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Maldives / ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ / Dhivehi Raa'je

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Background:
The Maldives was long a sultanate, 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 2004, 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 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 former regime. Challenges facing the new president include strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. Maldives officials have been prominent participants in international climate change talks due to the islands' low elevation and the threat from sea-level rise.



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: 298 sq km
country comparison to the world: 209
land: 298 sq km
water: 0 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
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
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: 30%
other: 56.67% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Total renewable water resources:
0.03 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
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



Population:
395,650 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.9% (male 44,098/female 42,383)
15-64 years: 74.1% (male 179,176/female 114,186)
65 years and over: 4% (male 7,819/female 7,988) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 25.9 years
male: 26.6 years
female: 24.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.178% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 214

Birth rate:
14.5 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143

Death rate:
3.68 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210

Net migration rate:
-12.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177

Urbanization:
urban population: 38% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 28.47 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 77
male: 30.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.21 years
country comparison to the world: 99
male: 72 years
female: 76.54 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.83 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 100 (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

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: 96.3%
male: 96.2%
female: 96.4% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 15



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:
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)

Administrative divisions:
19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and the capital city*; Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Maale (Male)*, Meemu, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu

Independence:
26 July 1965 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 July (1965)

Constitution:
new constitution ratified 7 August 2008

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

Suffrage:
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
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
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 - 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 - DRP 28, MDP 26, PA 7, DQP 2, Republican Party 1, independents 13

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 [Abdul Majeed Abdul BARI]; Dhivehi Quamee Party or DQP [Hassan SAEED]; Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]; Islamic Democratic Party or IDP [Umar NASEER]; Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mariya DIDI]; People's Alliance or PA [Abdullah YAMEEN]; Republican (Jumhooree) Party [Gasim IBRAHIM]; Social Liberal Party or SLP [Mazlan RASHEED]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: various unregistered political parties

International organization participation:
ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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



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. 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. The Maldivian Government implemented economic reforms, beginning in 1989 that initially lifted import quotas, opened some exports to the private sector, and liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Real GDP growth averaged over 7.5% per year for more than a decade, and registered 18% in 2006, due to a rebound in tourism and reconstruction following the tsunami of December 2004. GDP slowed in 2007-08, then contracted in 2009 due to the global recession. 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. 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):
$1.673 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
$1.744 billion (2008 est.)
$1.647 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.359 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
5.8% (2008 est.)
7.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$4,500 (2008 est.)
$4,500 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.6%
industry: 16.9%
services: 77.5% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
144,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 178

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 23%
services: 65% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate:
14.4% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145

Population below poverty line:
16% (2008)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Budget:
revenues: $487 million
expenditures: $873 million (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
12.3% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
13% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 21
12.5% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
13% (31 October 2009)
country comparison to the world: 66
13% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:
$460 million (31 October 2009)
country comparison to the world: 132
$475.2 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of quasi money:
$488 million (31 October 2009)
country comparison to the world: 136
$487.8 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.548 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
$1.08 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

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

Industrial production growth rate:
-0.9% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Electricity - production:
542 million kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157

Electricity - consumption:
542 million kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Oil - consumption:
6,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Oil - imports:
5,490 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115

Current account balance:
-$370 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
-$638 million (2008 est.)

Exports:
$88 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
$125 million (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
fish

Exports - partners:
France 17.01%, Thailand 15.16%, Italy 13.49%, UK 13.13%, Sri Lanka 12.38% (2009)

Imports:
$782 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
$1.221 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods

Imports - partners:
Singapore 24.62%, UAE 15.7%, India 11.02%, Malaysia 8.98%, Sri Lanka 5.4%, Thailand 5.36% (2009)

Debt - external:
$589 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
$477 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar - 12.8 (2009), 12.8 (2008), 12.8 (2007), 12.8 (2006), 12.8 (2005)



Telephones - main lines in use:
50,396 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 162

Telephones - mobile cellular:
450,500 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 158

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)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 1 (2009)

Television broadcast stations:
2 (2009)

Internet country code:
.mv

Internet hosts:
1,732 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151

Internet users:
71,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 164



Airports:
5 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 177

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)

Roadways:
total: 88 km
country comparison to the world: 214
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: 29
country comparison to the world: 87
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 23, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1)
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 1, Tuvalu 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Male



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

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 158,307
females age 16-49: 97,166 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 137,181
females age 16-49: 83,837 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 4,369
female: 3,765 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
5.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

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)



Disputes - international:
none

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 1,000-10,000 (December 2004 tsunami victims) (2007)

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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