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By Exit Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Maldives
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Map of Maldives
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. Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM - currently in his sixth term in office - has dominated the islands' political scene. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government have pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
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
land: 300 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: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: 16.67%
other: 70% (2001)

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 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:349,106 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 43.9% (male 78,794/female 74,505)
15-64 years: 53% (male 94,488/female 90,624)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 5,339/female 5,356) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 17.69 years
male: 17.58 years
female: 17.8 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:2.82% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:35.43 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.24 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 56.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 57.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 64.06 years
male: 62.76 years
female: 65.42 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:5.02 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:less than 100 (2001 est.)
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: 97.2%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.3% (2003 est.)

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
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 1 January 1998
Legal system:based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president nominated by the Majlis and then the 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 17 October 2003 (next to be held NA 2008)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected in referendum held 17 October 2003; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.3%

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 22 January 2005 (next to be held NA 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 50

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, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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 - 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. 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 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 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. In late December 2004, a major tsunami claimed 82 lives in the Maldives and caused extensive destruction of property.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $1.25 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2.3% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $3,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 20%
industry: 18%
services: 62% (2000 est.)

Labor force:88,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 22%, industry 18%, services 60% (1995)
Unemployment rate:NEGL% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):1% (2002 est.)
Budget:revenues: $224 million (excluding foreign grants)
expenditures: $282 million, including capital expenditures of $80 million (2002 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:4.4% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:124.4 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:115.7 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:3,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Exports:$90 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:fish, clothing
Exports - partners:US 40.4%, Thailand 14.6%, Sri Lanka 9.5%, Japan 8.6%, UK 8.2% (2004)
Imports:$392 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, textiles, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
Imports - partners:Singapore 32.9%, Sri Lanka 11%, India 8.2%, UAE 7.2%, Malaysia 6.4%, Thailand 5.2% (2004)
Debt - external:$281 million (2003 est.)
Currency (code):rufiyaa (MVR)
Currency code:MVR
Exchange rates:rufiyaa per US dollar - 12.8 (2004), 12.8 (2003), 12.8 (2002), 12.24 (2001), 11.77 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones - main lines in use:28,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:41,900 (2002)
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: country code - 960; satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

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
Internet hosts:532 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2000)
Internet users:15,000 (2002)
Highways:total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors:Male
Merchant marine:total: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 57,118 GRT/72,831 DWT
by type: cargo 12, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1
registered in other countries: 1 (2005)

Airports:5 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2004 est.)

Military branches:National Security Service includes Security Branch (ground forces), Air Element, Coast Guard
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 71,774 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 56,687 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$41.1 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:5.5% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none
Refugees and internally displaced persons::IDPs: 12,000 (26 December 2004 tsunami victims) (2005)

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