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South Asia :: Maldives
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  • 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, the president and his government pledged to embark upon a process of liberalization and democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress was sluggish, however, and many promised reforms were slow to be realized. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution, which was ratified by the president in August. 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 former regime. President 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 following his sacking 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 set by the government to probe events leading up to NASHEED's resignation. Though the commission found no evidence of a coup, the report recommended the need to strengthen the country's democratic institutions to avert similar events in the future, and to further investigate alleged police misconduct during the crisis. Maldivian officials have played a prominent role in international climate change discussions (due to the islands' low elevation and the threat from sea-level rise) on the UN Human Rights Council and in other international forums, as well as in encouraging regional cooperation, especially between India and Pakistan.
  • Geography :: MALDIVES

  • Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
    3 15 N, 73 00 E
    total: 298 sq km
    land: 298 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    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
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Viligili in the Addu Atholhu 2.4 m
    agricultural land: 23.3%
    arable land 10%; permanent crops 10%; permanent pasture 3.3%
    forest: 3%
    other: 73.7% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km NA (2003)
    0.03 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.01 cu km/yr (95%/5%/0%)
    per capita: 18.44 cu m/yr (2008)
    tsunamis; low elevation of islands makes them sensitive to sea level rise
    depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; 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

  • 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)
    393,595 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 21% (male 42,154/female 40,490)
    15-24 years: 23.4% (male 53,760/female 38,385)
    25-54 years: 46.5% (male 107,703/female 75,360)
    55-64 years: 4.8% (male 9,782/female 9,180)
    65 years and over: 4.3% (male 7,974/female 8,807) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 50%
    youth dependency ratio: 42.7%
    elderly dependency ratio: 7.4%
    potential support ratio: 13.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 27.1 years
    male: 27.3 years
    female: 26.7 years (2014 est.)
    -0.09% (2014 est.)
    15.59 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    3.84 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -12.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 44.5% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 4.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MALE (capital) 156,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.4 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.43 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.29 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.34 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
    31 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 24.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 27.01 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 22.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 75.15 years
    male: 72.86 years
    female: 77.55 years (2014 est.)
    1.76 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    34.7% (2009)
    10.8% of GDP (2013)
    1.42 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    4.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    urban: 99.5% of population
    rural: 97.9% of population
    total: 98.6% of population
    urban: 0.5% of population
    rural: 2.1% of population
    total: 1.4% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 97.5% of population
    rural: 99.6% of population
    total: 98.7% of population
    urban: 2.5% of population
    rural: 0.4% of population
    total: 1.3% of population (2012 est.)
    0.01% (2013 est.)
    fewer than 100 (2013 est.)
    fewer than 100 (2013 est.)
    7% (2014)
    17.8% (2009)
    6.2% of GDP (2012)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 99.3%
    male: 99.8%
    female: 98.8% (2015 est.)
    total: 22.2%
    male: 15.5%
    female: 30.5% (2006 est.)
  • Government :: MALDIVES

  • conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
    conventional short form: Maldives
    local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
    local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
    name: Male
    geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E
    time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    7 provinces and 1 municipality*; Dhekunu (South), Maale*, Mathi Dhekunu (Upper South), Mathi Uthuru (Upper North), Medhu (Central), Medhu Dhekunu (South Central), Medhu Uthuru (North Central), Uthuru (North)
    26 July 1965 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
    many previous; latest ratified 7 August 2008 (2010)
    Islamic religious legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Mohamed JAMEEL Ahmed (since 17 November 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Mohamed JAMEEL Ahmed (since 17 November 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the president
    elections: president elected by direct vote for a five-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 runoff held on 16 November (next election to be held in 2018)
    election results: first round (9 November 2013); percent of vote - Mohamed NASHEED 46.9%, Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom 29.7%, Qasim IBRAHIM 23.3%; runoff (postponed to 16 November 2013); percent of vote - Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom elected president 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 - PPM 40%, MDP 28.2%, JP 18.8%, MDA 5.9%, other 1.2%, independent 5.9%; seats by party - PPM 33, MDP 26, JP 15, MDA 5, other 1, independent 5
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 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)
    note: political parties with an asterisk were dissolved on 7 February 2014 by the Elections Commission under the Political Parties Act, which requires a minimum membership; the status of these parties is unresolved, as the Supreme Court later ruled the dissolution invalid
    Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA]
    Dhivehi Qaumee Party or DQP [Hassan SAEED]*
    Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP
    Gaumee Itthihaad Party (National Unity Party) or GIP [Mohamed WAHEED]
    Islamic Democratic Party or IDP*
    Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed SIYAM]
    Maldives National Congress or MNC [Ali AMJAD]*
    Maldives Reform Movement or MRM [Mohamed MUNAWWAR]
    Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Reeko Moosa MANIKU]
    Maldivian Labor Party or MLP [Ahmed MOOSA]*
    Maldivian Social Democratic Party or MSDP [Reeko Ibrahim MANIKU]*
    Meedhu Dhaaira
    People's Alliance or PA [Moosa ZAMEERI]*
    People's Party or PP [Ahmed RIYAZ]*
    Poverty Alleviation Party or PAP
    Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]
    Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]
    Social Liberal Party or SLP [Mazian RASHEED]*
    other: various unregistered political parties
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed SAREER (since 11 January 2013)
    chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 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

  • Tourism, Maldives' largest economic activity, accounts for nearly 30% of GDP and more than 60% of foreign exchange receipts. Fishing is the second leading sector, but the fish catch has dropped sharply in recent years. 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. Lower than expected tourist arrivals and fish exports, combined with high government spending on social needs, subsidies, and civil servant salaries contributed to a balance of payments crisis, which was temporarily eased with a $79.3 million IMF Stand-By agreement. However, after the first two disbursements, the IMF withheld subsequent disbursements due to concerns over Maldives' growing budget deficit, and the government has been seeking other sources of budgetary support ever since. A new Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tourism introduced in January 2011, on general goods and services in October 2011, and a new Business Profit Tax introduced in July 2011 have provided a boost to revenue. In recent years, gross foreign reserves have hovered around $300 million, sufficient to finance about two to three months of imports. Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, increasing employment opportunities, and combating corruption, cronyism, and a growing drug problem are other 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. In August 2014 the Maldives’ Parliament passed a bill to create special economic zones, a step aimed at attracting investment and diversifying the economy away from tourism and fishing. The Maldives’ took some steps to reduce the fiscal deficit in 2015, such as imposing a green tax on tourist establishments and raising import duties, but the deficit will grow because increasing public expenditure.
    $4.254 billion (2014 est.)
    $4.072 billion (2013 est.)
    $3.925 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $2.405 billion (2014 est.)
    4.5% (2014 est.)
    3.7% (2013 est.)
    0.9% (2012 est.)
    $12,400 (2014 est.)
    $12,100 (2013 est.)
    $11,900 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 118
    0.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -0.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    -2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 4%
    industry: 23%
    services: 73% (2012 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.)
    159,700 (2012)
    agriculture: 15%
    industry: 15%
    services: 70% (2010 est.)
    11% (2012 est.)
    12% (2011 est.)
    16% (2008)
    lowest 10%: 1.2%
    highest 10%: 33.3% (FY09/10)
    37.4 (2004 est.)
    revenues: $762 million
    expenditures: $876 million (2013 est.)
    31.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    -4.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    calendar year
    4% (2013 est.)
    10.9% (2012 est.)
    7% (31 December 2012)
    6.96% (31 December 2011)
    10.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    10.2% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $623 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $547.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.538 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $1.298 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.559 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.601 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $555 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $-232.4 million (2013 est.)
    $310 million (2012 est.)
    $166 million (2013 est.)
    $161 million (2012 est.)
    Thailand 28.1%, France 14.9%, US 9.4%, Sri Lanka 8.2%, UK 8.1%, Italy 6.2%, Germany 5.2% (2013)
    $1.728 billion (2013 est.)
    $1.55 billion (2012 est.)
    petroleum products, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
    UAE 21.1%, Singapore 17%, India 8.6%, China 7.6%, Thailand 6.2%, Malaysia 6.1%, Sri Lanka 4.2% (2013)
    $368.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $356 million (30 November 2012 est.)
    $793.6 million (2013 est.)
    $890.8 million (2013 est.)
    rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar -
    15.41 (2013)
    15.37 (2012)
  • Energy :: MALDIVES

  • 265.2 million kWh (2011 est.)
    246.6 million kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    77,080 kW (2011 est.)
    99.9% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0.1% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    7,610 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    6,940 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    1.123 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: MALDIVES

  • 23,140 (2012)
    560,000 (2012)
    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 135 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) (2011)
    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)
    AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 1 (2009)
    2 (2009)
    3,296 (2012)
    86,400 (2009)
  • Transportation :: MALDIVES

  • 9 (2013)
    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 (2013)
    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)
    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)
    major seaport(s): Male
  • Military :: 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)
    males age 16-49: 156,319
    females age 16-49: 98,815 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 135,374
    females age 16-49: 85,181 (2010 est.)
    male: 4,167
    female: 3,595 (2010 est.)
    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