Maldives Population: 392,473


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A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. The islands became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated Maldives' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following political demonstrations in the capital Male in August 2003, GAYOOM and his government pledged to embark upon a process of liberalization and democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution ratified by GAYOOM in August 2008. 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 GAYOOM regime. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests in response to his ordering the arrest of a top judge, NASHEED purportedly resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. A government-appointed Commission of National Inquiry concluded there was no evidence of a coup, but NASHEED contends that police and military personnel forced him to resign. NASHEED, WAHEED, and Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom ran in the 2013 elections with YAMEEN ultimately winning the presidency after three rounds of voting. As president, YAMEEN weakened democratic institutions, curtailed civil liberties, jailed his political opponents, restricted the press, and exerted control over the judiciary to strengthen his hold on power and limit dissent. In September 2018, YAMEEN lost his reelection bid to Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH, a parliamentarian of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who had the support of a coalition of four parties that came together to defeat YAMEEN and restore democratic norms to Maldives. In April 2019, SOLIH's MDP won 65 of 87 seats in parliament.

    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: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
Terrain: flat, with white sandy beaches
Natural resources: fish
Land use: agricultural land: 23.3% (2011 est.) arable land: 10% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 10% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 3.3% (2011 est.) forest: 3% (2011 est.)
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; inadequate sewage treatment; 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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Nationality: noun: Maldivian(s)
adjective: Maldivian
Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, Australasian, and African resulting from historical changes in regional hegemony over marine trade routes
Languages: Dhivehi (official, dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English (spoken by most government officials)
Religions: Sunni Muslim (official)
Population: 392,473 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.62% (male 43,293 /female 41,563)
15-24 years: 19.15% (male 42,849 /female 32,326)
25-54 years: 48.47% (male 106,083 /female 84,160)
55-64 years: 6.22% (male 11,888 /female 12,540)
65 years and over: 4.53% (male 8,101 /female 9,670) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 38 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 32.3 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 17.7 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 28.6 years
male: 28.4 years
female: 28.8 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.06% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 16.1 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -12.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 39.8% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 2.93% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 177,000 MALE (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.33 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.26 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.18 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 24.5 years (2009 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Maternal mortality rate: 68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 21.3 deaths/1,000 live births male: 23.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76 years male: 73.7 years
female: 78.5 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.72 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 34.7% (2009)
Physicians density: 1.04 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
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

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 (2015 est.)
rural: 98.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 97.9% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 2.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 8.6% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 17.7% (2009)
Education expenditures: 4.3% of GDP (2016)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 99.3%
male: 99.8%
female: 98.8% (2015 est.) Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 15.9% male: 19.1% female: 12.1% (2016 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
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 Dhivehi 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)
etymology: derived from the Sanskrit word "mahaalay" meaning "big house"
Administrative divisions: 21 administrative atolls (atholhuthah, singular - atholhu); Addu (Addu City), Ariatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Ari Atoll), Ariatholhu Uthuruburi (North Ari Atoll), Faadhippolhu, Felidhuatholhu (Felidhu Atoll), Fuvammulah, Hahdhunmathi, Huvadhuatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Huvadhu Atoll), Huvadhuatholhu Uthuruburi (North Huvadhu Atoll), Kolhumadulu, Maale (Male), Maaleatholhu (Male Atoll), Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (South Maalhosmadulu), Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi (North Maalhosmadulu), Miladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi (South Miladhunmadulu), Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi (North Miladhunmadulu), Mulakatholhu (Mulaku Atoll), Nilandheatholhu Dhekunuburi (South Nilandhe Atoll), Nilandheatholhu Uthuruburi (North Nilandhe Atoll), Thiladhunmathee Dhekunuburi (South Thiladhunmathi), Thiladhunmathee Uthuruburi (North Thiladhunmathi)
Independence: 26 July 1965 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Constitution: history: many previous; latest ratified 7 August 2008 amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote by its membership and the signature of the president of the republic; passage of amendments to constitutional articles on rights and freedoms and the terms of office of Parliament and of the president also requires a majority vote in a referendum; amended 2015 (2018)
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 Ibrahim "Ibu" Mohamed SOLIH (since 17 November 2018); Vice President Faisal NASEEM (since 17 November 2018); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (since 17 November 2018); Vice President Faisal NASEEM (since 17 November 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by Parliament 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); election last held on 23 September 2018 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH elected president (in 1 round); Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH (MDP) 58.3%, Abdulla YAMEEN Abdul Gayoom (PPM) 41.7%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament or People's Majlis (87 seats - includes 2 seats added by the Elections Commission in late 2018; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 April 2019 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: percent of vote - MDP 44.7%, JP 10.8%, PPM 8.7%, PNC 6.4%, MDA 2.8%, other 5.6%, independent 21%; seats by party - MDP 65, JP 5, PPM 5, PNC 3, MDA 2, independent 7; composition - men 83, women 4, percent of women 4.6%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission - a 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] Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Mohamed NASHEED] Maldives Labor and Social Democratic Party or MLSDP [Ahmed SHIHAM] Maldives Third Way Democrats or MTD [Ahmed ADEEB] People's National Congress or PNC [Abdul Raheem ABDULLA] (formed in early 2019) Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Abdulla YAMEEN] Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]
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 THILMEEZA Hussain (since 8 July 2019)
chancery: 801 Second Avenue, Suite 400E, 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; US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alaina TEPLITZ (since 1 November 2018), is accredited to both countries the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Atul KESHAP (since 21 August 2015), is accredited to Maldives
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Maldives has quickly become a middle-income country, driven by the rapid growth of its tourism and fisheries sectors, but the country still contends with a large and growing fiscal deficit. Infrastructure projects, largely funded by China, could add significantly to debt levels. Political turmoil and the declaration of a state of emergency in February 2018 led to the issuance of travel warnings by several countries whose citizens visit Maldives in significant numbers, but the overall impact on tourism revenue was unclear. In 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): $6.901 billion (2017 est.) $6.583 billion (2016 est.) $6.3 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $4.505 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.8% (2017 est.) 4.5% (2016 est.) 2.2% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $19,200 (2017 est.) $18,600 (2016 est.) $18,100 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 0.5% of GDP (2017 est.) -4.5% of GDP (2016 est.) 12.6% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: n/a (2016 est.) government consumption: n/a (2016 est.) investment in fixed capital: n/a (2016 est.) investment in inventories: n/a (2016 est.) exports of goods and services: 93.6% (2016 est.) imports of goods and services: 89% (2016 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 3% (2015 est.) industry: 16% (2015 est.) services: 81% (2015 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: 222,200 (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 7.7%
industry: 22.8%
services: 69.5% (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.9% (2017 est.) 3.2% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 15% (2009 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 33.3% (FY09/10)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 38.4 (2009 est.) 37.4 (2004 est.)
Budget: revenues: 1.19 billion (2016 est.)
expenditures: 1.643 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 26.4% (of GDP) (2016 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -10.1% (of GDP) (2016 est.)
Public debt: 63.9% of GDP (2017 est.) 61.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (2017 est.) 0.8% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$876 million (2017 est.) -$1.033 billion (2016 est.)
Exports: $256.2 million (2016 est.) $239.8 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish
Exports - partners: Thailand 42.8%, Sri Lanka 8.7%, Bangladesh 6.4%, France 6.2%, US 6.1%, Germany 5%, Ireland 4.6% (2017)
Imports: $2.125 billion (2016 est.) $1.896 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
Imports - partners: UAE 17.1%, India 13.5%, Singapore 13.3%, China 10.8%, Sri Lanka 6.7%, Malaysia 6%, Thailand 4.5% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $477.9 million (31 December 2016 est.) $575.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $848.8 million (31 December 2016 est.) $696.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $324 million (31 December 2015) $256 million (31 December 2013)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $448 million (31 December 2016 est.) $307.7 million (31 December 2015)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $555 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Exchange rates: rufiyaa (MVR) per US dollar - 15.42 (2017 est.) 15.35 (2016 est.)
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Electricity - production: 402 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 373.9 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 278,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 96% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 4% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 11,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 10,840 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 1.648 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 900,120
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 229 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: all inhabited islands and resorts are connected with telephone and fax service; two mobile operators extend LTE coverage;  tourism has strengthened the telecom market with investment; the unusually high mobile penetration rate is also helped by tourism; Internet bandwidth increased 37% in 2016; mobile penetration passes 250% (2018)

domestic: fixed-line is at 5 per 100 persons and high mobile-cellular subscriptions stands at 229 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 960; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth station - 3 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); submarine cable to Sri Lanka and India improve international bandwith and reduce access pricing for users; additional cables linking the main atolls have bolstered domestic connectivity
Broadcast media: state-owned radio and TV monopoly until recently; 4 state-operated and 7 privately owned TV stations and 4 state-operated and 7 privately owned radio stations (2019)
Internet country code: .mv
Internet users: total: 232,210
percent of population: 59.1% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 9 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 7
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 93 km
(2018) paved: 93 km - 60 km in Male; 16 km on Addu Atolis; 17 km on Laamu (2018)

note: island roads are mainly compacted coral
Merchant marine: total 67

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 27, oil tanker 15, other 24 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Male
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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 Maldives Police Service (MPS) and ensure security in the exclusive economic zone (2008)
Military branches: Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF): Marine Corps, Special Protection Group, Coast Guard (2018)
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
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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