Population and Economy of the Maldives

Population of the Maldives

According to the 1995 census, the population of the Maldives was 244,644 people.

The natural increase of the population is high, in 1975-2000 an average of 3% per year. It is expected that in the next 15 years it will remain at the same level (2.9% per year). There is no migration from the Maldives. Birth rate 37.4%, death rate 7.86% (2002 est.). Child mortality 59 people per 1000 newborns (in 1970 – 157). Among children under 5 years old, 43% are underweight, 27% do not reach the average height for their age. Mortality among children of this age group is 80% (in 1970 – 255). Average life expectancy 51.4 years in 1970-75, 66.5 years in 2000, incl. women – 65.8, men – 67.3. There are 1.05 men per 1 woman. The share of young people (under 15) is 43.7%, the share of people aged 65 and over is 3.5%. 96.7% of the population over the age of 15 is literate (the proportion of literate women is somewhat higher).

Population density fluctuates dramatically. According to Countryaah, more than 3 thousand people live on 7 islands alone. The population density in Male exceeds 37 thousand people. per 1 km2. Due to the rapid growth of the population in the capital, the share of the urban population has risen from 18.1% (1975) to 27.6% (2000). This trend is expected to continue.

The people inhabiting the Maldives are the Maldivians, descended from a mixture of Dravidians, Sinhalese and Arabs. Only the trading diaspora of Indians who settled on the archipelago 200 years ago stands out clearly (their numbers are insignificant). The Dhivehi language is derived from an archaic form of the Sinhalese language; many borrowings from Arabic and Hindi; the alphabet is Arabic. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European family of languages.

The Maldivians are Sunni Muslims. The trading Indian community is Shiites.

Economy of the Maldives

GDP growth in 1990-2000 5.4% per year. National sources report that growth over the past decade has been much greater (lowest figure 6.3% in 1993, highest 16.2% in 1990). Per capita income, calculated at purchasing power parity of currencies, $4,485; GDP is estimated at $0.6 billion, and calculated at PPP – $1.2 billion (2000). The share of the Maldives in the global economy is very small.

Economically active are 52% of the population in the age group 15-64 (2000). Women make up 80% of the number of men. Employment structure: social sphere 19.2%, fishing industry 18.8, industry 18.1, service sector 10.7, transport and communications 9.5, trade 8, construction 4, agriculture 3.4, financial sector – 3 %. 19% were employed in the public sector. There are no labor laws. There is practically no unemployment. Due to the high educational level of the population, foreigners (from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka) are attracted to low-skilled jobs. Their number exceeded 27 thousand people. Problems with employment are expected in the near future due to the large proportion of children in the population.

In the 1990s The consumer price index annually grew by an average of 7.1%. Inflation tends to decrease: 15-20% (1991-93), 7.6% (1997), 3% (1998).

The largest role in the economy is played by the tertiary sector (tourism, trade and commerce, transport, communications, services), which accounts for more than 3/4 of GDP (1997). Industry contributed 14.1% of GDP, and agriculture, including fishing, 10.5%. Tourism accounts for 1/3 of GDP. For the 1990s the number of tourists doubled and amounted to more than 430 thousand people. (1999), which is almost 1.5 times the population. There are 84 resorts in the Maldives, each of which occupies an entire island. On average, tourists come for 9 days. Tourism provides direct employment for 23,000 people and accounts for 65% of exports of goods and services. The share of fishing and fish processing in GDP has fallen from 11.3% (1989) to 6.5% (1999), although the annual catch of fish is growing. There are more than 22 thousand fishermen in the Maldives. Export value of fish approx. $60 million (1999). Fishing is a completely private branch of the economy, and the state monopoly is preserved only for the export of canned and frozen tuna. Fishing fleet 1206 vessels (1999). Industry is associated primarily with fish processing, the production of clothing, souvenirs and handicrafts, with the construction of fishing boats, with weaving nets. Electricity generation (public sector) 110 million kWh.

Agriculture is poorly developed. On M. 30 km2 of land suitable for agricultural use. The main crops are coconuts, breadfruit, mangoes, papayas, lemons, bananas, pumpkins, melons, sweet potatoes and peppers. Animal husbandry, with the exception of poultry, is practically non-existent.

The main means of transport are ships and boats. The main means of transportation are local junk boats (speed – 8 miles per hour). There is no centralized movement between the islands, all resorts have their own mini-fleet. There is a small car park. There are 5 airfields in the Maldives (2 are capable of serving large passenger aircraft). There are light aircraft and helicopters. The main trading port is Male, the largest port is the island of Gan. Own fleet consists of 14 vessels, with a volume of St. 1000 tons

For 1 thousand people. there are 91 phones and 28 registered mobile phones, 1 Internet user (2000). There are 3 radio stations in the Maldives, 1 television channel. Residents have 35,000 radios and 10,000 televisions (1999).

For a long time, private initiative was poorly developed in the Maldives. In 1989, economic reform began, which provided for the gradual easing of state control over the economy. Import quotas were lifted and the private sector was allowed to export a number of products. The state began to support private and foreign capital. Great concessions were made to the latter (exemption from taxes on the import of raw materials; freedom to dispose of income and the absence of restrictions on currency exchange; the possibility of importing foreign labor; leasing land for a long period in case of large-scale projects; providing state guarantees; consent to international arbitration; permission to create enterprises wholly owned by foreign capital). However, foreign direct investment is not growing, in 1990 it was 3% of GDP, and in 2000 – 2%,

The Central Bank of the Maldives is headed by the president himself, established in 1981. The first bank that appeared in the Maldives is a branch of the State Bank of India (1974). Then there were branches of banks in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The first commercial (but state-owned) bank was the Bank of Maldives (1982).

The main tax revenues (48% of all government revenues in 1998) come from customs duties (more than 1/2 of all tax revenues) and taxes on tourism revenues (29% of all tax revenues). There is no income tax, property tax and sales tax in the Maldives. Other government revenues are derived from renting the islands for resorts (more than 30% of all government revenues), receiving foreign grants (9%), and the activities of the State Trade Organization. It was established in 1964 and gradually began to control the import of food and electrical goods, medicines, the provision of energy needs, etc. Recently, it has lost its monopoly in a number of areas.

The share of government spending in GDP is falling (from 39.3% in 1993 to 34.9% in 1998). In absolute terms, they remain at the same level (about $70 million). 30% of expenditures go to economic activities. The share of social spending fluctuates between 30 and 38% of all public spending. The share of spending on education increased sharply (from 32.3% of all spending in the social sector in 1990 to 45.6% in 1999) and on the development of backward islands (from 15.1 to 23.6%), while the share of spending on health fell (from 47 to 25.2%). Domestic debt 24% of GDP (1998). Official development assistance in 2000 amounted to $19.3 million (3.5% of GDP). External debt was estimated at $237 million (2000). The repayment of external debts is 3.6% of GDP.

Incomes of the population tend to increase. The income of men is much higher than that of women (calculated at the purchasing power parity of the currency, $5,582 and $3,329, respectively). The poverty line is set at $51 per month, and almost 40% of people in rural areas are poor. OK. 30 thousand people had an income of less than $20 per month (1998). In cities, 4,500 people were classified as poor.

The Human Development Index is steadily growing: in 2000 it was 0.743. The Maldives ranks 84th in the world on this indicator, ahead of all other countries in South Asia.

Foreign economic activity plays a fundamental role. Imports of goods account for 55–61% of GDP, while exports have been declining: 36% of GDP in 1990 and only 19% in 1998. Imports amounted to $372 million and were four times higher than exports ($88 million) (2000). The main export items are fish and clothing. 46% of exports are processed products. Main export partners: USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Japan. Imported – consumer goods, engineering products, petroleum products. The main import partners are Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Canada.

People of Maldives