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Maldives Economy

    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 one meter or less above sea level.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$500 million (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 5.8% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,840 (1998 est.)

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

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.3% (1996)

    Labor force: 56,435 (1990 est.)

    Labor force—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%

    Budget:
    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—production: 60 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 60 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

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

    Exports: $59 million (f.o.b., 1996)

    Exports—commodities: fish, clothing

    Exports—partners: Sri Lanka, US, Germany, Singapore, UK

    Imports: $302 million (f.o.b., 1996)

    Imports—commodities: consumer goods, intermediate and capital goods, petroleum products

    Imports—partners: Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand

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

    Economic aid—recipient: $NA

    Currency: 1 rufiyaa (Rf) = 100 laari

    Exchange rates: rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1—11.770 (1995-January 1999), 11.586 (1994), 10.957 (1993)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)