Maldives Population: 392,960

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 History
A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. 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 political demonstrations in the capital Male in August 2003, the president and his government pledged to embark upon a process of liberalization and 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. President NASHEED faced a number of challenges including strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests following his sacking of a top judge, NASHEED resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. In mid-2012, a Commission of National Inquiry was set by the government to probe events leading up to NASHEED's resignation. Though the commission found no evidence of a coup, the report recommended the need to strengthen the country's democratic institutions to avert similar events in the future, and to further investigate alleged police misconduct during the crisis. Maldivian officials have played a prominent role in international climate change discussions (due to the islands' vulnerability to rising sea-level) on the UN Human Rights Council and in other international forums, as well as in encouraging regional cooperation, especially between India and Pakistan.

 Geography
Smallest Asian country; archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Geographic coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E
Area: total: 298 sq km
land: 298 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: 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:
Natural resources: fish
Land use: agricultural land: 23.3% arable land 10%; permanent crops 10%; permanent pasture 3.3% forest: 3%
other: 73.7% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: tsunamis; low elevation of islands makes them sensitive to sea level rise
Current Environment Issues: depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; coral reef bleaching
International Environment 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
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 People
Nationality: noun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian
Ethnic groups: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Languages: Dhivehi (official, dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English (spoken by most government officials)
Religions: Sunni Muslim (official)
Population: 392,960 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.21% (male 42,513/female 40,824)
15-24 years: 21.29% (male 48,319/female 35,360)
25-54 years: 47.63% (male 107,152/female 80,031)
55-64 years: 5.48% (male 10,749/female 10,799)
65 years and over: 4.38% (male 8,012/female 9,201) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 47.4%
youth dependency ratio: 40.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
potential support ratio: 14.4% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 27.8 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 27.8 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.07% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 16 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 3.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -12.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 45.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: MALE (capital) 156,000 (2014)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.37 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.34 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 23.9 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 22.9 deaths/1,000 live births male: 25.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.6 years male: 73.3 years
female: 78 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.73 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 34.7% (2009)
Health expenditures: 13.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 1.42 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 4.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 97.9% of population
total: 98.6% of population

unimproved:
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 2.1% of population
total: 1.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 98.3% of population
total: 97.9% of population

unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 1.7% of population
total: 2.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: fewer than 100 (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 100 (2013 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 7% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 17.8% (2009)
Education expenditures: 5.7% of GDP (2015)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.3%
male: 99.8%
female: 98.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 25.4% male: 29.1%
female: 21.4% (2010 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
conventional short form: Maldives
local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
etymology: archipelago apparently named after the main island (and capital) of Male; the word "Maldives" means "the islands (dives) of Male"; alternatively, the name may derive from the Sanskrit word "maladvipa" meaning "garland of islands"; Dhivehi Raajje in Maldivian means "Kingdom of the Dhivehi people"
Government type: presidential 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: 7 provinces and 1 municipality*; Dhekunu (South), Maale*, Mathi Dhekunu (Upper South), Mathi Uthuru (Upper North), Medhu (Central), Medhu Dhekunu (South Central), Medhu Uthuru (North Central), Uthuru (North)
Independence: 26 July 1965 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Constitution: many previous; latest ratified 7 August 2008; amended 2015 (2016)
Legal system: Islamic religious legal system with English common law influences, primarily in commercial matters
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Abdulla JIHAD (since 21 June 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; Vice President Ahmed ADHEEB Abdul Ghafoor (since 22 July 2015) was removed from office 5 November 2015

head of government: President Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (since 17 November 2013); Vice President Abdulla JIHAD (since 22 June 2016); note - Vice President Ahmed ADHEEB Abdul Ghafoor (since 22 July 2015) was removed from office 5 November 2015

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); the election held on 7 September 2013 was annulled by the Supreme Court; rerun of first round held on 9 November 2013 and a runoff held on 16 November (next election to be held in 2018)

election results: first round - percent of vote - Mohamed NASHEED (MDP) 46.9%, Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (PPM) 29.7%, Qasim IBRAHIM (JP) 23.3%; runoff second round - percent of vote - Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom elected president 51.4%, Mohamed NASHEED 48.6%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament or People's Majlis (85 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 22 March 2014 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote - MDP 40.8%, MDP 27.7%, JP 13.6%, MDA 4.0%, AP 2.7% other 0.3%, independent 10.9%; seats by party - PPM 33, MDP 26, JP 15, MDA 5, AP 1, independent 5
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 judges) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission - a separate 10-member body of selected high government officials and the public - and upon confirmation by voting members of the People's Majlis; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: High Court; Criminal, Civil, Family, Juvenile, and Drug Courts; Magistrate Courts (on each of the inhabited islands)
Political parties and leaders: Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA] Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed Shiyam Mohamed] Maldavian Democratic Party or MDP [Ali WAHEED] Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM] Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: various unregistered political parties
International organization participation: ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): coconut palm, yellowfin tuna; national colors: red, green, white
National anthem: name: "Gaumee Salaam" (National Salute)
lyrics/music: Mohamed Jameel DIDI/Wannakuwattawaduge DON AMARADEVA

note: lyrics adopted 1948, music adopted 1972; between 1948 and 1972, the lyrics were sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne"
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed SAREER (since 11 January 2013)
chancery: 801 Second Avenue, Suite 202E, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6194 and 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 is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits
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 Economy
Maldives has rapidly grown into a middle-income country, driven by tourism development. In 2015, the economy’s growth slowed to 4.8%, mainly due to lower tourism sector growth as tourist arrivals from China declined. However, the slowdown is expected to reverse in 2016. Tourism, construction, transport, and the communications sector accounted for 50% of the output on average. Tourism-related tax receipts increased by 13% in 2015 due to higher tax rates. This increase in dollar tax receipts directly led to higher usable reserves in 2015. The current account deficit widened to $400 million in 2015 due to increases in construction related imports. A large and growing fiscal deficit remains an ongoing economic challenge. In July 2015, Maldives’ Parliament passed a constitutional amendment legalizing foreign ownership of land; foreign land-buyers must reclaim at least 70% of the desired land from the ocean and invest at least $1 billion in a construction project approved by Parliament. Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, increasing employment opportunities, and combating corruption, cronyism, and a growing drug problem are near-term 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): GDP (purchasing power parity): $5.407 billion (2016 est.) $5.249 billion (2015 est.) $5.171 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $3.27 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2016 est.) 1.5% (2015 est.) 6.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $15,300 (2016 est.) $15,100 (2015 est.) $15,100 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 8.1% of GDP (2016 est.) 10.5% of GDP (2015 est.) 16.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: NA%
government consumption: NA%
investment in fixed capital: NA%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 108.2%
imports of goods and services: 89.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: NA%
government consumption: NA%
investment in fixed capital: NA%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 108.2%
imports of goods and services: 89.3% (2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
Industries: tourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
Industrial production growth rate: 14% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 195,100 (2014)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 15%
industry: 15%
services: 70% (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate: 11.6% (2013 est.) 11% (2012 est.)
Population below poverty line: 16% (2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 33.3% (FY09/10)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 37.4 (2004 est.)
Budget: revenues: $960 million
expenditures: $1.156 billion (2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 29.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
Public debt: 72.8% of GDP (2014) 66.7% of GDP (2013)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (2016 est.) 1.4% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$389 million (2016 est.) -$296 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $300.9 million (2014 est.) $331 million (2013 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish
Exports - partners: Thailand 18%, France 12.1%, Germany 10.7%, US 9.6%, Italy 6.8%, UK 6.4%, Sri Lanka 5.9%, Japan 4.6% (2015)
Imports: $1.993 billion (2014 est.) $1.733 billion (2013 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
Imports - partners: UAE 18.4%, Singapore 13.8%, China 10.6%, India 10.4%, Malaysia 7%, Sri Lanka 5.6%, Thailand 5% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $627.4 million (31 December 2014 est.) $381.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
Debt - external: $741.6 million (2014 est.) $792.2 million (2013 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $555 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Exchange rates: rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar - 15.25 (2016 est.) 15.25 (2015)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 82,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 7,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 10,760 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 1.2 million Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 740,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 188 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: telephone services have improved; inter-atoll 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 has reached over 180 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) (2015)
Broadcast media: state-owned radio and TV monopoly until recently; state-owned TV operates 2 channels; 3 privately owned TV stations; state owns Voice of Maldives and operates both an entertainment and a music-based station; 5 privately owned radio stations (2012)
Internet country code: .mv
Internet users: total: 214,000 percent of population: 54.5% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 9 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 7
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 88 km
paved roads: 88 km - 60 km in Male; 14 km on Addu Atolis; 14 km on Laamu

note: island roads are mainly compacted coral (2013)
Merchant marine: total 18

by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 14, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2

foreign-owned: 4 (Singapore 4)

registered in other countries: 4 (Panama 2, Tuvalu 1, unknown 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Male
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 Military
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)
Military branches: Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Marine Corps, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-28 years of age for voluntary service; no conscription; 10th grade or equivalent education required; must not be a member of a political party (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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