USAID and Marriott Maldives Business Council forge partnership for sustainable development
In a significant step towards fostering sustainable development and enhancing collaboration between the private sector and local communities in the Maldives, Administrator Samantha Power of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Marriott Maldives Business Council, an affiliate of Marriott International, Inc.
The agreement, part of the Sister Islands partnership under USAID’s Democracy Delivers initiative, aims to strengthen democracies globally by delivering tangible benefits to citizens. The collaboration will focus on exploring avenues to improve cooperation between USAID and the seven Marriott International resorts in the Maldives. The ultimate goal is to expand economic opportunities for residents of local islands.
Under the agreement, the Marriott Maldives Business Council and USAID will work in tandem to facilitate engagements between resort islands and local island councils, women’s development committees, and private sector actors on the islands. The objective is to bring about economic, social, and environmental benefits to the local populations, with special attention to maximizing opportunities for women and youth.
Examples of potential initiatives include promoting tourism excursions on nearby inhabited islands, increasing the employment of local island residents in resorts, undertaking joint waste recycling efforts, promoting locally sourced agricultural products, and more.
“We are honored to embark on this inspiring partnership with USAID. Together we are paving the way for thriving communities and building a future where everyone’s potential is unleashed,” said Renato De Oliveira, Chairman of Marriott Maldives Business Council and General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. “We will continue to build deeper connections in local communities which are aimed to sustainable and mutually beneficial cooperation,” he added.
“USAID is grateful to Marriott Maldives Business Council for sharing our vision of a mutually beneficial partnership between local islands and resorts,” said Gabriel Grau, USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Our “Sister Islands” initiative under USAID’s Democracy Delivers banner promises to boost local islands socially, environmentally, and economically, while bringing business benefits to resorts through improved tourism offerings, locally sourced products and local employees.”
USAID’s role in the partnership is crucial in aligning the commercial interests of the resorts with sustainable development goals. The agency will assist local islands in forging partnerships with the private sector, ensuring that both parties benefit from the collaboration. This approach not only expands USAID’s development reach but also contributes to the private sector’s efforts in establishing long-term, sustainable, and mutually beneficial relationships.
The MoU marks a positive step towards inclusive and sustainable development in the Maldives, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between governmental agencies and private enterprises for the benefit of local communities. The joint efforts of USAID and the Marriott Maldives Business Council are expected to serve as a model for similar partnerships, showcasing the potential for creating positive impacts on both economic and social fronts.