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Maldives Historical and Political Profile

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Maldives Index

  • Maldives-Tourism
  • Maldives-Ethnic Groups and Language
  • Maldives-Human Rights
  • Maldives-Employment
  • Maldives-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Maldives-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Maldives -Chapter 5 - Maldives
  • Maldives-Human Rights
  • Maldives-Health Conditions HEALTH
  • Maldives-Economic Aid
  • Maldives-INDIAN OCEAN -- Maldives
  • Maldives-Trade
  • Maldives-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Maldives-Security Concerns COMOROS
  • Maldives-Security Concerns MAURITIUS
  • Maldives-Penal System
  • Maldives-Introducation
  • Maldives-Physiography PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
  • Maldives-The Military and the Government
  • Maldives-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Maldives-Penal System
  • Maldives-Human Rights
  • Maldives-Seychelles People's Defense Forces
  • Maldives-Security Concerns SEYCHELLES
  • Maldives-State Security Services
  • Maldives-Transportation and Communications
  • Maldives-Foreign Relations
  • Maldives-Climate
  • Maldives-Population SOCIETY
  • Maldives-Budget
  • Maldives-RELIGION
  • Maldives-Constitution GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
  • Maldives-Politics
  • Maldives-Preface
  • Maldives-The Military and the Government
  • Maldives-Training and Morale
  • Maldives-Security Concerns MADAGASCAR
  • Maldives-Forces Armées Populaires
  • Maldives-Human Rights
  • Maldives-SOCIETY
  • Maldives-ECONOMY
  • Maldives-Media
  • Maldives-Foreword
  • Maldives-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Maldives-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Maldives-Acknowledgments
  • Maldives-Penal System
  • Maldives-Social Structure
  • Maldives-State Security Services
  • Maldives-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Maldives-State Security Services
  • Maldives-Training and Morale
  • Maldives-Gross Domestic Product ECONOMY
  • Maldives-Security Concerns MALDIVES
  • Maldives-Penal System
  • Maldives-Currency and Banking
  • Maldives-Penal System
  • Maldives-Health Care
  • Maldives
  • Maldives-Human Rights
  • Maldives
  • Maldives
  • Maldives-Special Mobile Force
  • Maldives
  • Maldives
  • BackgroundThe 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.
    LocationSouthern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
    Area(sq km)total: 298 sq km
    land: 298 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    Geographic coordinates3 15 N, 73 00 E
    Land boundaries(km)0 km

    Coastline(km)644 km

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

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m
    Natural resourcesfish
    Land use(%)arable land: 13.33%
    permanent crops: 30%
    other: 56.67% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)NA
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)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 hazardstsunamis; low elevation of islands makes them sensitive to sea level rise
    Environment - current issuesdepletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching
    Environment - international agreementsparty 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 - note1,190 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
    Population396,334 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 22.3% (male 45,038/female 43,291)
    15-64 years: 73.8% (male 180,874/female 111,703)
    65 years and over: 3.9% (male 7,711/female 7,717) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 25.7 years
    male: 26.5 years
    female: 24.3 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)-0.168% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)14.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)3.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-12.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 38% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 5.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.62 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.44 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 29.53 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 32.04 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 26.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 73.97 years
    male: 71.78 years
    female: 76.28 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.9 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: 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

    Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Maldives
    conventional short form: Maldives
    local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
    local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
    Government typerepublic
    Capitalname: Male
    geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E
    time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and 1 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
    Constitutionnew constitution ratified 7 August 2008

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

    Suffrage21 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief 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 appointed by the president
    elections: under the new constitution, the president is elected by direct vote; president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 and 28 October 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
    election results: Mohamed NASHEED elected president; percent of vote - NASHEED 54.25%, Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 45.75%

    Legislative branchunicameral 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 9 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: percent of vote - DRP 36.8%, MDP 32.9 %, PA 9.2%, DQP 2.6% AP 1.3%, independents 17.1%; seats by party - DRP 28, MDP 25, PA 7, DQP 2, AP 1, independents 13; note - one seat unfilled

    Judicial branchSupreme 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 pressure groups and leadersother: various unregistered political parties
    International organization participationADB, 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
    Flag descriptionred 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 - overviewTourism, Maldives' largest industry, 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. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 7% of GDP. 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. Real GDP growth averaged over 7.5% per year for more than a decade. In late December 2004, a major tsunami left more than 100 dead, 12,000 displaced, and property damage exceeding $300 million. As a result of the tsunami, the GDP contracted by about 4.6% in 2005. A rebound in tourism, post-tsunami reconstruction, and development of new resorts helped the economy recover quickly, with GDP growth registering 18% in 2006. Growth slowed in 2007-08, but remained above 5% per year. The trade deficit expanded sharply as a result of high oil prices and imports of construction material. Government spending on social needs, subsidies, and civil servant salaries have created a large budget deficit and inflation has picked up sharply, reaching nearly 13% in October 2008 due to high oil and food prices. Diversifying beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, and increasing employment are the 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)$1.723 billion (2008 est.)
    $1.628 billion (2007 est.)
    $1.519 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$1.261 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)5.8% (2008 est.)
    7.2% (2007 est.)
    18% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,500 (2008 est.)
    $4,500 (2007 est.)
    $4,400 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 7%
    industry: 17%
    services: 76% (2006 est.)
    Labor force136,100 (2007)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 22%
    industry: 18%
    services: 60% (1995)
    Unemployment rate(%)14.4% (2006 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)21% (2004)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    Budgetrevenues: $762 million (including foreign grants)
    expenditures: $884 million (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)12.8% (October 2008 est.)
    5% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$475.2 million (31 December 2008)
    $344.1 million (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$487.8 million (31 December 2008)
    $434.9 million (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$1.548 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.08 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
    Economic aid - recipient$66.83 million (2005)

    Agriculture - productscoconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
    Industriestourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining

    Industrial production growth rate(%)-0.9% (2004 est.)

    Current account balance-$638 million (2008 est.)
    -$472 million (2007 est.)
    Exports$113 million (2008 est.)
    $167 million (2006 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)fish
    Exports - partners(%)Thailand 34.4%, UK 13.8%, France 12.2%, Italy 9%, Sri Lanka 8.5% (2008)
    Imports$1.276 billion (2008 est.)
    $930 million (2006 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
    Imports - partners(%)Singapore 27.2%, UAE 16.9%, Malaysia 9.7%, India 7.7%, Thailand 4.9%, Sri Lanka 4.6%, Germany 4.1% (2008)

    Debt - external$477 million (2008 est.)
    $482 million (2006 est.)

    Exchange ratesrufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar - 12.8 (2008), 12.8 (2007), 12.8 (2006), 12.8 (2005), 12.8 (2004)

    Currency (code)rufiyaa (MVR)

    Telephones - main lines in use50,396 (2009)
    Telephones - mobile cellular450,500 (2009)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: telephone services have improved; 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
    domestic: interatoll communication through microwave links; all inhabited islands and resorts are connected with telephone and fax service
    international: country code - 960; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2009)
    Internet country code.mv
    Internet users71,700 (2008)
    Airports5 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 88 km
    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)

    Ports and terminalsMale
    Military branchesMaldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Rapid Reaction Force, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2009)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 89,505
    females age 16-49: 85,745 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 138,746
    females age 16-49: 82,247 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 4,576
    female: 3,942 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
    Military - notethe 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 - internationalnone

    Refugees and internally displaced personsIDPs: 1,000-10,000 (December 2004 tsunami victims) (2007)
    Electricity - production(kWh)205 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)190.7 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)6,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)5,406 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.1% (2001 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSfewer than 100 (2001 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
    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)(years)total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 12 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)8% of GDP (2006)

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