Maldives - Poverty and wealth

Throughout the 1990s, nearly all of the available measures used to classify sustainable human development indicated that there had been considerable positive progression in the material and social conditions in the

Exchange rates: Maldives
rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1
2001 11.770
2000 11.770
1999 11.770
1998 11.770
1997 11.770
1996 11.770
Note: Currency has had a fixed rate since 1995.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Maldives N/A N/A 650 917 1,247
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
India 222 231 270 331 444
Sri Lanka 382 452 536 590 802
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

lives of Maldivians. The United Nations Development Program has marked the Maldives out as being one of just two countries in the South Asian region to be a medium human development country. Between 1977 and 1995, the life expectancy of the average Maldivian increased by 20 years to 71 years, which is a remarkable level for a developing country.

Despite that, it is estimated by the Maldives Ministry of Planning and National Development that almost 50 percent of children suffer, to different degrees, from stunting and wasting in their physical development. This is due to malnutrition in the more remote and less easily accessible islands. This is mainly caused by limited agricultural potential and the high cost of imports. Consequently, the majority of Maldivians consume a relatively restricted range of foodstuffs, with rice, fish, and coconut being the staples. A 1993 survey found that less than 30 percent of children ate fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, the annual average intake of protein rose from 69 grams (1980-82) to 94.6 grams (1995-97), and over the same period caloric intake improved from 2,194.3 to 2,505.1.

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