The Maldives Investment Climate Statement

February 2009

Maldives is comprised of over 1,190 islands, of which 198 are inhabited and 95 are exclusive resort islands. The population is approximately 300,000, 103,000 of which live on the capital island of Male. There are an additional, on average, 80,000 expatriate workers. More than 680,000 tourists arrive annually. In 2008 GDP totaled around $1.2 billion, or about $3,900 per capita (far exceeding the average of about $700 in the rest of South Asia). Throughout the past decade, real GDP growth averaged around 6% per year except for 2005, when GDP declined following the Indian Ocean tsunami. GDP growth was 5.7% in 2008. Economic growth has been powered mainly by tourism and its spin-offs in the transportation, communication, and construction sector. Fishing remains an important part of the economy as well. While income disparity remains high, particularly between the capital and distant islands, Maldives’ growth has yielded considerable social progress. The net enrollment in primary education is close to 100%. Literacy rates are about 98%. Infant and maternal mortality are declining rapidly. (full text)