The World Factbook (1990)/Maldives

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

pages 193–194


See regional map VIII


Total area: 300 km²; land area: 300 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 644 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: about 100 nm (defined by geographic coordinates)
Extended economic zone: 37-310 nm (segment of zone coincides with maritime boundary with India)
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Terrain: flat with elevations only as high as 2.5 meters

Natural resources: fish

Land use: 10% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 3% meadows and pastures; 3% forest and woodland; 84% other

Environment: 1,200 coral islands grouped into 19 atolls

Note: archipelago of strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean


Population: 217,945 (July 1990), growth rate 3.7% (1990)

Birth rate: 46 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 76 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 60 years male, 65 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.6 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Maldivian(s); adjective—Maldivian

Ethnic divisions: admixtures of Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, and black

Religion: Sunni Muslim

Language: Divehi (dialect of Sinhala; script derived from Arabic); English spoken by most government officials

Literacy: 36%

Labor force: 66,000 (est.); 80% engaged in fishing industry

Organized labor: none


Long-form name: Republic of Maldives

Type: republic

Capital: Male

Administrative divisions: 19 district (atolls); Aliff, Baa, Daalu, Faafu, Gaafu Aliff, Gaafu Daalu, Haa Aliff, Haa Daalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Laviyani, Meemu, Naviyani, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Waavu

Independence: 26 July 1965 (from UK)

Constitution: 4 June 1964

Legal system: based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)

Executive branch: president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral Citizens' Council (Majlis)

Judicial branch: High Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since since 11 November 1978)

Political parties and leaders: no organized political parties; country governed by the Didi clan for the past eight centuries

Suffrage: universal at age 21

Elections: President—last held 23 September 1988 (next to be held September 1994); results—President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom reelected;

Citizens' Council—last held on 7 December 1984 (next to be held 7 December 1989); results—percent of vote NA; seats—(48 total, 40 elected)

Communists: negligible

Member of: ADB, Colombo Plan, Commonwealth (special member), ESCAP, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, ITU, NAM, OIC, SAARC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Maldives does not maintain an embassy in the US, but does have a UN mission in New York; US—the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits there; US Consular Agency, Mahduedurage, Violet Magu, Henveru, Male; telephone 2581

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is based on fishing, tourism, and shipping. Agriculture is limited to the production of a few subsistence crops that provide only 10% of food requirements. Fishing is the largest industry, employing 80% of the work force and accounting for over 60% of exports; it is also an important source of government revenue. During the 1980s tourism has become one of the most important and highest growth sectors of the economy. In 1988 industry accounted for about 14% of GDP. Real GDP is officially estimated to have increased by about 10% annually during the period 1974-86, and GDP estimates for 1988 show a further growth of 9% on the strength of a record fish catch and an improved tourist season.

GDP: $136 million, per capita $670; real growth rate 9.2% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $51 million; expenditures $50 million, including capital expenditures of $25 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $47.0 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—fish 57%, clothing 39%; partners—Thailand, Western Europe, Sri Lanka

Imports: $90.0 million (c.i.f., 1988 est.); commodities—intermediate and capital goods 47%, consumer goods 42%, petroleum products 11%; partners—Japan, Western Europe, Thailand

External debt: $70 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.9% (1988 est.)

Electricity: 5,000 kW capacity; 10 million kWh produced, 50 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: fishing and fish processing, tourism, shipping, boat building, some coconut processing, garments, woven mats, coir (rope), handicrafts

Agriculture: accounts for almost 30% of GDP (including fishing); fishing more important than farming; limited production of coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; most staple foods must be imported

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $28 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $84 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $14 million

Currency: rufiyaa (plural—rufiyaa); 1 rufiyaa (Rf) = 100 laaris

Exchange rates: rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1—9.3043 (January 1990), 9.0408 (1989), 8.7846 (1988), 9.2230 (1987), 7.1507 (1986), 7.0981 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: Male has 9.6 km of coral highways within the city

Ports: Male, Gan

Merchant marine: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 70,066 GRT/112,480 DWT; includes 12 cargo, 1 container, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 bulk

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft

Airports: 2 with permanent-surface runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: minimal domestic and international facilities; 2,325 telephones; stations—2 AM, 1 FM, 1 TV; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: no military force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 49,261; 27,519 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: $1.8 million (1984 est.)