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Introduction - Maldives:
BackgroundThe Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM - currently in his sixth term in office - has dominated the islands political scene. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress has been slow, however, and many promised reforms have been delayed indefinitely. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
Location - Maldives:
LocationSouthern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Geographic coordinates3 15 N, 73 00 E
Map referencesAsia
Areatotal: 300 sq km
land: 300 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparativeabout 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline644 km
Maritime claimsmeasured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
Terrainflat, with white sandy beaches
Elevation extremeslowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m
Natural resourcesfish
Land usearable land: 13.33%
permanent crops: 30%
other: 56.67% (2005)
Irrigated landNA
Natural hazardslow level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise
Environment current issuesdepletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography note1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); archipelago with strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
People - Maldives:
Population369,031 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 42.9% (male 81,383/female 76,984)
15-64 years: 54% (male 101,699/female 97,518)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 5,619/female 5,828) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.1 years
male: 18 years
female: 18.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.732% (2007 est.)
Birth rate34.2 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate6.88 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.043 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.964 male(s)/female
total population: 1.046 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 53.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.76 years
male: 63.41 years
female: 66.19 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate4.78 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.1% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsless than 100 (2001 est.)
Hiv aids deathsNA
Nationalitynoun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian
Ethnic groupsSouth Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
ReligionsSunni Muslim
LanguagesMaldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96.2%
female: 96.4% (2000 census)
Government - Maldives:
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Maldives
conventional short form: Maldives
local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Male
geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E
time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and the capital city*; Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Maale* (Male), Meemu, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu
Independence26 July 1965 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 26 July (1965)
Constitutionadopted 1 January 1998
Legal systembased on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president nominated by the Majlis; nomination must be ratified by a national referendum (at least a 51% approval margin is required); president elected for a five-year term; election last held 17 October 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected in referendum held 17 October 2003; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.3%
Legislative branchunicameral Peoples Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 22 January 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 50
Judicial branchHigh Court
Political parties and leadersAdhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Abdul Majeed Abdul BARI]; Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian Peoples Party) or DRP [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]; Islamic Democratic Party or IDP [Omar NASEER]; Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mohamed NASHEED]; note - political parties were allowed to register in June 2005
Political pressure groups and leadersvarious unregistered political parties
International organization participationAsDB, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed LATHEEF
chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6195
FAX: [1] (212) 661-6405
Diplomatic representation from the usthe US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits there
Flag descriptionred with a large green rectangle in the center bearing a vertical white crescent; the closed side of the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag
Economy - Maldives:
Economy overviewTourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Fishing is the second leading sector. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a lesser role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labor. Most staple foods must be imported. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 7% of GDP. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Real GDP growth averaged over 7.5% per year for more than a decade. In late December 2004, a major tsunami left more than 100 dead, 12,000 displaced, and property damage exceeding $300 million. As a result of the tsunami, the GDP contracted by about 3.6% in 2005. A rebound in tourism, post-tsunami reconstruction, and development of new resorts helped boost GDP by about 18 percent in 2006. The trade deficit has expanded sharply as a result of high oil prices and imports of construction material. Diversifying beyond tourism and fishing is the major challenge facing the government. Over the longer term Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.
Gdp purchasing power parity $2.839 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $906 million (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate18% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $3,900 (2002 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 16%
industry: 7%
services: 77% (2006 est.)
Labor force101,300 (2004)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 22%
industry: 18%
services: 60% (1995)
Unemployment rateNEGL% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line21% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 6% (2005 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $508 million (including foreign grants)
expenditures: $671 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture productscoconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
Industriestourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
Industrial production growth rate-0.9% (2004 est.)
Electricity production149.9 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption139.4 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption7,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports$214 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiesfish
Exports partnersThailand 32.1%, UK 13.9%, Sri Lanka 11.6%, Japan 10%, France 6.7%, Algeria 6% (2006)
Imports$832 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiespetroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
Imports partnersSingapore 23.3%, UAE 15.8%, India 11.1%, Malaysia 7.9%, Thailand 7%, Sri Lanka 5.7% (2006)
Debt external$482 million (2006 est.)
Economic aid recipient$27.9 million (2004)
Currency code rufiyaa (MVR)
Exchange ratesrufiyaa per US dollar - 12.8 (2006), 12.8 (2005), 12.8 (2004), 12.8 (2003), 12.8 (2002)
Communications - Maldives:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use32,500 (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular262,600 (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: telephone services have improved; each island now has at least 1 public telephone, and there are mobile cellular networks with expanding subscribership
domestic: interatoll communication through microwave links; all inhabited islands and resorts are connected with telephone and fax service
international: country code - 960; satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations1 (2006)
Internet country
Internet hosts1,357 (2006)
Internet users20,100 (2005)
Transportation - Maldives:
Airports5 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 88 km
paved roads: 88 km - 60 km in Male; 14 km on Addu Atolis; 14 km on Laamu
note: village roads are mainly compacted coral (2006)
Merchant marinetotal: 17 ships (1000 GRT or over) 67,149 GRT/87,220 DWT
by type: cargo 13, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 2
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsMale
Military - Maldives:
Military branchesMaldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Quick Reaction Force, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2007)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 71,774
females age 18-49: 69,229 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 56,687
females age 18-49: 54,454 (2005 est.)
Military noteMaldives has no regular armed forces; the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) includes ground forces, the Coast Guard, and a small, undermanned air element; with its small size and with little servable equipment, the MNDF is inadequate to prevent external aggression and is primarily tasked to reinforce the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and ensure security in the exclusive economic zone (2007)
Military expenditures percent of gdp5.5% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalnone
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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