Maldives 1999Maldives

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Maldives - Introduction 1999
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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.

Maldives - Geography 1999
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Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India

Geographic coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E

Map referenceAsia

Total: 300 km²
Land: 300 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 644 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 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

Extremes lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m

Natural resources: fish
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 10%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 3%
Forests and woodland: 3%
Other: 84% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise

Note: 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls; archipelago of strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean

Maldives - People 1999
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Population: 300,220 (July 1999 est.)
Growth rate: 3.37% (1999 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Maldivian(s)
Adjective: Maldivian

Ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, African

Languages: Maldivian Divehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials

Religions: Sunni Muslim

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 47% (male 72,414; female 68,764)
15-64 years: 50% (male 76,446; female 73,275)
65 years and over: 3% (male 4,944; female 4,377) (1999 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 3.37% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 39.3 births/1000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 5.63 deaths/1000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1999 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.13 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 38.14 deaths/1000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.29 years
Male: 66.53 years
Female: 70.15 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.73 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93.2%
Male: 93.3%
Female: 93% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Maldives - Government 1999
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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: 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

Dependent areas

Independence: 26 July 1965 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)

Constitution: 4 June 1968

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

International law organization participation


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
Head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note_the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Ministry of Atolls appointed by the president; note_need not be members of Majlis
Elections: president elected by secret ballot of the Majlis for a five-year term; election last held 1 October 1993 (next to be held NA October 1998)
Election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected; percent of Majlis vote_Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 92.76%

Legislative branch: unicameral Citizens' Council or Majlis (48 seats; 40 elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 2 December 1994 (next to be held NA December 1999)
Election results: percent of vote_NA; seats_independents 40

Judicial branch: High Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AsDB, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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
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 descriptionflag of Maldives: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Maldives - Economy 1999
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Economy overview: Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for about 18% 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. About 350,000 tourists visited the islands in 1997. Fishing is a second leading growth 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 15% 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 5.8% (1998 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 22%
Industry: 15%
Services: 63% (1994 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: 6.3% (1994 est.)

Labor force: 56,435 (1990 est.)
By occupation fishingindustry andagriculture: 25%
By occupation services: 21%
By occupation manufacturing and construction: 21%
By occupation trade restaurants and hotels: 16%
By occupation transportationandcommunication: 10%
By occupation other: 7%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NEGL%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $88 million (excluding foreign grants)
Expenditures: $141 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1995 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $59 million (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: fish, clothing
Partners: Sri Lanka, US, Germany, Singapore, UK

Imports: $302 million (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods, petroleum products
Partners: Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $179 million (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1_11.770 (1995-January 1999), 11.586 (1994), 10.957 (1993)

Maldives - Energy 1999
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 60 million kWh (1996)
By source fossil fuel: 100%
By source hydro: 0%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1996)

Electricity consumption: 60 million kWh (1996)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Maldives - Communication 1999
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: minimal domestic and international facilities
Domestic: inter-atoll communication primarily through HF transceivers and VHF/UHF telephones
International: satellite earth station_1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Maldives - Military 1999
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $NA
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Maldives - Transportation 1999
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 5 (1998 est.)
With paved runways total: 2
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1 (1998 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 3
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3 (1998 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 2
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1 (1998 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 3
914 to 1523 m: 3 (1998 est.)



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine
Total: 21 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 75,585 GRT/115,590 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 18, container 1, oil tanker 1, short-sea passenger 1 (1998 est.)

Ports and terminals

Maldives - Transnational issues 1999
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Qatar Airways

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