Photos of Maldives

Introduction

Background

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. 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. In April 2019, SOLIH's MDP won 65 of 87 seats in parliament. YAMEEN was arrested and jailed in December 2022 on corruption charges. Maldives fourth democratic election was held in September 2023. The winner, Male City Mayor Dr. Mohamed MUIZZU, campaigned on a platform of Maldivian sovereignty, vowing to remove Indian military personnel from the country. MUIZZU represents a joint Progressive Pary of Maldives and People's National Congress (PPM/PNC) coalition.  

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

3 15 N, 73 00 E

Area

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

Coastline

644 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

Climate

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

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

Population

521,021 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 173

Nationality

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

Languages

Dhivehi (official, closely related to Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English (spoken by most government officials)

Religions

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: 31.3 years (2023 est.)

male: 30.8 years

female: 31.9 years

comparison ranking: total 120

Population growth rate

-0.17% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 208

Birth rate

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

comparison ranking: 109

Death rate

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

comparison ranking: 213

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

Urbanization

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

male: 28 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 21.9 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 63

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 74.8 years

female: 79.7 years

comparison ranking: total population 90

Total fertility rate

1.7 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 165

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: 34

Child marriage

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

Literacy

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)

Environment

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

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: 13 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 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.)

Government

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

Capital

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)

Independence

26 July 1965 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 26 July (1965)

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Mohamed MUIZZU (since 17 November 2023); Vice President-elect Hussain Mohamed LATHEEF (since 30 September 2023); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Mohamed MUIZZU (since 17 November 2023); Vice President-elect Hussain Mohamed LATHEEF (since 30 September 2023)

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 and runoff held on 30 September 2023 (next to be held in 2028)

election results:
2023:
Mohamed MUIZZU elected president in the second round; percent of vote in first round - Mohamed MUIZZU (PNC) 46.1%, Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (MDP) 39.1%, Ilyas LABEEB (DEMS) 7.1%, other 7.7%; percent of vote in the second round - Mohamed MUIZZU 54%, Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH 46%

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 on 21 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 as of February 2024 - men 76, women 4, percent of women 5%

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 [Ibrahim Mohamed SOLITH]
Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed Shiyam MOHAMED]
Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mohamed NASHEED]
Maldives Third Way Democrats or MTD [Ahmed ADEEB]
People's National Congress or PNC [Abdul Raheem ABDULLA]
People's National Front [Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom]
Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]

(2020)

International organization participation

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

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 201, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6194

FAX: [1] (212) 661-6405

email address and website:
info@maldivesmission.com

http://www.maldivesmission.com/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Hugo Yue-Ho YON (since 6 September 2023); note - Ambassador YON is the first resident US ambassador to the Republic of Maldives

embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka; note - as of early November 2023, the US has no consular or diplomatic offices in Maldives; the US Mission to Maldives operates from US Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka

telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500

FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345

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"

Economy

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)

$11.142 billion (2022 est.)
$9.781 billion (2021 est.)
$7.104 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 162

Real GDP growth rate

13.91% (2022 est.)
37.69% (2021 est.)
-32.91% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 7

Real GDP per capita

$21,300 (2022 est.)
$18,800 (2021 est.)
$13,800 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 90

GDP (official exchange rate)

$6.171 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.33% (2022 est.)
0.54% (2021 est.)
-1.37% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 36

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: services 30; industry 174; agriculture 149

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

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

25.2% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 4

Labor force

261,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 170

Unemployment rate

4.39% (2022 est.)
5.12% (2021 est.)
5.48% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 89

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.7% (2021 est.)

male: 19.9%

female: 12.6%

comparison ranking: total 96

Population below poverty line

5.4% (2019 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

29.3 (2019 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 152

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.8%

highest 10%: 23.3% (2019 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

0.08% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.09% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.13% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

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: 67

Taxes and other revenues

26.4% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 38

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.033 billion (2022 est.)
-$455.003 million (2021 est.)
-$1.327 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 125

Exports

$5.096 billion (2022 est.)
$3.985 billion (2021 est.)
$1.787 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 136

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)

Imports

$4.904 billion (2022 est.)
$3.484 billion (2021 est.)
$2.449 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 152

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

$832.094 million (2022 est.)
$805.808 million (2021 est.)
$984.931 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 147

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:
15.387 (2022 est.)
15.373 (2021 est.)
15.381 (2020 est.)
15.382 (2019 est.)
15.391 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

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: imports 137; exports 120; installed generating capacity 149; transmission/distribution losses 30; consumption 167

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.)

Coal

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.)

Petroleum

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

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 13,376 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 184

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; 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

Transportation

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)

Airports

19 (2024)

comparison ranking: 140

Roadways

total: 93 km

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 216

Merchant marine

total: 82 (2023)

by type: general cargo 30, oil tanker 20, other 32

comparison ranking: total 98

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Male

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): the MNDF has combined force structure with seven services divided into Combat and Maneuver Forces (Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Fire and Rescue Service) and Support Services (Service Corps, Defense Intelligence Service, Medical Corps, Adjutant General's Corps); there is also a separate Special Forces command and a Special Protection Service (2024)

note: the Maldives Police Service is responsible for internal security and reports to the Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology 

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 3-4,000 personnel (2023)

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 (2023)

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)

Terrorism

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