Economy - overview: Maldives has rapidly grown into a middle-income country, driven by tourism development. In 2015, the economy’s growth slowed to 4.8%, mainly due to lower tourism sector growth as tourist arrivals from China declined. However, the slowdown is expected to reverse in 2016. Tourism, construction, transport, and the communications sector accounted for 50% of the output on average. Tourism-related tax receipts increased by 13% in 2015 due to higher tax rates. This increase in dollar tax receipts directly led to higher usable reserves in 2015. The current account deficit widened to $400 million in 2015 due to increases in construction related imports. A large and growing fiscal deficit remains an ongoing economic challenge.
In July 2015, Maldives’ Parliament passed a constitutional amendment legalizing foreign ownership of land; foreign land-buyers must reclaim at least 70% of the desired land from the ocean and invest at least $1 billion in a construction project approved by Parliament.
Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, increasing employment opportunities, and combating corruption, cronyism, and a growing drug problem are near-term challenges facing the government. Over the longer term Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is 1 meter or less above sea level.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on October 8, 2016