Report by: Shifneen Rasheed & Daha Shuaib
The year 2016 was a year of ups and downs for the Maldivian economy. While some sectors experienced lackluster growth within the year, developments in other major sectors such as the construction sector were impressive. According to the quarterly GDP statistics for the first two quarters of 2016, the overall performance of the economy looked robust with an average growth of 5.4%. However, tourism sector growth, which accounts for the lion’s share of the country’s economic growth fell below expectations owing to weaknesses in the global economy. Despite this, growth was largely propelled by a robust expansion in the construction sector.
The contribution of the fisheries sector to the overall economic growth has diminished significantly over the past years, and accounted for a mere 1.2% of GDP during Q2-2016. Despite this, the fishing industry remains vital to Maldivians, as it provides the livelihood of many living in the rural areas of the country.
However, the sector performance was observed to be weak over the past years, recording negative growth rates by 2014 and 2015. Quarterly GDP statistics show a further
exacerbation in growth, recording rates of -22.4% and -7.3% in Q1 and Q2-2016, respectively.
Looking at other indicators, fish purchases made by local fish processing companies for 2016 amounted to 48,399 metric tonnes which indicate a growth of 7%. Fish export data however was only available for the period Jan-Nov 2016, which indicated a 9% growth in the volume of fish exports while earnings on such exports fell by 4% in annual terms.