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Maldives (2008)

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Maldives 2008 year

Administrative divisions 19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and the 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
Age structure 0-14 years: 42.9% (male 81,383/female 76,984)

15-64 years: 54% (male 101,699/female 97,518)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 5,619/female 5,828) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes; fish
Airports 5 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 3

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)
Area total: 300 sq km

land: 300 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC
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 pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress has been slow, however, and many promised reforms have been slow to come to fruition. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. A constituent assembly - termed the "special majlis" - has pledged to complete the drafting of a new constitution by the end of 2007 and first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system are slated for November 2008. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
Birth rate 34.2 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $508 million (including foreign grants)

expenditures: $671 million (2006 est.)
Capital name: Male

geographic coordinates: 4 10 N, 73 30 E

time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
Coastline 644 km
Constitution adopted 1 January 1998
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Maldives

conventional short form: Maldives

local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa

local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
Death rate 6.88 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $482 million (2006 est.)
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
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)

chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6194

FAX: [1] (212) 599-6195
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - recipient $66.83 million (2005)
Economy - overview Tourism, Maldives' largest industry, accounts for 28% 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 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 3.6% in 2005. A rebound in tourism, post-tsunami reconstruction, and development of new resorts helped the economy recover quickly. The trade deficit has expanded sharply as a result of high oil prices and imports of construction material. Diversifying beyond tourism and fishing 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 one meter or less above sea level.
Electricity - consumption 157.1 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 169 million kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m
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, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Exchange rates rufiyaa per US dollar - NA (2007), 12.8 (2006), 12.8 (2005), 12.8 (2004), 12.8 (2003)
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)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president nominated by the Majlis; 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 in 2008)

election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected in referendum held 17 October 2003; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.3%
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $167 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 1,517 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities fish
Exports - partners Thailand 33.1%, UK 14.3%, Sri Lanka 11.9%, Japan 10.3%, France 6.9%, Algeria 6.1% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
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
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 16%

industry: 7%

services: 77% (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 5.5% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 3 15 N, 73 00 E
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
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $930 million f.o.b. (2006)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 6,390 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
Imports - partners Singapore 23.2%, UAE 15.8%, India 11.1%, Malaysia 7.9%, Thailand 6.9%, Sri Lanka 5.6% (2006)
Independence 26 July 1965 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate -0.9% (2004 est.)
Industries tourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining
Infant mortality rate total: 53.25 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 52.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 54.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6% (2005 est.)
International organization participation ADB, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Irrigated land NA
Judicial branch High Court
Labor force 101,300 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 22%

industry: 18%

services: 60% (1995)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 13.33%

permanent crops: 30%

other: 56.67% (2005)
Languages Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Legal system based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral People's Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held 22 January 2005 (next to be held in 2010)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 50
Life expectancy at birth total population: 64.76 years

male: 63.41 years

female: 66.19 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.3%

male: 96.2%

female: 96.4% (2000 census)
Location Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Map references Asia
Maritime claims measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Merchant marine total: 22 ships (1000 GRT or over) 85,935 GRT/114,054 DWT

by type: cargo 17, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2

foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1)

registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 1, Tuvalu 1) (2007)
Military - note Maldives has no regular armed forces; the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) includes ground forces, the Coast Guard, and a small, undermanned air element; with its small size and with little servable equipment, the MNDF 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 (2007)
Military branches Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Quick Reaction Force, Security Protection Group, Coast Guard (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 5.5% (2005 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Nationality noun: Maldivian(s)

adjective: Maldivian
Natural hazards low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise
Natural resources fish
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Abdul Majeed Abdul BARI]; Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]; Islamic Democratic Party or IDP [Omar NASEER]; Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mohamed NASHEED]; note - political parties were allowed to register in June 2005
Political pressure groups and leaders various unregistered political parties
Population 369,031 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 21% (2004)
Population growth rate 2.732% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
Religions Sunni Muslim
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.057 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.043 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.964 male(s)/female

total population: 1.046 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 21 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: telephone services have improved; each island now has at least 1 public telephone, and there are mobile cellular networks with rapidly expanding subscribership

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)
Telephones - main lines in use 32,500 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 262,600 (2006)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2006)
Terrain flat, with white sandy beaches
Total fertility rate 4.78 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate NEGL% (2003 est.)
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