Home to approximately 330,000 people, Maldives was among the world’s poorest countries just three decades ago. In 2011, fueled by rich marine life and biodiversity along with a booming tourism industry, the country earned middle-income status. The island nation has also achieved notable improvements in health and education, with life expectancy of 77 years and a 98 percent literacy rate.
Maldives faces undeniable challenges to its future progress due to significant threats posed by climate change. High population density — ranked 11th in the world — and dependence on climate-sensitive industries such as fisheries and tourism exacerbate the country’s vulnerability. USAID works to mitigate the adverse effects of global climate change by improving water security and strengthening the management of coastal resources, particularly coral reefs. Maldives’ political transition is made more challenging by increasing extremism, political polarization and low representation of women in politics. USAID helps strengthen democratic governance by supporting political reform and reconciliation, civic education and engagement, and increased women’s political participation.
- Thanks to USAID, a growing number of residents on one of the most populous islands have an increased sense of responsibility to protect their environment
- Through training workshops and the development and distribution of the ‘Coral Reef Fish of the Maldives’ manual among private and public entities, USAID is making advancements in preserving the Maldives’ coral reef ecosystems
- USAID helped establish a media monitoring unit that monitored elections in 2011
Last updated: August 18, 2015