The backbone of the Maldives economy is
tourism and fishing exports. Both industries are
sensitive to economic crises in the outside world.
During the 2010s, the Maldives took large loans from
mainly China to develop the infrastructure.
The first tourist resort was built in 1972, but
tourism has gained momentum since the country's first
international airport was completed in 1981. The hotel
facilities have been located on previously deserted
islands. Around 100 islands have been built with hotels.
In the 2010s, the tourism industry continued to expand,
the number of tourists increased rapidly and tourism's
share of the country's GDP rose.
Major imports by Maldives, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
The fishing industry gained momentum when the 1980s
and 1990s focused on a transition from traditional
coconut palm boats to motorboats. In addition, the
industry was positively affected by the liberalization
of the largely state-controlled economy. Fish is the
majority of Maldives' goods exports. It is mainly tuna
that is sold abroad, mainly in frozen, dried or
Supported by strong growth in tourism and fishing,
other industries have also benefited, including the
transport and construction sectors. Tax revenues, not
least from tourism, have been used, among other things,
to build roads.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including MDV which represents the country of Maldives.
The Indian Ocean catastrophe disaster on December 26,
2004, destroyed many islands and caused major material
damage. Both fishing and tourism were hit by a break and
growth was negative in 2005. However, the recovery went
unexpectedly fast and soon the country was able to show
a good growth rate again. The global economic crisis
that erupted in the fall of 2008 reached the Maldives in
the form of declining revenues from tourism. The economy
shrank in 2009, but grew sharply again the following
year. Since then, growth has fluctuated but has largely
There is a deficit in Maldives' foreign trade
(imports are greater than exports) and in the state's
finances. The deficits have been covered by loans and a
debt mountain has been built up. During the Yamin
government, from 2013 to 2018, the Maldives borrowed
large sums from China and the deficit in trade with
China grew sharply. At the end of 2019, the Maldives'
debt to China was estimated to be around $ 1.4 billion.
Another major lender and aid provider is Saudi Arabia.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 10,224 (2018)
US $ 5,272 million (2018)
6.1 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
5.6 percent (2017)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
2.2 percent (2017)
The service sector's share of GDP
67.4 percent (2017)
1.5 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
68.0 percent (2018)
US $ 1,365 million (2017)
US $ 339 million (2018)
US $ 2,760 million (2018)
- US $ 1,338 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
63 percent (2018)
Main export goods
fish and fish products
Largest trading partner
Thailand, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, France,
Singapore, United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia