Maldives

Maldives became a full member of SASEC in May 2014, together with Sri Lanka, following several years as an active observer. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal formed the project-based partnership in 2001.

The National Development Plan envisions Maldives as an an equitable, prosperous, inclusive, and connected island nation. The plan seeks to explore blue economy concepts, develop global value chains, and advocate gender mainstreaming by maximizing opportunities from its growing digital connectivity, improved infrastructure, and unique environmental and cultural resources.

SASEC Projects in Maldives

ADB-financed project and technical assistance have supported SASEC activities in Maldives to help advance the country's engagement in regional cooperation activities, including under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) frameworks. Maldives has actively participated in SASEC from 2012 to 2014 as an observer, and then as a full member. An ADB-supported national single window project (worth $11.99 million) will help develop an automated system to improve ease of doing business, in line with SASEC operational priorities for trade facilitation. Two technical assistance projects (worth $1.2 million) support Maldives in implementing its national single window environment for international trade.

Trade Snapshot

Direction of Intra-regional Trade

The value of Maldives' merchandise exports and imports trade with other SASEC member countries, using International Monetary Fund data from 2017, is captured in the tables below.

Maldives' 5rd largest import source worldwide is Sri Lanka, with imported goods valued at $160 million. Its 41st largest import source is Bangladesh, with imported goods valued at $3 million.

Maldives' 2nd top export destination worldwide is Sri Lanka, with exports valued at $19 million. Its 3rd largest export market is Bangladesh, valued at $14 million.

Maldives Trade in SASEC Subregion

Source: IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, as of May 2018

Maldives Trade - Import

Source: IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, as of May 2018

Maldives Trade - Export

Source: IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, as of May 2018

Ease of Doing Business

Maldives moved to 147 in rank in the Doing Business report, after having placed 139 the year earlier. It ranked 157 in terms of trading across borders. Maldives scored ahead of the regional average in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes, and enforcing contracts.



Source: Doing Business, accessed June 2020

Note: The World Bank/International Finance Corporation's annual flagship Doing Business Report measures the ease of doing business by ranking economies from 1 to 190, based on quantitative indicator sets that can be compared across economies and over time, with first place being the best and indicating a regulatory environment is conducive to business operation. Of immediate relevance to SASEC aims and goals are indicator sets on Starting a Business, and Trading across Borders.

Economic Outlook


Asian Development Outlook

Construction declined and tourism income moderated, resulting in slow growth in Maldives in 2019. As tourism plummets under the global coronavirus pandemic, growth in Maldives is expected to fall in fiscal year (FY) 2020. However, a strong revival in tourism and construction is expected in FY2021. Inflation is projected to average 1.0% in FY2020.

Source: Asian Development Outlook 2020 (ADB)
South Asia Regional Update

In Maldives, economic growth has been supported by rising tourist arrivals and tourists' longer length of stay, along with construction and government infrastructure investment. Real GDP growth has been strong at about 7.5% in 2018. Medium term GDP growth is expected to stabilize at about 5.5% on the back of the tourism sector. Inflation in Malé decelerated to 0.2% year-on-year in January 2019 with the decrease in administered prices for staples.

Source: South Asia Regional Update, August 2019 (IMF)

Economic Outlook


Asian Development Outlook

Construction declined and tourism income moderated, resulting in slow growth in Maldives in fiscal year (FY) 2019. As tourism plummets under the global coronavirus pandemic, growth in Maldives is expected to fall in FY2020. However, a strong revival in tourism and construction is expected in FY2021. Inflation is projected to average 1.0% in FY2020.

Source: Asian Development Outlook 2020 (ADB)
South Asia Regional Update

In Maldives, economic growth has been supported by rising tourist arrivals and tourists' longer length of stay, along with construction and government infrastructure investment. Real GDP growth has been strong at about 7.5% in 2018. Medium term GDP growth is expected to stabilize at about 5.5% on the back of the tourism sector. Inflation in Malé decelerated to 0.2% year-on-year in January 2019 with the decrease in administered prices for staples.

Source: South Asia Regional Update, August 2019 (IMF)