Top 5 Richest Individuals Shaping Maldives’ Economic Horizon

Fueled by a thriving tourism sector and diversification into various industries, the nation’s top 5 billionaires – Qasim Ibrahim, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Ilyas Ibrahim, Afeef Hussain, and Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, stand as beacons of this economic success.

The Maldives, known for its stunning landscapes, has transformed into an economic powerhouse. Fueled by a thriving tourism sector and diversification into various industries, the nation’s top 5 billionaires – Qasim Ibrahim, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Ilyas Ibrahim, Afeef Hussain, and Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, stand as beacons of this economic success. From pioneering ventures in hospitality to influential roles in business and politics, these individuals have played a pivotal role in shaping the Maldives’ journey from a tropical haven to a flourishing economic hub.

List of the Wealthiest People in Maldives

Qasim Ibrahim, commonly referred to as Buruma Qasim, is a prominent figure in the Maldives, serving as a politician, successful entrepreneur, and generous philanthropist. Renowned as one of the wealthiest individuals in the nation, he holds the position of chairman and is the founder of the Villa Group. In the presidential elections of 2013, Ibrahim ran for the Jumhooree Party but was defeated in the first round. In 1976, he founded a lucrative trading enterprise specializing in commodities such as rice, tobacco, diesel, and kerosene.

The company experienced rapid expansion. He later expanded his business with a US$2,000 loan from the State Bank of India (SBI), which remains his primary banker.
To streamline the importation of oil, Ibrahim acquired his initial shipping vessel—an old fishing boat retrofitted for cargo and oil transport. On April 14, 1986, Ibrahim officially registered his enterprise as Villa Shipping and Trading Company Limited. Subsequently, the company has broadened its scope, establishing a substantial presence in various sectors within the Maldives, including tourism, transportation, construction, manufacturing, gas, cement trade, media/communication, and general trading. As the exclusive distributor of international products in the Maldives, Villa represents well-known brands such as Shell and Agfa.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a prominent global figure, was born in the Maldives on December 29, 1937. He served as the third President of the Maldives for an extended period, from 1978 to 2008, representing the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. Following his presidency, he shifted his political affiliation to the Progressive Party of the Maldives.
Gayoom is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $9.1 billion.

Ilyas Ibrahim, the brother-in-law of former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, has a significant political history. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the capital city, Malé, from 1980 to 1995 and held ministerial positions in Maumoon’s cabinet for an extended period. Additionally, from 2003 to 2008, he represented Laamu Atoll as an MP and was a member of the People’s Special Majilis.
Ilyas Ibrahim has held various key roles, including Minister of State for Defence, Minister of Home Affairs, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Maldives’ State Trading Organization (STO) and Airports Company. Following the bankruptcy-induced dissolution of the Maldives Airports Company, Maldivian was commissioned. His estimated net worth is around $4.1 billion.

Afeef Hussain, with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, possesses expertise in HR strategy, customer experience, quality management, talent development, performance management, and learning and development. He has lived and worked in diverse locations, including Malaysia, Singapore, and the Middle East. Currently holding a prominent position at LUX* Resorts and Hotels, he specializes in quality and change management, service strategy, employee engagement, employee marketing, and branding.
Hussain has been a featured speaker at HR Summits and various engagements across multiple countries, including Indonesia, Dubai, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the USA, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Singapore. Certified as a Speaker/Trainer and Coach by the John Maxwell Team, he presently serves as the Executive Director for the Maldives.
Recognized for his contributions, Afeef Hussain received the Global Training and Development Leadership Award at the 3rd (2016) and 4th (2017) Global Training Conference in Mumbai. The World HRD Congress 2016 honored him as one of the “100 most influential Global HR Professionals.”

Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, a Maldivian politician, held the position of President of the Maldives from 2013 to 2018. His presidency concluded on November 17, 2018, following his defeat in the 2018 presidential election where he sought a second consecutive 5-year term.
Yameen, representing the Progressive Party (PPM), won the presidency in the 2013 election by defeating Mohamed Nasheed from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in the second round of a re-run, necessitated by the annulment of the initial election. Serving as the Republic of Maldives’ second democratically elected president, Yameen concluded his term following his defeat in the 2018 election. His estimated net worth is cited at $2.7 billion.