Half the 330,652-strong population of the Maldives are below the age of 25, according to the 2013 yearbook published by the Department of National Planning.
However despite the huge youth demographic, the statistics suggest the education system is failing young people, with just 19 percent of students going on to higher secondary education.
Moreover while just 7 percent of the country’s 408 schools are located in Male, a third of all students in the Maldives attend these institutions. Of their teachers, 32 percent are foreigners, while 14 percent have had no training.
The civil service meanwhile remains the country’s largest employer at 17,657 staff (5.34 percent of the population), but also highlights the country’s considerable wealth disparity. 47 percent of civil servants are paid less that MVR 5000 (US$330) a month, while just one percent are paid more than MVR 10,000 (US$660).
Statistics meanwhile show that while the government received MVR 9.8 billion (US$635.5 million) in revenue and grants, total expenditure was MVR 14.2 billion (US$921 million) – 74 percent of this on recurrent expenditure, and representing a total shortfall of US$285.5 million.
Approximately MVR 970 million (US$62.9 million) was spent on social protection programs such as pensions. Of this money, 782 million (US$50.7 million) was spent on the Aasandha universal healthcare scheme.
While the country’s exports were valued at MVR 2.5 billion (US$155.6 million), imports were MVR 23.9 billion (US$1.54 billion). Meanwhile, almost all of the MVR 14.5 billion (US$940 million) worth of loans and advances issued by banks to the private sector were for tourism and resort development. Annual inflation sat at 10.9 percent,
Tourism capacity at the end of 2012 was 25,571 beds, with an average occupancy rate of 70.6 percent and average tourist stay of 6.7 nights.