Maldives Information Series
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Moving up the development ladder
The Maldives was one of the 25 low-income economies accorded least developed country (LDC) status when the category was established in 1971. In January 2011, it became the third to graduate from the LDC list.*
The Maldives is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean com- posed of 1191 islands, covering an area of 298 square kilome- tres. About one third of the country’s 314 000 inhabitants live in the capital island, Male, with the remaining 62 per cent scattered
* This article is largely based on the report “The Role of ICT in Advancing Growth in Least Developed Countries: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities”.
around the country’s 200 inhabited islands. The Maldives is clas- sified as a small island developing State.
Economic growth has brought significant social progress, particularly in the area of education. Since 2002, the Maldives’s primary and lower secondary school enrolment rate has neared 100 per cent. Literacy rates are among the highest in the region, with 94 per cent of its population aged 15 years and older being able to read and write.
The Maldives was governed as an Islamic sultanate under Dutch and then British protection until 1965, when it gained in- dependence. Three years later in 1968, it became a republic.
In 2009, gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at USD 1.4 billion, or about USD 4600 per capita. Nevertheless, 16 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.
The Maldives is a service-based economy, with services con- tributing 77 per cent of GDP, of which 27 per cent comes from
22 ITU News 6 | 2011 July | August 2011
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