The United Nations General Assembly Hall is not accessible to just anyone. Usually, the central podium of this renowned hall is reserved for top leaders of the world, ministers, and celebrities. A Maldivian businessman speaking at the podium is unheard of.
However, Maldivian businessperson Mohamed Ali Janah had the opportunity to address at the podium at the invitation of UNWTO's Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and 76th UNGA President Abdulla Shahid. In the meeting where tourism ministers of most countries were in attendance, Janah represented IFAWPCA, or the International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors' Associations, in the capacity of the Chief Discussion of the event.
In the meeting moderated by CNN's famous presenter and journalist Richard Quest, Janah spoke on the economies of Asia and Asia Pacific countries and the efforts to restore the tourism sector to its pre-pandemic condition. Janah, who is completing his second term as IFAWPCA's President, said the world had seen significant economic downturns throughout history but that the deterioration witnessed during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic was unlike any other slump. He noted that the pandemic saw many people losing their employment and severe economic hardship.
In his speech, Janah acknowledged and praised the efforts of the Maldives government in creating economic recovery and growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted that the government had provided income support allowance and other ease to the public in times of distress.
'I am proud of the steps the Maldives took in the face of the [COVID-19] pandemic. It provided relief packages and tax relief after re-opening the border. The outcome was only possible due to the joint efforts of the industry and the government,' he said.
MNACI President Janah also spoke about his experience in the construction and tourism sector.