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UAE reaches out to Indian Ocean islands

Since the mid-2000s, the islands of the Indian Ocean have caught Abu Dhabi’s attention, both as investment opportunities for diversifying private wealth portfolios and as tourist destinations for the ruling elite. Islands such as the Maldives, Seychelles and Madagascar also provide an arena for extra-territorial displays of power and benevolence, while securing the regional seas is of vital importance, given the volume of UAE trade passing through. There are two sides to the UAE’s financial involvement in the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles. The greater of the two – and the harder to document – is private investment. However, equally important in terms of soft power is the development aid that has found its way from Abu Dhabi in the past few years.

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