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Country Reports

Maldives Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Following presidential elections in the Maldives in September 2018, a smooth transfer of power from former president Abdulla Yameen to incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has significantly reduced the likelihood of violent civil unrest, particularly in Malé. Solih's presidency will probably remain stable, given widespread voter support and that of former president Mohamed Nasheed, a key political figure. Solih's Maldivian Democratic Party won a significant majority in parliamentary elections on 6 April, with 65 of 87 seats. This will allow Solih to undertake key policy reforms, including the introduction of a personal income tax system. Solih campaigned on a platform of opposing Chinese investment, and he is therefore likely to negotiate the level of Maldivian debt to China for Belt and Road Initiative projects in the Maldives, including the Sinamalé Bridge. This will be facilitated by increasing Indian investment into the Maldives, which includes a special USD1.4-billion financial assistance package. IHS Markit projects average Maldivian GDP growth to fall within the low 4% range over the next two years. The outlook remains affected by risk-negative factors: as a small economy, the Maldives is unavoidably vulnerable to external shocks, developments in the domestic political environment, and natural disasters. These downside risks to the country's economy are concurrent with slower global growth and domestic political uncertainties.However, the near-term growth outlook is supported by the Maldives' resilient tourism industry. Latest official data from the Maldives Monetary Authority indicate that tourism picked up in the first half of 2018 despite numerous domestic and external challenges. Tourist arrivals expanded by 10.5% in first half of the year, up from 6.1% in 2017; this is positive news, given that tourism brings in about three-thirds of the country's total export revenues.
Last update: May 9, 2019

Operational Outlook

Small strikes affecting resorts less than a week are likely due to disputes, most often over failure to follow salary agreements. The tourism sector, which accounts for nearly one-third of the Maldivian economy, is excluded from the 2008 Employment Act, limiting workers' means of recourse. For example, in April 2018 workers at Male's commercial port went on strike until the state-owned company doubled their fees, after limiting their permitted operating hours. Bribe demands are likely to remain common at all levels of the state on populated islands but are less likely to affect foreign businesses that operate tourist resorts.

Last update: May 22, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

The risk of terrorist attacks in the Maldives, especially outside the capital Malé, is low. The September 2007 improvised explosive device attack near Sultan Park in Malé that injured 12 foreign tourists was probably motivated by then-president Maumoon Gayoom's dictatorial rule, rather than militant Islamism. Dozens of Maldivians travelled to fight with militant groups in Syria, and thus the risk of radicalisation remains. But a more immediate threat than home-grown extremists (who are likely to value a safe haven in the Maldives) stems from violent criminal gangs. As a response to a heightened threat of terrorism worldwide, the government has adopted preventive measures towards threats, particularly to ease tourist fears.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Drug use, international smuggling, and petty crime are an increasing concern in the Maldives, although overall crime levels remain low. The latest incidents occurred in May 2017, when police seized drugs worth USD149,000 in multiple smuggling operations, and in October 2017, when Maldivian customs confiscated a 244g haul of "party drugs" that was mailed into Addu City. Foreigners and specifically tourist resorts (mainly located on their own atolls) are unlikely to be targeted or affected. Outside resorts, there is a risk of petty theft as in other tourist sites in the region.

Last update: May 25, 2019

Social Stability

High

After Ibrahim Solih's presidential victory in September 2018, the risk of civil society or opposition-led protests have decreased significantly in the capital Malé. Protests led by the current opposition are likely only if allegations against the incumbent government emerge regarding corruption, or of failing to fulfil demands in its manifesto. In any case, resorts and tourism operations in atolls away from Malé are highly unlikely to be affected. Criminal gangs are infrequently involved in rallies, increasing the risk of violence.

Last update: May 25, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Monsoon season hits the northeast of the Maldives from November to April and the southwest from May to October, during which flooding and transport disruptions are to be expected.

Due to the poor maintenance of much of the country's infrastructure (surface and rainwater drainage), it is common for heavy rainfall to cause widespread flooding in the capital that may impact traffic.

The Maldives was hit by a tsunami in 2004 that devastated the region. Since then, the country has rebuilt and modernized the vast majority of its tourism infrastructure (e.g. hotels).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Days in the Maldives tend to be sunny, although regular (but brief) showers are not uncommon during the two rainy seasons. The northeast monsoon brings rain from December to March and the southwest monsoon from May to October. Rain is the heaviest during the second monsoon season, with a peak of rainfall observed between June and July. Temperatures rarely fall below 25°C and the average ocean temperature is 28°C.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +960
Police: 119

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019