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South Asia :: MALDIVES
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MALDIVES
  • Introduction :: MALDIVES

  • A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated the islands' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following political demonstrations in the capital Male in August 2003, GAYOOM and his government pledged to embark upon a process of liberalization and democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Political parties were legalized in 2005.
    In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution ratified by GAYOOM in August 2008. The first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system were held in October 2008. GAYOOM was defeated in a runoff poll by Mohamed NASHEED, a political activist who had been jailed several years earlier by the GAYOOM regime. NASHEED faced a number of challenges including strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests in response to his ordering the arrest of a top judge, NASHEED resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. In mid-2012, a Commission of National Inquiry was established by the government to probe events leading up to NASHEED's resignation. Though the commission found no evidence of a coup, the report recommended strengthening the country's democratic institutions to avert similar events in the future, and to investigate alleged police misconduct during the crisis. NASHEED, WAHEED, and Abdulla YAMEEN ran in the 2013 elections with YAMEEN ultimately winning the presidency after three rounds of voting. Maldivian officials have played a prominent role in international climate change discussions (due to the islands' vulnerability to rising sea-level).
  • Geography :: MALDIVES

  • Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
    3 15 N, 73 00 E
    Asia
    total: 298 sq km
    land: 298 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 210
    about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    644 km
    measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
    flat, with white sandy beaches
    mean elevation: 1.8 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: 8th tee, golf course, Villingi Island 5 m
    fish
    agricultural land: 23.3%
    arable land 10%; permanent crops 10%; permanent pasture 3.3%
    forest: 3%
    other: 73.7% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2012)
    about a third of the population lives in the centrally located capital city of Male and almost a tenth in southern Addu City; the remainder of the populace is spread over the 200 or so populated islands of the archipelago
    tsunamis; low elevation of islands makes them sensitive to sea level rise
    depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; coral reef bleaching
    party 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
    smallest Asian country; archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
  • People and Society :: MALDIVES

  • 392,709 (July 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    noun: Maldivian(s)
    adjective: Maldivian
    South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
    Dhivehi (official, dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English (spoken by most government officials)
    Sunni Muslim (official)
    0-14 years: 21.4% (male 42,871/female 41,162)
    15-24 years: 20.21% (male 45,547/female 33,804)
    25-54 years: 48.1% (male 106,701/female 82,187)
    55-64 years: 5.85% (male 11,312/female 11,667)
    65 years and over: 4.45% (male 8,042/female 9,416) (2017 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 38
    youth dependency ratio: 32.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
    potential support ratio: 17.7 (2015 est.)
    total: 27.8 years
    male: 27.8 years
    female: 27.8 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    -0.1% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    16.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    -12.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    about a third of the population lives in the centrally located capital city of Male and almost a tenth in southern Addu City; the remainder of the populace is spread over the 200 or so populated islands of the archipelago
    urban population: 47.5% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 3.52% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    MALE (capital) 156,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.37 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.34 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    23.9 years
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
    68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    total: 22.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 25.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 20.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    total population: 75.6 years
    male: 73.3 years
    female: 78 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    1.73 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    34.7% (2009)
    13.7% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    1.58 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    4.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    improved:
    urban: 99.5% of population
    rural: 97.9% of population
    total: 98.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0.5% of population
    rural: 2.1% of population
    total: 1.4% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 97.5% of population
    rural: 98.3% of population
    total: 97.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 2.5% of population
    rural: 1.7% of population
    total: 2.1% of population (2015 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    7% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    17.8% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    5.7% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 99.3%
    male: 99.8%
    female: 98.8% (2015 est.)
    total: 25.4%
    male: 29.1%
    female: 21.4% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
  • Government :: MALDIVES

  • conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
    conventional short form: Maldives
    local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
    local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
    etymology: archipelago apparently named after the main island (and capital) of Male; the word "Maldives" means "the islands (dives) of Male"; alternatively, the name may derive from the Sanskrit word "maladvipa" meaning "garland of islands"; Dhivehi Raajje in Maldivian means "Kingdom of the Dhivehi people"
    presidential republic
    name: Male
    geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E
    time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    21 administrative atolls (atholhuthah, singular - atholhu); Addu, Ariatholhu Dhekunuburi, Ariatholhu Uthuruburi, Faadhippolhu, Felidhuatholhu, Fuvammulah, Hahdhunmathi, Huvadhuatholhu Dhekunuburi, Huvadhuatholhu Uthuruburi, Kolhumadulu, Maale, Maaleatholhu, Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi, Miladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi, Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi, Mulakatholhu, Nilandheatholhu Dhekunuburi, Nilandheatholhu Uthuruburi, Thiladhunmathee Dhekunuburi, Thiladhunmathee Uthuruburi
    26 July 1965 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
    history: many previous; latest ratified 7 August 2008
    amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote by its membership and the signature of the president of the republic; passage of amendments to constitutional articles on rights and freedoms and the terms of office of Parliament and of the president also requires a majority vote in a referendum; amended 2015 (2017)
    Islamic religious legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Maldives
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: unknown
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Abdulla JIHAD (since 21 June 2016); the president is both chief of state and head of government; note - Vice President Mohamed JAMEEL was removed from office 22 July 2015 and Vice President Ahmed ADHEEB Abdul Ghafoor was removed from office 5 November 2015
    head of government: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Abdulla JIHAD (since 21 June 2016); note - Vice President Mohamed JAMEEL was removed from office 22 July 2015 and Vice President Ahmed ADHEEB Abdul Ghafoor was removed from office 5 November 2015
    cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by Parliament
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); the election held on 7 September 2013 was annulled by the Supreme Court; rerun of first round held on 9 November 2013 and a runoff held on 16 November 2013 (next election to be held in 2018)
    election results: percent of vote in first round - Mohamed NASHEED (MDP) 46.9%, Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (PPM) 29.7%, Qasim IBRAHIM (JP) 23.3%; Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom elected president in second round - Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom 51.4%, Mohamed NASHEED 48.6%
    description: unicameral Parliament or People's Majlis (85 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 22 March 2014 (next to be held in 2019)
    election results: percent of vote - MDP 40.8%, PPM 27.7%, JP 13.6%, MDA 4.0%, AP 2.7% other 0.3%, independent 10.9%; seats by party - PPM 33, MDP 26, JP 15, MDA 5, AP 1, independent 5
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission - a separate 10-member body of selected high government officials and the public - and upon confirmation by voting members of the People's Majlis; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
    subordinate courts: High Court; Criminal, Civil, Family, Juvenile, and Drug Courts; Magistrate Courts (on each of the inhabited islands)
    Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA]
    Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed Shiyam MOHAMED]
    Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Hassan LATHEEF]
    Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Abdulla YAMEEN]
    Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]
    other: various unregistered political parties
    ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ali NASEER Mohamed (since 21 July 2017)
    chancery: 801 Second Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 599-6194 and 599-6195
    FAX: [1] (212) 661-6405
    the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits
    red with a large green rectangle in the center bearing a vertical white crescent moon; the closed side of the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag; red recalls those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of their country, the green rectangle represents peace and prosperity, and the white crescent signifies Islam
    coconut palm, yellowfin tuna; national colors: red, green, white
    name: "Gaumee Salaam" (National Salute)
    lyrics/music: Mohamed Jameel DIDI/Wannakuwattawaduge DON AMARADEVA
    note: lyrics adopted 1948, music adopted 1972; between 1948 and 1972, the lyrics were sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne"
  • Economy :: MALDIVES

  • Maldives has quickly become a middle-income country, driven by the rapid growth of its tourism and fisheries sectors, but the country still contends with a large and growing fiscal deficit. Economic growth slowed to 2.8% in 2015, mainly because of a decline in tourists from China and Russia. Despite lower growth, tourism-related tax receipts increased by 13% in 2015 because of higher tax rates. This increase in tax receipts led to higher usable foreign exchange reserves that helped partially fund increases in construction related imports.
    In 2015, Maldives’ Parliament passed a constitutional amendment legalizing foreign ownership of land; foreign land-buyers must reclaim at least 70% of the desired land from the ocean and invest at least $1 billion in a construction project approved by Parliament.
    Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, increasing employment opportunities, and combating corruption, cronyism, and a growing drug problem are near-term challenges 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 1 meter or less above sea level.
    $5.501 billion (2016 est.)
    $5.294 billion (2015 est.)
    $5.148 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $3.379 billion (2016 est.)
    3.9% (2016 est.)
    2.8% (2015 est.)
    6% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    $15,500 (2016 est.)
    $15,200 (2015 est.)
    $15,100 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 104
    2.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
    9.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    16.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    household consumption: NA%
    government consumption: NA%
    investment in fixed capital: NA%
    investment in inventories: NA%
    exports of goods and services: 108.2%
    imports of goods and services: 89.3% (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 16%
    services: 81% (2015 est.)
    coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
    tourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
    14% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    195,100 (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    agriculture: 15%
    industry: 15%
    services: 70% (2010 est.)
    11.6% (2013 est.)
    11% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    16% (2008 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.2%
    highest 10%: 33.3% (FY09/10)
    38.4 (2009 est.)
    37.4 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    revenues: $1.481 billion
    expenditures: $1.7 billion (2016, est.)
    43.8% of GDP (2016, est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    -6.5% of GDP (2016, est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    81.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    72% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    calendar year
    0.9% (2016 est.)
    1.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    7% (31 December 2013)
    6.96% (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    10.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    10.2% (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $338.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $623 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    $1.337 billion (31 December 2015)
    $1.298 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $1.559 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.601 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    $555 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    -$606 million (2016 est.)
    -$326 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    $239.7 million (2015 est.)
    $300.9 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    fish
    Thailand 33.8%, Sri Lanka 10%, US 8.7%, France 8.6%, Germany 8.6%, Ireland 4.9%, Italy 4.8%, UK 4.1% (2016)
    $1.896 billion (2015 est.)
    $1.993 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    petroleum products, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
    UAE 15.6%, Singapore 14.3%, China 13.4%, India 12.9%, Sri Lanka 6.3%, Malaysia 5.7%, Thailand 4.7% (2016)
    $565.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $627.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    $693.7 million (2015 est.)
    $741.6 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    $324 million (31 December 2015)
    $256 million (31 December 2013)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar -
    15.25 (2016)
    15.25 (2015)
  • Energy :: MALDIVES

  • electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    300 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    300 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    82,000 kW (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    7,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    10,760 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0 cu m (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    0 cu m (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0 cu m (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    0 cu m (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    0 cu m (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    1.2 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
  • Communications :: MALDIVES

  • total subscriptions: 21,136
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    total: 812,128
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 207 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    general assessment: telephone services have improved; inter-atoll communication through microwave links; all inhabited islands and resorts are connected with telephone and fax service
    domestic: each island now has at least 1 public telephone, and there are mobile-cellular networks with a rapidly expanding subscribership that has reached over 200 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 960; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2016)
    state-owned radio and TV monopoly until recently; state-owned TV operates 2 channels; 3 privately owned TV stations; state owns Voice of Maldives and operates both an entertainment and a music-based station; 5 privately owned radio stations (2012)
    .mv
    total: 232,210
    percent of population: 59.1% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
  • Transportation :: MALDIVES

  • number of registered air carriers: 3
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 15 (2015)
    8Q (2016)
    9 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    total: 7
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2017)
    total: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
    total: 88 km
    paved roads: 88 km - 60 km in Male; 14 km on Addu Atolis; 14 km on Laamu
    note: island roads are mainly compacted coral (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    total: 18
    by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 14, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2
    foreign-owned: 4 (Singapore 4)
    registered in other countries: 4 (Panama 2, Tuvalu 1, unknown 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    major seaport(s): Male
  • Military and Security :: MALDIVES

  • Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Marine Corps, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2010)
    18-28 years of age for voluntary service; no conscription; 10th grade or equivalent education required; must not be a member of a political party (2012)
    the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), with its small size and with little serviceable equipment, 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 (2008)
  • Transnational Issues :: MALDIVES

  • none
    current situation: Maldives is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and a source country for women and children subjected to labor and sex trafficking; primarily Bangladeshi and Indian migrants working both legally and illegally in the construction and service sectors face conditions of forced labor, including fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, nonpayment and withholding of wages, and debt bondage; a small number of women from Asia, Eastern Europe, and former Soviet states are trafficked to Maldives for sexual exploitation; Maldivian women may be subjected to sex trafficking domestically or in Sri Lanka; some Maldivian children are transported to the capital for domestic service, where they may also be victims of sexual abuse and forced labor
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Maldives does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government adopted a national action plan for 2015-2019 and is continuing to develop victim identification, protection, and referral procedures, but overall its anti-trafficking efforts did not increase; only five trafficking investigations were conducted, no new prosecutions were initiated for the second consecutive year, and no convictions were made, down from one in 2013; some officials warned businesses in advanced of planned raids for suspected trafficking offenses; victim protection deteriorated when the state-run shelter for female victims barred access to victims shortly after opening in January 2014, in part because of bureaucratic disputes, which dissuaded victims from pursuing charges against perpetrators; the government did not prosecute or hold accountable any employers or government officials for withholding passports (2015)