maldives.

Japan has been one of Maldives’ most important bilateral partners for several decades. It has invested in infrastructure development and climate adaption projects –  the most iconic of which is the sea wall around the Maldivian capital, Male’ City.

It has also consistently invested in Maldives’ social and education sectors.

The scholarship agreement comes after Japan approved a MVR 86.4 million (USD 5.6 million) grant to procure medical equipment to strengthen the capacity of the health sector to manage the coronavirus pandemic  in June, a MVR 21.7 million (USD 1.4 million) grant to UNDP Maldives to support small and medium enterprises in the agriculture sector affected by the coronavirus pandemic in May, and a MVR 5.6 million (USD 356,400) grant to UNICEF Maldives and a MVR 2.8 million (USD 185,000) grant to Maldives Red Crescent to support Maldives’ governments response to the coronavirus pandemic, also in May.

A group of well-wishers from Japan also donated 9,000 surgical masks to Maldives in February as a gesture of good will in February, well before Maldives identified its first coronavirus case.