CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Maldives

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map of Maldives

Introduction Maldives
Background: The Maldives were long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. They became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM - currently in his sixth term in office - has dominated the island's political scene. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government have pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.

Geography Maldives
Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Geographic coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 300 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 300 sq km
Area - comparative: about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 644 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
Terrain: flat, with white sandy beaches
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m
Natural resources: fish
Land use: arable land: 13.33%
permanent crops: 16.67%
other: 70% (2001)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: low level of islands makes them very 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, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
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

People Maldives
Population: 339,330 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.4% (male 77,424; female 73,191)
15-64 years: 52.6% (male 91,045; female 87,331)
65 years and over: 3% (male 5,207; female 5,132) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 17.5 years
male: 17.4 years
female: 17.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.86% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 36.06 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 7.44 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 58.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 57.43 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.68 years
male: 62.41 years
female: 65.01 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.14 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 100 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian
Ethnic groups: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Religions: Sunni Muslim
Languages: Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.2%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.3% (2003 est.)

Government Maldives
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
conventional short form: Maldives
local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Government type: republic
Capital: Male
Administrative divisions: 19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and 1 other first-order administrative division*; Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Maale*, Meemu, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu
Independence: 26 July 1965 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Constitution: adopted January 1998
Legal system: based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections: president nominated by the Majlis and then the nomination must be ratified by a national referendum (at least a 51% approval margin is required); president elected for a five-year term; election last held 17 October 2003 (next to be held NA 2008)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected in referendum held 17 October 2003; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.3%
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch: unicameral People's Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42 elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 22 January 2005 (next to be held NA 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 50
Judicial branch: High Court
Political parties and leaders: although political parties are not banned, none exist
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: AsDB, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Dr. Mohamed LATHEEF
chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6195
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits there
Flag description: red with a large green rectangle in the center bearing a vertical white crescent; the closed side of the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag

Economy Maldives
Economy - overview: Tourism, Maldives' largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Fishing is a second leading sector. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. 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. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 18% of GDP. Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.25 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 20%
industry: 18%
services: 62% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 88,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 22%, industry 18%, services 60% (1995)
Unemployment rate: NEGL% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $224 million (excluding foreign grants)
expenditures: $282 million, including capital expenditures of $80 million (2002 est.)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
Industries: fish processing, tourism, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
Industrial production growth rate: 4.4% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production: 117 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 108.8 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 3,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Exports: $90 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish, clothing
Exports - partners: US 32.1%, Thailand 17%, Sri Lanka 13.4%, Japan 10.7%, UK 9.8%, Indonesia 4.5% (2003)
Imports: $392 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Singapore 24.8%, Sri Lanka 13.8%, India 10.2%, Malaysia 7.6%, UAE 7.6%, Thailand 5.1% (2003)
Debt - external: $281 million (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: NA (1995)
Currency: rufiyaa (MVR)
Currency code: MVR
Exchange rates: rufiyaa per US dollar - 12.8 (2003), 12.8 (2002), 12.2421 (2001), 11.77 (2000), 11.77 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications Maldives
Telephones - main lines in use: 28,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 41,900 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: minimal domestic and international facilities
domestic: interatoll communication through microwave links; all inhabited islands are connected with telephone and fax service
international: country code - 960; satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 35,000 (1999)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)
Televisions: 10,000 (1999)
Internet country code: .mv
Internet hosts: 532 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 15,000 (2002)

Transportation Maldives
Highways: total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
Ports and harbors: Gan, Male
Merchant marine: total: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 54,164 GRT/68,973 DWT
registered in other countries: 2 (2004 est.)
by type: cargo 13, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1, short-sea/passenger 1
foreign-owned: North Korea 1
Airports: 5 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2004 est.)

Military Maldives
Military branches: National Security Service: comprising Security Branch (ground forces), Air Element; Coast Guard
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 81,221 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 45,142 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $43.1 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 8.6% (2003)

This page was last updated on 1 January 2003

This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005