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Map of 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

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:
exclusive economic zone: 35-310 nm as defined by geographic coordinates; segment of zone coincides with maritime boundary with India
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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili 24 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 84% (1993 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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

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


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Population: 290,211 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 47% (male 70,244; female 66,758)
15-64 years: 50% (male 73,784; female 70,539)
65 years and over: 3% (male 4,735; female 4,151) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.42% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 40.12 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.14 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 41.12 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.57 years
male: 65.87 years
female: 69.35 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.84 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian

Ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, African

Religions: Sunni Muslim

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.2%
male: 93.3%
female: 93% (1995 est.)


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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

Data code: MV

Government type: republic

National capital: Male (Maale)

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: 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

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 Majilis
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: although political parties are not banned, none exist

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, 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

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


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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 three feet or less above sea level.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$500 million (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6.2% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 22%
industry: 15%
services: 63% (1994 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6.3% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 56,435 (1990 est.)
by occupation: fishing industry and agriculture 25%, services 21%, manufacturing and construction 21%, trade, restaurants, and hotels 16%, transportation and communication 10%, other 7%

Unemployment rate: NEGL%

revenues: $88 million (excluding foreign grants)
expenditures: $141 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1995 est.)

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.)

Electricity—capacity: 14,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 50 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 191 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fishing

total value: $59 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: fish, clothing
partners: Sri Lanka, US, Germany, Singapore, UK

total value: $302 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods, petroleum products
partners: Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand

Debt—external: $179 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 rufiyaa (Rf) = 100 laari

Exchange rates: rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1—11.770 (1995-January 1998), 11.586 (1994), 10.957 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 8,523 (1992 est.)

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)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 28,284 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 7,309 (1992 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

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

Ports and harbors: Gan, Male

Merchant marine:
total: 20 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 70,703 GRT/108,485 DWT
ships by type: cargo 17, container 1, oil tanker 1, short-sea passenger 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)




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