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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Maldives
Flag of Maldives
Map of Maldives
Introduction Maldives
The Maldives were long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. They became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
Geography Maldives
Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Geographic coordinates:
3 15 N, 73 00 E
Map references:
total: 300 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 300 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
644 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
contiguous zone: 24 NM
tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
flat, with white sandy beaches
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 3.33%
permanent crops: 6.67%
other: 90% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise
Environment - current issues:
depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
1,190 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
320,165 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45.3% (male 74,493; female 70,394)
15-64 years: 51.7% (male 84,548; female 81,092)
65 years and over: 3% (male 4,944; female 4,694) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.95% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
37.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.86 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
61.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.93 years
female: 64.2 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.72 years
Total fertility rate:
5.38 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.05% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian
Ethnic groups:
South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Sunni Muslim
Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.2%
male: 93.3%
female: 93% (1995 est.)
Government Maldives
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
conventional short form: Maldives
local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and 1 other first-order administrative division*; Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Maale*, Meemu, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu
26 July 1965 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
adopted January 1998
Legal system:
based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections: president nominated by the Majlis and then that 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 16 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.9%
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president; note - need not be members of Majlis
head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch:
unicameral People's Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42 elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 November 1999 (next to be held NA November 2004)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 42
Judicial branch:
High Court
Political parties and leaders:
although political parties are not banned, none exist
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Maldives does not have an embassy in the US, but does have a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York; permanent representative is Dr. Mohamed LATHEEF
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits there
Flag description:
red 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 - overview:
Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 20% 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. Almost 400,000 tourists visited the islands in 1998. Fishing is a second leading sector. 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. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a minor 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 18% of GDP. 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.
purchasing power parity - $1.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,870 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20%
industry: 18%
services: 62% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
67,000 (1995) (1995)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 22%, industry 18%, services 60% (1995) (1995)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $166 million (excluding foreign grants)
expenditures: $192 million, including capital expenditures of $80 million
fish processing, tourism, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
Industrial production growth rate:
4.4% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
110 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
102.3 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
$88 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
fish, clothing
Exports - partners:
US, UK, Sri Lanka, Japan
$372 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Canada
Debt - external:
$237 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
rufiyaa (MVR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
rufiyaa per US dollar - 11.770 (fixed rate since 1995)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Maldives
Telephones - main lines in use:
21,000 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,290 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: minimal domestic and international facilities
domestic: interatoll communication through microwave links; all inhabited islands are connected with telephone and fax service
international: satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
35,000 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
10,000 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
6,000 (2001)
Transportation Maldives
0 km
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km; note - Male has 9.6 km of coral highways within the city (1988 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Gan, Male
Merchant marine:
total: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 51,532 GRT/71,298 DWT
ships by type: cargo 13, short-sea passenger 1 (2002 est.)
5 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2002)
Military Maldives
Military branches:
National Security Service
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 74,893 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 41,672 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$34.5 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
8.6% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Maldives
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003