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Maldives Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Male'

Local Time
: UTC +5h

Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India.
Area: 298 sq. km. (115 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Flat coral islands.

Climate: Hot and humid.

Type: Republic.
Independence: July 26, 1965 (formerly a British protectorate).
Constitution: November 11, 1968.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Maldivian(s).
Population (2002): 280 000 (plus 31 000 expatriate laborers who are not counted in the census).
Ethnic groups: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs.
Religion: Sunni Islam.
Languages: Dhivehi (official); many government officials speak English. Literacy: 98%.


Currency: Rufiyaa (MVR)

Natural resources: Fish, corals.

Agriculture products: Coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish

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

Exports partners:
USA 32.1%, Thailand 17%, Sri Lanka 13.4%, Japan 10.7%, UK 9.8%, Indonesia 4.5% (2003)

Imports partners: Singapore 24.8%, Sri Lanka 13.8%, India 10.2%, Malaysia 7.6%, UAE 7.6%, Thailand 5.1% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Maldives

President's Office

Republic of Maldives - the official website

Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations

Department of Meteorology

Map of 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. 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 baselines territorial
sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM contiguous zone: 24 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: 3% permanent crops: 7% other: 90% (1998 est.)

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

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:  320,165 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 45.3% (male 74,493; female 70,394) 15-64
years: 51.7% (male 84,548; female 81,092) 65 years and over: 3% (male
4,944; female 4,694) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.95% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  37.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.86 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
1.05 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  61.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   64.2 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5.38 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.05% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

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: 93.2% male: 93.3% female: 93% (1995 est.)

Government Maldives

Country name:   Republic of Maldives conventional short form:  Raajjeyge

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

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
that 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 16 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected; percent of
popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.9% cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
appointed by the president; note - need not be members of Majlis 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 20 November 1999 (next to be
held NA November 2004) election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats -
independents 42

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, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  Maldives does not have an embassy
in the US, but does have a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York

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. Almost 400,000 tourists visited the islands in
1998. 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 minor 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 - $1.2 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  7% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $3,870 (2001 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):  3% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  67,000 (1995)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 22%, industry 18%, services 60%

Unemployment rate:  NEGL%

Budget:  revenues: $166 million (excluding foreign grants) expenditures:
$192 million, including capital expenditures of $80 million (1999 est.)

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:  110 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  102.3 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish

Exports:  $88 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:  fish, clothing

Exports - partners:  US, UK, Sri Lanka, Japan

Imports:  $372 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods,
petroleum products

Imports - partners:  Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Canada

Debt - external:  $237 million (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  rufiyaa (MVR)

Currency code:  MVR

Exchange rates:  rufiyaa per US dollar - 11.770 (fixed rate since 1995)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Maldives

Telephones - main lines in use:  21,000 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  1,290 (1997)

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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  6,000 (2001)

Transportation Maldives

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: NA km paved: NA km unpaved: NA km; note - Male has
9.6 km of coral highways within the city (1988 est.)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Gan, Male

Merchant marine:  total: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 51,532
GRT/71,298 DWT ships by type: cargo 13, short-sea passenger 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  5 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 2 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m:
1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2001)

Military Maldives

Military branches:  National Security Service

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 74,893 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 41,672
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $34.5 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  8.6% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Maldives

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Aafathis news

Dhivehi Observer

Haveeru daily

Miadhu daily

Arts & Culture
The National Museum of the Rep.of.Maldives

Maldives Culture

Business & Economy
Foreign Investment Services Bureau

State Trading Organization PLC

Trans Maldivian Airways

Maldives Airports Company Ltd.

Destination Maldives - Travel and Tour Guides

Visit Maldives

The Maldive Isles


Maldives Resorts


Maldives Environment

Maldives History

Maldives History2

The Maldives Story

The National Museum of the Maldives



Newsgroup of Maldives




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