Country Profile: Maldives
Other Languages & DialectsElu, Sinhalese, English
AreaTotal 298 km2
The Maldives or The Maldives Islands, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island country consisting of a group of atolls stretching south of India's Lakshadweep islands between Minicoy Island and the Chagos Archipelago, and about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea of Indian Ocean. The twenty-six atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, of which two hundred and fifty islands are inhabited. The Maldives is the smallest country in Asia, both by population and by geographic size, it is also the smallest Muslim nation in the world as well. Furthermore, Maldives has the lowest high point in the world, the highest point anywhere in the nation is only about two meters above sea level.
Languages and Dialects
India and Sri Lanka both have an important influence over Maldives, both in terms of their language and their culture. The official and common language is Dhivehi, similar to Elu, the ancient Sinhalese language. The language is of Indic Sanskritic origin, which was greatly influenced by other Indo-China languages. English is also a popular language on the island, especially because of the influx of English and American tourists that visit each year.
Due to government created economic policy reforms, the economy of Maldives has grown tremendously over recent years. The island has always been important due to its strategic location and proximity to trading giants India and China. Tourism is the largest industry in the nation, accounting for nearly half of GDP and employing over half of the total workforce. Fishing is also an important industry, mainly because of the wealth of diverse fish life the Maldives has at their disposal.
As an island, Maldives relies on its natural wonders and beauty to attract tourists from all over the world, a source of income that the nation greatly depends upon. Aside from just natural beauty, Maldives has developed new resorts all over there island and are continuing to expand. They offer tourists different unique forms of entertainment, from live cultural shows, to deep sea scuba diving and nature expeditions, it is no wonder that the tourism industry accounts for such a large part of their economy.
Oceanic Industry and Fishing
Maldives has always had a history of being a great fishing nation, the modernization of their fishing boat and fish plantations have greatly influenced the industry in recent years. Maldives has also been working closely with Asian fishing industry giants, such as Japan recently, in order to further enhance their own fishing techniques and procedures.
Today, fisheries contribute over fifteen percent of the country's GDP and engage about thirty percent of the country's work force. It is also the second-largest foreign exchange earner after tourism.
Farming and Agriculture
In Maldives, Agriculture is a small industry, mainly due to shortage of arable land, the other industries which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 7% of GDP. The development of the tourism sector gave a major boost to the country's fledgling traditional cottage industries such as mat weaving, lacquer work, handicraft, and coir rope making. New industries that have since emerged include printing, production of PVC pipes, brick making, marine engine repairs, bottling of aerated water, and garment production.
In the future, Maldives looks to expand its tourism and fishing industries, to become leaders in the Asian continent. Though they are a small nation, because of government created economic reform policies and direct foreign investment, the nation has been able to become extremely successful and has a very bright future ahead of them.
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