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Maldives

  • Capital Malé (4°10´N, 73°30´E)
  • International airport(s) Velana International Airport, also known as Malé International Airport, Malé
  • Official language(s) Maldivian (Dhivehi)
  • Currency Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
  • Time UTC +5
  • Region Atlantic and Indian Ocean
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
The Maldives consists of 1 192 coral islands, grouped in 26 ring‐shaped clusters or atolls, along the Equator, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. About 99 per cent of the Maldives' territory is open ocean. It is one of the smallest Asian countries with a land area of 300 km2. The atolls and islands run in a north south direction and are scattered over a vast area of 90 000 km2, making the Maldives one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world.

The atolls sit atop a 960 km long submarine mountain range, called the Laccadives‐Chagos Ridge. Safe navigation of vessels from one side of the Indian Ocean to the other is only possible towards the southern end of the country or through its territorial waters, where there are two open channels through the natural coral barricade to the open sea.

The Maldives is the world's flattest and lowest‐lying country. The average ground level of the islands is 1.5 m above sea level. This makes the islands extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels due to global warning.
Maldives has a warm and humid tropical climate affected by its proximity to the Equator as well as the large South Asian landmass to the north. Two seasons dominate the Maldives' weather: the wet, rainy season which is brought by the southwest monsoon, and the dry season which is marked by the winter northeast monsoon. The monthly average temperatures vary very little around 28 °C -—
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. Humidity is relatively high, around 80 per cent, and stable throughout the year. The average annual rainfall is generally below 2 400 mm: It is more abundant in the south than in the northern atolls. Due to the climate change, the Maldives has been experiencing greater variations in rainfall patters, especially in the northern atolls, where dry seasons are becoming longer than usual, leading to shortages of fresh water. The Baa Atoll, comprised of 75 islands, was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2011 by UNESCO.
Since early 2000s, the Maldives have more than tripled its GDP per capita to reach almost US$11 000 in 2019, current prices. The economy is driven by commerce, travel and tourism with the service sector accounting for almost 80 per cent of GDP. -—
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The contribution of travel and tourism to the economy is significant in the Maldives with inbound tourism expenditure at 55 per cent over GDP in 2019 -—
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. Fisheries, boat building and boat repairing are important employment sectors. Tuna is the predominant catch, and accounts for the bulk of exports. Apart from boat building, industry in the Maldives consists of garment production and handicrafts, such as the making of coir (coconut‐husk fibre) and coir products. The main export destinations include Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States of America, Germany and France.

Recently, the country has been conducting large public infrastructure projects and new resort investments. Construction, therefore, accounts for about 10 per cent of GDP -—
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. Higher imports associated with these investments worsened the country's external position despite strong tourism receipts prior to the global pandemic of 2020. Among the most ambitious recent projects is the 2.1 km China‐Maldives Friendship Bridge, funded by China, which opened in August 2018. It is the first cross‐sea bridge connecting the Maldivian capital of Malé with neighboring Hulhule and Hulhumalé Islands.
The name 'Maldives' may originate from 'Maale Dhivehi Raajje' ('The Island Kingdom Malé'). The island nation was identified with its capital Maale, and the locals were called Maldivian Dhivehin. Other scholars argue that the name 'Maldives' derives from the Sanskrit maladvipa, meaning 'garland of islands,' or from mahila dvipa, meaning 'island of women'.

The Maldivian ethnic identity is a mixture of Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Indonesian, Arab and even African cultures. A traditional Maldivian dance‐song, dating back to the 11th century, the Boduberu, which means 'Big (bodu) Drums (beru)', illustrates African influence on the culture and traditions of Maldivians.

Traditional Maldivian cuisine, also known as Dhivehi cuisine, is highly impacted by the Indian and Sri Lankan origins of the Maldivians. The inhabitants of the Maldives use a lot of peppers, chilis and curry in their cooking. Tuna is often the main component of Maldivian meals. Particularly popular is skipjack tuna, tuna frigate and yellowfin tuna, grilled or barbequed.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls30325
Median time in port (days)24
Average age of vessels217
Average size (GT) of vessels10 23225
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)2016..
Human development index20180.7
Human assets index202087
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)201697.3
Gender inequality index20190.4
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports1621982403616.4
Merchandise imports7451 0911 8962 88851.2
Services exports3231 8102 9053 42160.6
Services imports2134518751 32423.5
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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