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Maldives was a sultanate for large period of time, first under Dutch and then under British protection. 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 riots in the capital Male in August 2003, the president and his government pledged to embark upon 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... See More



 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

Area - Comparative:

 About 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 644 km (Rank: 98)

Maritime Claims:

 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

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed location on Viligili in the Addu Atholhu 2.4 m

Natural Resources:


Land Use:

 Arable land: 13.33%
Permanent crops: 30%
Other: 56.67% (2005)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 0.03 cu km (1999)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.003 cu km/yr (98%/2%/0%)
Per capita: 9 cu m/yr (1987)

Natural Hazards:

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

Environment - Current Issues:

 Depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); archipelago with strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean

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 Noun: Maldivian(s)
Adjective: Maldivian

Ethnic Groups:

 South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs


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


 Sunni Muslim (official)


 394,999 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 21.5% (male 43,332/female 41,642)
15-64 years: 74.4% (male 177,365/female 116,552)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 7,888/female 8,220) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 26.2 years
Male: 26.8 years
Female: 25.2 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 -0.151% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 14.83 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 3.71 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -12.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 40% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 MALE (capital) 120,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.57 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.98 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.4 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 37 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 27.45 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 29.93 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 24.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 74.45 years
Male: 72.22 years
Female: 76.8 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.81 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 5.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.595 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 2.6 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 99% of population
Rural: 86% of population
Total: 91% of population
Urban: 1% of population
Rural: 14% of population
Total: 9% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 96% of population
Total: 98% of population
Urban: 0% of population
Rural: 4% of population
Total: 2% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 Less than 0.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 25.7% (2001)

Education Expenditures:

 11.2% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93.8%
Male: 93%
Female: 94.7% (2006 Census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 12 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 12 years (2006)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 22.2%
Male: 15.5%
Female: 30.5% (2006)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
Conventional short form: Maldives
Local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Local short form: Dhivehi Raajje

Government Type:



 Name: Male
Geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E
Time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 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)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 26 July (1965)


 New constitution ratified 7 August 2008

Legal System:

 Islamic religious legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Mohamed "Anni" NASHEED (since 11 November 2008); Vice President Mohamed WAHEED Hassan Maniku (since 11 November 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government: President Mohamed "Anni" NASHEED (since 11 November 2008); Vice President Mohamed WAHEED Hassan Maniku (since 11 November 2008)

Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the president

Elections: under the new constitution, the president elected by direct vote; president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 and 28 October 2008 (next to be held in 2013)

Election results: Mohamed NASHEED elected president; percent of vote - Mohamed NASHEED 54.3%, Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 45.7%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral People's Council or People's Majlis (77 seats; members elected by direct vote to serve five-year terms); note - the Majlis in February 2009 passed legislation that increased the number of seats to 77 from 50

Elections: last held on 9 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)

Election results: percent of vote - DRP 36.4%, MDP 33.8 %, PA 9.1%, DQP 2.6% Republican Party 1.2%, independents 16.9%; seats by party as of October 2011 - MDP 35, DRP 17, PPM 15, JP 2, PA 2, Meedhu DHAAIRA 1, independents 5

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court; Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of voting members of the People's Council; High Court; Trial Courts; all lower court judges are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Shaykh Hussein RASHEED Ahmed]; Dhivehi Qaumee Party or DQP [Hassan SAEED]; Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP [Ahmed THASMEEN Ali]; Gaumee Itthihaad (National Alliance) or GI [Mohamed WAHEED]; Islamic Democratic Party or IDP; Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Ibrahim DIDI]; Maldives National Congress or MNC; Maldives Social Democratic Party or MSDP; Meedhu Dhaaira; People's Alliance or PA [Abdullah YAMEEN]; People's Party or PP; Poverty Alleviation Party or PAP; Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]; Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Gasim IBRAHIM]; Social Liberal Party or SLP [Mazian RASHEED]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Other: various unregistered political parties

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Abdul GHAFOOR Mohamed
Chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
Telephone: [1] (212) 599-6195
FAX: [1] (212) 661-6405

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 The US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Patricia A. BUTENIS, is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits

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 Symbols:

 Crescent moon

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"

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Economy - Overview:

 Tourism, Maldives' largest economic activity, accounts for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. 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. Most staple foods must be imported. In the last decade, real GDP growth averaged around 6% per year except for 2005, when GDP declined following the Indian Ocean tsunami, and in 2009, when GDP shrank by 3% as tourist arrivals declined and capital flows plunged in the wake of the global financial crisis. Falling 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 eased with a December 2009, $79.3 million dollar IMF standby agreement. However, after the first two disbursements, the IMF withheld subsequent disbursements due to concerns over Maldives' growing budget deficit. Maldives has had chronic budget deficits in recent years and the government's plans to cut expenditures have not progressed well. A new Goods and Services Tax on Tourism (GST) was introduced in January 2011 and a new Business Profit Tax is to be introduced during the year. These taxes are expected to increase government revenue by about 25%. The government has privatized the main airport and is partially privatizing the energy sector. Tourism will remain the engine of the economy. The Government of the Maldives has aggressively promoted building new island resorts. Due to increasing tourist arrivals, the government expects GDP growth around 4.0% in 2011. Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, and increasing employment opportunities are major 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $2.734 billion (2010 est.)
$2.532 billion (2009 est.)
$2.658 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $1.87 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 8% (2010 est.)
-4.8% (2009 est.)
12.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $6,900 (2010 est.)
$6,400 (2009 est.)
$6,900 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 5.6%
Industry: 16.9%
Services: 77.5% (2009 est.)

Labor Force:

 110,000 (2010)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 11%
Industry: 23%
Services: 65% (2006 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 14.5% (2010 est.)
14.4% (2006 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 16% (2008)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 IDPs: 1,000-10,000 (December 2004 tsunami victims) (2007)


 Revenues: $476 million
Expenditures: $758 million (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 25.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -15.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 6% (2010 est.)
7.3% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 2.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
16% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 10.38% (31 December 2010 est.)
13% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $460 million (31 October 2009)
$475.2 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $488 million (31 October 2009)
$487.8 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $588 million (31 December 2010)
$581 million (31 December 2009)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $1.239 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.064 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $1.548 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$1.08 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish


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

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 -0.9% (2004 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 542 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 542 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 6,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 6,088 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$463 million (2010 est.)
-$419 million (2009 est.)


 $163 million (2009 est.)
$331 million (2008 est.)

Exports - Commodities:


Exports - Partners:

 Thailand 17.9%, Sri Lanka 16.9%, France 14.2%, UK 12.1%, Italy 9.2%, Tanzania 4.9% (2010)


 $967 million (2009 est.)
$1.388 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods

Imports - Partners:

 Singapore 24.7%, UAE 17.2%, India 8.6%, Malaysia 8.1%, Sri Lanka 5.7%, Thailand 5.7%, China 5.6% (2010)

Debt - External:

 $943 million (2010 est.)
$933 million (2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Maldives Rufiyaa to Any Currency

Rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar -
12.8 (2010)
12.8 (2008)
12.8 (2007)
12.8 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 48,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 494,400 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: telephone services have improved; interatoll 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 exceeds 100 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) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned radio and television monopoly until recently; state-owned TV operates 2 channels; 2 privately-owned TV stations; state owns Voice of Maldives and operates both an entertainment and a music-based station; there are 5 privately-owned radio broadcast stations operating (2009)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 1 (2009)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 2 (2009)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 2,164 (2010)

Internet Users:

 86,400 (2009)

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 5 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 3
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)


 Total: 88 km
Paved roads: 88 km - 60 km in Male; 14 km on Addu Atolis; 14 km on Laamu

Note: village roads are mainly compacted coral (2006)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 24
By type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 20, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2
Registered in other countries: 4 (Panama 3, Tuvalu 1) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:


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Military Branches:

 Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Marine Corps, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-28 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 156,319
Females age 16-49: 98,815 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 135,374
Females age 16-49: 85,181 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 4,167
Female: 3,595 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 5.5% of GDP (2005 est.)

Military - Note:

 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)

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Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: The Maldives is primarily a destination country for migrant workers from Bangladesh and, to a lesser extent, India, some of whom are subjected to forced labor primarily in the construction and service sectors; some women and girls also are subjected to sex trafficking; some underage Maldivian children are transported to Male from other islands for forced domestic service, and a small number were reportedly sexually abused

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government has not demonstrated increased efforts to address human trafficking and lacks systematic procedures for identifying victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, and it did not investigate or prosecute trafficking-related offenses or take concrete actions to protect trafficking victims and prevent trafficking; counter-trafficking efforts are impeded by the lack of understanding of the issue, a legal structure, and a legal definition of trafficking (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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