In mid-2001, the two most important issues in the continued development of the Maldives are the partly linked factors of population growth and anticipated global environment problems. If projected population growth proves correct (a doubling of late 1990s levels by 2010), there will simply not be enough jobs in the country to employ the country's young people. Slightly less than 50 percent of the population are under 15 years old and the Maldives future will be dominated by the effects of a large proportion of young people entering the labor market, with estimated annual levels of 5,000 new job seekers looking for work. Similarly, population growth exerts considerable strain on already highly depleted reserves of potable water and building materials (particularly coral). Moreover, if pollution in the world's ecosystem continues to have the effect of raising the temperate of global climates thereby increasing sea-levels (a phenomenon know as the "greenhouse effect"), then the majority of the low-level land mass of the Maldives will simply disappear.
On a more positive note, the economy has consistently grown throughout the 1990s, and foreign investment is on the increase. With the decline of stocks of fish in most of the world's other oceans, the Maldives' access to the rich fish reserves of the Indian Ocean means that this industry will remain of significant importance, especially if the modernizing trend in the domestic canning and refrigeration of fish continues. In addition, except for some slight drops in tourism receipts during the financial crises of the late 1990s, the tourism sector is likely to continue to grow as is indicated by the recent investment of multinational hotel groups there.