Quote from Maldivian Ex-President, His Excellency, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's speech, at the Grand Opening of Sun Island:
"Mr. Qasim Ibrahim is indeed a self-made man, displaying the virtues of hard work, versatility and vision. He has been involved in trading and shipping for over two decades. Today he is a major Maldivian ship owner and operator. In recent years he has also become a key player in the tourism industry. He now owns or operates a number of resort hotels in the Maldives with a combined bed capacity of over 1,700. I am pleased to note that Mr. Qasim Ibrahim is the first Maldivian to secure a loan from the International Finance Co-operation (IFC), which has an impressive track record in identifying and backing commercially viable enterprises. He is also the winner of three national awards for his outstanding contributions to trade and tourism development. His achievements show that opportunity awaits those with vision, energy and drive. Starting from almost scratch, he has set a fine example for others to emulate."After completing his education Mr.Qasim Ibrahim began his career as a clerk at the Government Hospital in Male'. Upon completion of a professional course in Accountancy, he was promoted to the post of Accountant in 1972. In 1973, after he left his job in the Government Hospital , he took up an appointment as Manager at M/S Alia Furniture Mart and subsequently worked for Crescent- a trading organisation, for a short period. In 1974, he joined an outlet of the Maldivian Government Bodu Store (MGBS) presently known as the State Trading Organisation (STO). His business skill as a retail shop manager emerged at this stage and was reflected in the sharp improvement in the performance of this outlet, which was ranked, as STO's most efficient. This was the first evidence of his inherent entrepreneurial skills.
The experience gained during this period provided the motivation for setting up his own trading business in 1976, with an initial borrowed capital of US$ 2,000, which was then equivalent to 15,000 Maldivian Rufiyaa. He traded in commodities such as rice, tobacco, diesel and kerosene, which proved to be profitable, and the business experienced rapid growth. During the initial stages, the business was a complete one-man-show and it was Mr. Qasim's perseverance, wisdom, and vision that helped it to grow to its current stature.
As a result of his financial prudence, after only four years in business, Mr. Qasim was able to accumulate adequate funds to purchase his first shipping vessel, an old fishing vessel converted to carry cargo and oil, to facilitate oil imports. By April 14, 1986, Mr. Qasim Ibrahim's business had expanded to such an extent that a decision was taken to register his business under the name of Villa Shipping and Trading Company Limited (Villa). Thus came in to existence a company, which later went on to be one of the largest in the Republic of Maldives . Since then, the Company has diversified its business to include tourism and inter island marine transport under its umbrella. In addition, the Company trades in an increasing number of products in the Maldives . "Shell" and "Agfa" are two such renowned brand names represented by Villa in the Maldives , as a Sole Agent.
On the Registration the shareholders were Mr. Qasim Ibrahim and Mrs. Rabia Hussein holding 95% and 5% respectively of the share capital. For strategic reasons, Villa Shipping ( Singapore ) Pte Limited was incorporated in Singapore on December 19,1991 with Villa holding a major interest. The paid up capital by Villa shipping ( Singapore ) now stands at US$ 500,000.
In October 1996, representative office, with the primary objective of promoting Villa resorts, opened in Frankfurt , Germany . Constraints on the activities permitted through the representative office led to the creation of a company with wider objectives. Villa Holidays Touristik GmbH was incorporated by Mr. Qasim Ibrahim on 23rd July 1997 with a paid-up capital of DM 500, 000. The purpose of establishing this private limited company registered with German authorities is to act as a wholesaler for Holiday packages to the Maldives, an agent for sales of hotel rooms in the Maldives, sale of air tickets, and a vehicle for acquiring and trading of tourism related properties and real estate such as hotels and resorts world wide.
In the year 2001 and 2002 Villa Hotels, Tokyo and Villa Hotels, Hong Kong were established respectively. The objective is to further strengthen the flow of tourists to Villa Hotels from the Asia Pacific markets.
In terms of keeping abreast in the Maldives , Villa is in the process of filling its senior cadre with Professionals in their respective fields. Over a period of time, Mr. Qasim Ibrahim has emerged as a well-recognised and respected personality in the Maldives , culminating in his election as a Member of Parliament in 1989. He was subsequently elected in 2004 to the People's Special Majlis which has been assembled by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to amend the present Constitution of the Maldives to pave way for Maldives to become a full-fledged liberal democracy. In addition, he has held and still holds various other posts in a number of Government committees and regional bodies. The following are some of the key positions held by him, bearing ample testimony to his business acumen and leadership.
Key positions held by Qasim Ibrahim
- PRESIDENT SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- PRESIDENT Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI)
- FOUNDER MEMBER Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI)
- FOUNDER MEMBER Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI)
- VICE PRESIDENT & BOARD MEMBER Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI)
- BOARD MEMBER Maldives Ports Authority (Government Appointment)
- FORMER BOARD MEMBER Bank of Maldives