Photos of Maldives



A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. The islands became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated Maldives' 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. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests in response to his ordering the arrest of a top judge, NASHEED purportedly resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. A government-appointed Commission of National Inquiry concluded there was no evidence of a coup, but NASHEED contends that police and military personnel forced him to resign. NASHEED, WAHEED, and Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom ran in the 2013 elections with YAMEEN ultimately winning the presidency after three rounds of voting. As president, YAMEEN weakened democratic institutions, curtailed civil liberties, jailed his political opponents, restricted the press, and exerted control over the judiciary to strengthen his hold on power and limit dissent. In September 2018, YAMEEN lost his reelection bid to Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH, a parliamentarian of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who had the support of a coalition of four parties that came together to defeat YAMEEN and restore democratic norms to Maldives. In April 2019, SOLIH's MDP won 65 of 87 seats in parliament. YAMEEN was arrested and jailed in December 2022 on corruption charges; however, he remains his party's candidate to challenge SOLIH in the presidential election, scheduled for 9 September 2023. 

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Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India

Geographic coordinates

3 15 N, 73 00 E


total: 298 sq km

land: 298 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 209

Area - comparative

about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


644 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines


tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)


flat coral atolls, with white sandy beaches; sits atop the submarine volcanic Chagos-Laccadive Ridge


highest point: 8th tee, golf course, Villingi Island 5 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 2 m

Land use

agricultural land: 23.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 3% (2018 est.)

other: 73.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

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

Natural hazards

tsunamis; low elevation of islands makes them sensitive to sea level rise

Geography - note

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


389,568 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 176


noun: Maldivian(s)

adjective: Maldivian

Ethnic groups

homogeneous mixture of Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, Australasian, and African resulting from historical changes in regional hegemony over marine trade routes


Dhivehi (official, dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English (spoken by most government officials)


Sunni Muslim (official)

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.25% (male 44,185/female 42,495)

15-64 years: 71.97% (male 146,154/female 134,233)

65 years and over: 5.78% (2023 est.) (male 9,866/female 12,635)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 35.6

youth dependency ratio: 29.5

elderly dependency ratio: 6.2

potential support ratio: 16.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 29.5 years

male: 29.2 years

female: 30 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 129

Population growth rate

-0.17% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 208

Birth rate

15.33 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 107

Death rate

4.2 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 211

Net migration rate

-12.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 226

Population distribution

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: 42% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.34% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

177,000 MALE (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23.2 years (2016/17 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

57 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 95

Infant mortality rate

total: 25.02 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 28 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 21.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 64

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.19 years

male: 74.84 years

female: 79.66 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 96

Total fertility rate

1.7 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 169

Gross reproduction rate

0.83 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 1% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.4% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

11.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

2.05 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

4.3 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 99.1% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0.9% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

8.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 149

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.38 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.33 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.59 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.45 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 142

Tobacco use

total: 25.2% (2020 est.)

male: 44.4% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 50

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

14.8% (2016/17)

comparison ranking: 37

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0%

women married by age 18: 2.2%

men married by age 18: 2.2% (2017 est.)

Education expenditures

5.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 50


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.9%

male: 97.6%

female: 98.4% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 14 years (2019)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.7%

male: 19.9%

female: 12.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 96


Environment - current issues

rising sea levels threaten land; depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; inadequate sewage treatment; coral reef bleaching

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)

Land use

agricultural land: 23.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 3% (2018 est.)

other: 73.7% (2018 est.)


urban population: 42% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.34% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 183

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 79

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 7.63 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.44 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.14 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 211,506 tons (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 300,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

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 Dhivehi means "Kingdom of the Dhivehi people"

Government type

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)

etymology: derived from the Sanskrit word "mahaalay" meaning "big house"

Administrative divisions

21 administrative atolls (atholhuthah, singular - atholhu); Addu (Addu City), Ariatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Ari Atoll), Ariatholhu Uthuruburi (North Ari Atoll), Faadhippolhu, Felidhuatholhu (Felidhu Atoll), Fuvammulah, Hahdhunmathi, Huvadhuatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Huvadhu Atoll), Huvadhuatholhu Uthuruburi (North Huvadhu Atoll), Kolhumadulu, Maale (Male), Maaleatholhu (Male Atoll), Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (South Maalhosmadulu), Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi (North Maalhosmadulu), Miladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi (South Miladhunmadulu), Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi (North Miladhunmadulu), Mulakatholhu (Mulaku Atoll), Nilandheatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Nilandhe Atoll), Nilandheatholhu Uthuruburi (North Nilandhe Atoll), Thiladhunmathee Dhekunuburi (South Thiladhunmathi), Thiladhunmathee Uthuruburi (North Thiladhunmathi)


26 July 1965 (from the UK)

National holiday

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

Legal system

Islamic (sharia) legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters

International law organization participation

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 Maldives

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (since 17 November 2018); Vice President Faisal NASEEM (since 17 November 2018); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (since 17 November 2018); Vice President Faisal NASEEM (since 17 November 2018)

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); first round held on 9 September 2023 (runoff to be held on 30 September 2023)

election results:
first round results - Mohamed MUIZZI 46.1%, Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH 39.1%, Ilyas LEBEEB 7.1%, other 7.7%

2018: Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH elected president in first round; Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (MDP) 58.3%, Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (PPM) 41.7% 

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or People's Majlis (87 seats - includes 2 seats added by the Elections Commission in late 2018; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 April 2019 (next to be held in April 2024)

election results: percent of vote - MDP 44.7%, JP 10.8%, PPM 8.7%, PNC 6.4%, MDA 2.8%, other 5.6%, independent 21%; seats by party - MDP 65, JP 5, PPM 5, PNC 3, MDA 2, independent 7; composition - men 83, women 4, percent of women 4.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 justices

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission - a 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)

Political parties and leaders

Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA]
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party or DRP [Abdulla JABIR]
Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed Shiyam MOHAMED]
Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mohamed NASHEED]
Maldives Labor and Social Democratic Party or MLSDP [Ahmed SHIHAM]
Maldives Third Way Democrats or MTD [Ahmed ADEEB]
Maumoon/Maldives Reform Movement or MRM [Ahmed Faris MAUMOON]
National Democratic Congress [Yousuf Maaniu]
People's National Congress or PNC [Abdul Raheem ABDULLA]
Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom, founder]
Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission:

Maldives has no embassy in the US, but its Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Abdul GHAFOOR Mohamed (since 12 December 2022), is accredited to the US and serves as ambassador

chancery: 801 Second Avenue, Suite 202E, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6194; [1] (212) 599-6195

FAX: [1] (212) 661-6405

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US is in the process of opening an embassy in Maldives; as of March 2022, there is no US Ambassador to Maldives; until late 2021, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka was also accredited to the Maldives

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

coconut palm, yellowfin tuna; national colors: red, green, white

National anthem

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"


Economic overview

upper middle-income Indian Ocean island economy; major tourism, fishing, and shipping industries; high public debt; systemic corruption; crippled by COVID-19; ongoing deflation; poverty has tripled since pandemic began

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.785 billion (2021 est.)
$6.903 billion (2020 est.)
$10.38 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 163

Real GDP growth rate

41.75% (2021 est.)
-33.49% (2020 est.)
7.1% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 1

Real GDP per capita

$18,800 (2021 est.)
$13,400 (2020 est.)
$20,600 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 97

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.505 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.54% (2021 est.)
-1.37% (2020 est.)
0.22% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 207

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: CCC (2020)

Moody's rating: B3 (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3% (2015 est.)

industry: 16% (2015 est.)

services: 81% (2015 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 149; industry 174; services 30

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: (2016 est.) NA

government consumption: (2016 est.) NA

investment in fixed capital: (2016 est.) NA

investment in inventories: (2016 est.) NA

exports of goods and services: 93.6% (2016 est.)

imports of goods and services: 89% (2016 est.)

Agricultural products

papayas, vegetables, roots/tubers nes, nuts, fruit, other meat, tomatoes, coconuts, bananas, maize


tourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining

Industrial production growth rate

4.51% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 97

Labor force

229,300 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 173

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7.7%

industry: 22.8%

services: 69.5% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

6.08% (2021 est.)
6.33% (2020 est.)
5.34% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 128

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.7%

male: 19.9%

female: 12.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 96

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.2%

highest 10%: 33.3% (FY09/10)


revenues: $993 million (2020 est.)

expenditures: $1.797 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-10.1% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 211

Public debt

63.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
61.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Taxes and other revenues

26.4% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$457.562 million (2021 est.)
-$1.327 billion (2020 est.)
-$1.49 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 115


$3.95 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$1.787 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$3.742 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

Exports - partners

Thailand 24%, United States 13%, China 12%, France 11%, Germany 11%, Italy 5%, United Kingdom 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

skipjack and stripe-bellied bonito, fish fillets, propane, tuna, butane, scrap iron (2021)


$3.501 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$2.449 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$4.09 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 24%, China 16%, Singapore 14%, India 11%, Malaysia 6%, Thailand 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fruits, furniture, broadcasting equipment, lumber (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$805,808,200 (31 December 2021 est.)
$984,930,700 (31 December 2020 est.)
$753,496,300 (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Debt - external

$848.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$696.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 167

Exchange rates

rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
15.373 (2021 est.)
15.381 (2020 est.)
15.382 (2019 est.)
15.391 (2018 est.)
15.387 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 545,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 586.5 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 21 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 149; consumption 167; exports 120; imports 137; transmission/distribution losses 184

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 99.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 15,300 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 206

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 203

Refined petroleum products - imports

10,840 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 144

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

2.286 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 2.286 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 157

Energy consumption per capita

59.69 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 92


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 14,005 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 182

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 706,043 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 135 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 169

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: with its economy so heavily dependent on tourism, the Maldives has suffered heavy economic as well as health casualties during the pandemic; the country had a relatively short period of lock down and was willing to welcome visitors back as early as July 2020; but the effective shutdown of international air travel for most of the year resulted in the bottom falling out of the Maldives’ tourism industry, taking GDP down 32% in the process; the economy fared better in 2021, with a return to growth, yet it may still be a few years before the country’s key industries can return to the same level of prosperity that they previously enjoyed; the country’s high number of tourists and expatriate workers has inflated the penetration rate for mobile services, making it one of the highest in the world; that rate crashed in 2020 as demand for SIM cards (primarily prepaid) dried up; however, the number of contract subscribers increased as locals took advantage of competitive pricing offers from operators; everything now rests on a fast return to normality, with tourists helping to boost the nation’s coffers as well as buying up those prepaid SIM cards; with commercial 5G services already launched and fiber networks rapidly expanding around the country, the Maldives is primed to deliver world-class telecommunications services to its domestic and international customers (2021)

domestic: fixed-line is at nearly 3 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular subscriptions stands at nearly 135 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 960; landing points for Dhiraagu Cable Network, NaSCOM, Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Networks and WARF submarine cables providing connections to 8 points in Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka; satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

state-owned radio and TV monopoly until recently; 4 state-operated and 7 privately owned TV stations and 4 state-operated and 7 privately owned radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 447,200 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 86% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 169

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 63,685 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 139


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 36

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,147,247 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 7.75 million (2018)


9 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 157

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


total: 93 km (2018)

paved: 93 km (2018) - 60 km in Malée; 16 km on Addu Atolis; 17 km on Laamu

note: island roads are mainly compacted coral

comparison ranking: total 214

Merchant marine

total: 80

by type: general cargo 30, oil tanker 20, other 30 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 102

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Male

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Fire and Rescue Service, Defense Intelligence Service, Service Corps, Adjutant General's Corps, Special Protection Corps, Special Forces, Training and Education Command, Welfare and Recreation Service (2023)

note: the Maldives Police Service is responsible for internal security and reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 2,500 personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

India has provided most of the equipment in the MNDF's inventory (2023)

Military service age and obligation

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 (2022)

Military - note

the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) is responsible for defending and safeguarding the Maldives' territorial integrity, economic exclusion zone, and people; it is also responsible for disaster relief, and if requested, assisting the Maldives Police Service in maintaining internal security and law and order; the MNDF is organized into four area commands and a functional Special Forces command; the head of the MNDF reports to the Minister of Defense (2023)


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues