Economy of Mauritius

Last updated
Economy of Mauritius
Evening Port Louis.jpg
The capital Port Louis
Currency Mauritian rupee (MUR, Rs)
1 July – 30 June
Trade organisations
Country group
PopulationIncrease2.svg 1,265,303 (2018) [3]
  • Increase2.svg $14.391 billion (nominal, 2019 est.) [4]
  • Increase2.svg $31.592 billion (PPP, 2019 est.) [5]
GDP rank
GDP growth
  • 3.7% (2018) 3.6% (2019e)
  • −6.8% (2020f) 6.4% (2021f) [6]
GDP per capita
  • Increase2.svg $11,361 (nominal, 2019 est.) [4]
  • Increase2.svg $24,996 (PPP, 2019 est.) [4]
GDP per capita rank
GDP by sector
4.7% (2020 est.) [5]
Population below poverty line
8% (2006 est.) [7]
36.8 medium (2017) [8]
Labour force
  • Increase2.svg 611,703 (2019) [11]
  • Decrease2.svg 54.9% employment rate (2018) [12]
Labour force by occupation
UnemploymentDecrease Positive.svg 6.4% (2018) [13]
Main industries
food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism
Increase2.svg 13th (very easy, 2020) [14]
ExportsIncrease2.svg $2.36 billion (2017 est.) [7]
Export goods
clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish, primates (for research)
Main export partners
ImportsIncrease2.svg $4.986 billion (2017 est.) [7]
Import goods
manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Main import partners
FDI stock
Decrease2.svg −$875 million (2017 est.) [7]
Increase Negative.svg $19.99 billion (31 December 2017 est.) [7]
Public finances
Decrease Positive.svg 64% of GDP (2017 est.) [7]
−0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.) [7]
Revenues2.994 billion (2017 est.) [7]
Expenses3.038 billion (2017 est.) [7]
Economic aid$42 million (1997)
Foreign reserves
Increase2.svg $5.984 billion (31 December 2017 est.) [7]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The economy of Mauritius is a mixed developing economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism. [15] Since the 1980s, the government of Mauritius has sought to diversify the country's economy beyond its dependence on just agriculture, particularly sugar production.



Sugarcane. Efefef.jpg
Working in the salt marshes. African working in the salt marshes.jpg
Working in the salt marshes.

In 1961, Professor James Meade painted a bleak picture of the economic prospects of Mauritius, which then had a population of 650,000. All the disadvantages associated with smallness of island states weighed heavily in his conviction that Mauritius was caught in a Malthusian trap and, therefore, if economic progress could at all be achieved, it would be to a very limited extent. Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to an upper-middle income [2] diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, ICT and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been roughly 4%. This compares very favorably with other sub-Saharan African countries and is largely due to sustained progress in economic conditions; between 1977 and 2008, growth averaged 4.6% compared with a 2.9% average in sub-Saharan Africa. [16] Also important is that it has achieved what few fast growing economies achieve, a more equitable income distribution and inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) fell from 45.7 to 38.9 between 1980 and 2006. [16] This remarkable achievement has been reflected in increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on expanding local financial institutions and building a domestic information telecommunications industry. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Mauritius has attracted US$10.98 billion in Foreign direct investment inflows. Top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius (from January 2000 to December, 2005) are electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial). [ citation needed ]

With a well-developed legal and commercial infrastructure and a tradition of entrepreneurship and representative government, Mauritius is one of the developing world's most successful democracies. The economy has shown a considerable degree of resilience, and an environment already conducive to dynamic entrepreneurial activity has moved further toward economic freedom. The island's institutional advantages are noticeable. A transparent and well-defined investment code and legal system have made the foreign investment climate in Mauritius one of the best in the region. Taxation is competitive and efficient. The economy is increasingly diversified, with significant private-sector activity in sugar, tourism, economic processing zones, and financial services, particularly in offshore enterprises. The government is trying to modernize the sugar and textile industries, which in the past were overly dependent on trade preferences, while promoting diversification into such areas as information and communications technology, financial and business services, seafood processing and exports, and free trade zones. Agriculture and industry have become less important to the economy, and services, especially tourism, accounted for over 72 percent of GDP. The government still owns utilities and controls imports of rice, flour, petroleum products, and cement.


The Mauritian economy has undergone remarkable transformations since independence. [17] From a poor country with high unemployment exporting mainly sugar and buffeted by the vagaries of world demand, Mauritius has become relatively prosperous and diverse, although not without problems. [17]

The 1970s were marked by a strong government commitment to diversify the economy and to provide more high-paying jobs to the population. [17] The promotion of tourism and the creation of the EPZs did much to attain these goals. [17] Between 1971 and 1977, about 64,000 jobs were created. [17] However, in the rush to make work, the government allowed EPZ firms to deny their workers fair wages, the right to organize and strike, and the health and social benefits afforded other Mauritian workers. [17] The boom in the mid-1970s was also fueled by increased foreign aid and exceptional sugar crops, coupled with high world prices. [17]

The economic situation deteriorated in the late 1970s. [17] Petroleum prices rose, the sugar boom ended, and the balance of payments deficit steadily rose as imports outpaced exports; by 1979 the deficit amounted to a staggering US$111 million. [17] Mauritius approached the IMF and the World Bank for assistance. [17] In exchange for loans and credits to help pay for imports, the government agreed to institute certain measures, including cutting food subsidies, devaluing the currency, and limiting government wage increases. [17]

By the 1980s, thanks to a widespread political consensus on broad policy measures, the economy experienced steady growth, declining inflation, high employment, and increased domestic savings. [17] The EPZ came into its own, surpassing sugar as the principal export-earning sector and employing more workers than the sugar industry and the government combined, previously the two largest employers. [17] In 1986 Mauritius had its first trade surplus in twelve years. [17] Tourism also boomed, with a concomitant expansion in the number of hotel beds and air flights. [17] An aura of optimism accompanied the country's economic success and prompted comparisons with other Asian countries that had dynamic economies, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea. [17]

The economy had slowed down by the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the government was optimistic that it could ensure the long-term prosperity of the country by drawing up and implementing prudent development plans. [17] A stock exchange opened in Port Louis in 1989. [17] As of 1993, Mauritius had a gross domestic product (GDP) estimated at US$8.6 billion, with a growth rate of 5.5 percent, and an inflation rate of 10.5 percent. [17]

Policies for success

Recent reports on progress on the Millennium Development Goals by the Overseas Development Institute indicated four key reasons for economic success. [16]

  1. Heterodox liberalisation and diversification
  2. Concerted strategy of nation building
  3. Strong and inclusive institutions
  4. High levels of equitable public investment

Heterodox liberalisation and diversification

Graphical depiction of Mauritius's product exports in 28 color-coded categories. Mauritius treemap.png
Graphical depiction of Mauritius's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.

Mauritius has followed a pragmatic development strategy in which liberalisation process was sequenced and tailored to its competitive advantages and weaknesses. [16] The export-orientated approach has encouraged liberalisation supported by strong state involvement as a facilitator (of the enabling environment for the private sector); as operator (to encourage competition); and as regulator (to protect the economy as well as vulnerable groups and sectors from shocks). [16] Strategies were evidence-based and adapted according to results. [16] There has been consistency and stability, regardless of which political party is in power. [16]

Liberalisation occurred in phases that were initiated to build on advantages the economy enjoyed on the international market. [16]

Concerted strategy of nation building

A concerted strategy of nation building since Independence created the foundations for sustained growth. [16] Partnerships across ethnic groups allowed economic redistribution to be negotiated and the resulting better balance of economic and political power allowed strong and independent institutions. [16] The emerging political system encouraged a consultative approach to policy formation that allowed strategies for growth to be continued regardless of changes in the parties in power. [16]

Strong and inclusive institutions

Strong institutions are critical in ensuring country's competitiveness, economic resilience and stability. [16] They have supported development strategies and ensured that export earnings are reinvested in strategic and productive sectors. In the financial sector they have built a regulated and well-capitalised banking and financial system that protected it from toxic assets prior to the 2008 global financial crisis. [16]

Corruption laws

In 2002, the government adopted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which led to the setting up of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) a few months later. The ICAC has the power to detect and investigate corruption and money-laundering offenses and can also confiscate the proceeds of corruption and money laundering. Corruption is not seen as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. Mauritius ranks 45th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015. Mauritius is one of Africa's least corrupt countries.

High levels of equitable public investment

Mauritius has a strong human capital foundation developed through consistent and equitable investment in human development. [16] This enabled Mauritius to exploit advantages, learn from expertise brought in through FDI and maintain competitiveness in a fast evolving international market. [16] Education and health services are free and have been expanded in recent years, in order to create further employment opportunities and ensuring inclusive growth. The educated and adaptable workforce were essential elements of 1980s export-orientated growth. [16] Around 90% of entrepreneurs in the export processing zone (EPZ) and in the manufacturing sector were Mauritian nationals, businesspeople had the human capital, education and knowledge needed to exploit market opportunities. [16] According to the Government of Mauritius the general outlook for the manufacturing sector is positive, as the country offers many opportunities to entrepreneurs across the various value chains but insufficient skilled labour and limited research and development will remain impediments to potentially higher growth in this sector. [18]

Financial services

Mauritius provides an environment for banks, insurance and reinsurance companies, captive insurance managers, trading companies, ship owners or managers, fund managers and professionals to conduct their international business. The economic success achieved in the 1980s engendered the rapid growth of the financial services sector in Mauritius. The following types of offshore activities can be conducted in Mauritius:

Information and communication technology

Since 2002, Mauritius has invested heavily into the development of an hub in information and communication technology (ICT). The contribution of the ICT sector accounts for 5.7% of the GDP. [19] The ICT Sector employs 15,390 people. [19] In 2016, two students from Mauritius became finalists in Google Code-in. [20] In 2017, Mauritius got its first grand prize winner. [21] In 2012, Mauritius participated for the first time in Google Summer of Code. [22] In 2018, the team from Mauritius led three tracks during the Internet Engineering Task Force Hackathon in Bangkok. [23] [24]

International employment services

Macroeconomic statistics

International Monetary Fund 2012GDP (PPP) is $20.200 billion
World Bank 2012GDP (PPP) is $19,245,631,329
The World Factbook 2012GDP (PPP) is $20,950,000,000
GDP (PPP) per capita
International Monetary Fund 2012GDP (PPP) per capita is $15,591.974
World Bank 2012GDP (PPP) per capita is $14,902
The World Factbook 2013GDP (PPP) per capita is $16,100
GDP (PPP) per person employed
World Bank 1990-2010
The World Factbook 2012
GDP (nominal)
United Nations 2012GDP (nominal) is $10,086,649,093
International Monetary Fund 2013GDP (nominal) is US$11.930 billion
World Bank 2012GDP (nominal) is $10,486,037,634
The World Factbook 2013GDP (nominal) is $11.9 billion
GDP (nominal) per capita
United Nations 2012
International Monetary Fund 2013GDP (nominal) per capita is US$9,159.681
World Bank 2012
The World Factbook 2013
Gross national income (Atlas method) World Bank 2012Gross national income is US$11,070 million
GNI per capita (Atlas method and PPP) World Bank 2012Average national income (PPP) of US$8,570 per person/Year

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

Distribution of family income – Gini index: 39 (2006 estimate)

Agriculture – products: sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish

Industrial production growth rate: 8% (2000 estimate)

Electricity – production: 1,836 GWh (2002)

Electricity – consumption: 1,707 GWh (2002)

Oil – consumption: 21,000 bbl/d (3,300 m3/d)(2003 estimate)
21,000 bbl/d (3,300 m3/d)(2001 estimate)

Current account balance: $1,339 million (2011 estimate)
$799.4 million (2010 estimate)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2,797 billion (2012 estimate)
$2,601 billion (2010 estimate)

2013 Index of Economic Freedom rank = 8th

Exchange rates: Mauritian rupees per US dollar – 30.12 (26 March 2014), 30.99 (1 February 2010), 32.86 (2006), 29.14 (2005), 27.50 (2004), 27.90 (2003), 29.96 (2002), 29.13 (2001)

See also

Notes and references

  1. "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2019". International Monetary Fund . Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  2. 1 2 "World Bank Country and Lending Groups". World Bank . Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  3. "Population, total". World Bank . Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund . Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  5. 1 2 "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2020". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  6. "Global Economic Prospects, June 2020". World Bank. p. 105. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency . Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  8. "GINI index (World Bank estimate) - Mauritius". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  9. "Human Development Index (HDI)". HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations Development Programme . Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  10. "Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI)". UNDP . Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  11. "Labor force, total - Mauritius". World Bank . Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  12. "Employment to population ratio, 15+, total (%) (national estimate) - Mauritius". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  13. "Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (national estimate) - Mauritius". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  14. "Ease of Doing Business in Mauritius". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  15. "Mauritius". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Milo Vandemoortele and Kate Bird 2010. Progress in economic conditions in Mauritius: Success against the odds. London: Overseas Development Institute
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Toth, Anthony (1995). "Mauritius: Economy". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Indian Ocean: five island countries (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. pp. 120–121. ISBN   0-8444-0857-3. OCLC   32508646. PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  19. 1 2 "Statistics Mauritius – ICT Statistics Year 2016". Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  20. "Google Code-in: Two Mauritian students among the finalists". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  21. "Informatique : un jeune Mauricien remporte un concours organisé par Google". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  22. "Google Summer of Code 2012 by the Numbers: Part 1 of 2". Google Open Source Blog. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  23. "What's that? SSH can still use RC4? Not for much longer, promise" . Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  24. IETF - Internet Engineering Task Force (2018-11-04), IETF Hackathon Presentations , retrieved 2018-11-13

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website .

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