Africa :: Mauritius

Introduction ::Mauritius

    Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch - who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU - in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signals intelligence. Independence from the UK was attained in 1968. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

Geography ::Mauritius

    Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
    20 17 S, 57 33 E
    total: 2,040 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 181
    land: 2,030 sq km
    water: 10 sq km
    note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
    almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    177 km
    measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)
    small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mont Piton 828 m
    arable land, fish
    arable land: 38.24%
    permanent crops: 1.96%
    other: 59.8% (2011)
    212.2 sq km (2003)
    2.75 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.73 cu km/yr (30%/3%/68%)
    per capita: 568.2 cu m/yr (2003)
    cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
    water pollution, degradation of coral reefs
    party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; former home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species

People and Society ::Mauritius

Government ::Mauritius

    conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
    conventional short form: Mauritius
    local long form: Republic of Mauritius
    local short form: Mauritius
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Port Louis
    geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    9 districts and 3 dependencies*; Agalega Islands*, Black River, Cargados Carajos Shoals*, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Riviere du Rempart, Rodrigues*, Savanne
    12 March 1968 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 12 March (1968)
    12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992
    civil legal system based on French civil law with some elements of English common law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Rajkeswur Kailash PURRYAG (since 21 July 2012); note - former President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH resigned on 31 March 2012
    head of government: Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 21 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly; note - former President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH resigned on 31 March 2012
    election results: Rajkeswur Kailash PURRYAG elected president by unanimous vote; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA
    unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held on 5 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AF 41, MMM 18, MR 2, FSM 1; appointed seats - to be assigned 8
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Mauritius (consists of the chief justice, a senior puisne judge, and 17 puisne judges)
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister; senior puisne judge appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; other puisne judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Commission, a 4-member body of judicial officials including the chief justice; all judges serve until retirement at age 62
    subordinate courts: Court of Civil Appeal; Court of Criminal Appeal; Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal (formed by a 2008 constitutional amendment)
    Alliance of the Future or AF [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM] (governing coalition - includes MLP, MMSM, MR, MSD, PMSD)
    Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]
    Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER]
    Mauritian Militant Socialist Movement or MMSM [Pravind JUGNAUTH]
    Mauritian Socialist Militant Movement or MSMM [Madan DULLOO]
    Mauritian Solidarity Front of FSM [Cehl FAKEERMEEAH]
    Maurition Social Democratic Party or PMSD [Xavier Luc DUVAL]
    Rodrigues Movement or MR [Joseph (Nicholas) Von MALLY]
    Rodrigues Peoples Organization or OPR [Serge CLAIR]
    other: various labor unions
    chief of mission: Ambassador Somduth SOBORUN
    chancery: 1709 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; administrative offices - 3201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 441, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 244-1491 through 1492
    FAX: [1] (202) 966-0983
    chief of mission: Ambassador Shari VILLAROSA
    embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis
    mailing address: international mail: P. O. Box 544, Port Louis; US mail: American Embassy, Port Louis, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450
    telephone: [230] 202-4400
    FAX: [230] 208-9534
    four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green; red represents self-determination and independence, blue the Indian Ocean surrounding the island, yellow has been interpreted as the new light of independence, golden sunshine, or the bright future, and green can symbolize either agriculture or the lush vegetation of the island
    name: "Motherland"

    lyrics/music: Jean Georges PROSPER/Philippe GENTIL
    note: adopted 1968

Economy ::Mauritius

    Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of this period, annual growth has been on the order of 5% to 6%. This achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on creating vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. 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' sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped to mitigate negative effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew in the 3-4% per year range in 2010-12, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe.
    $20.53 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    $19.88 billion (2011 est.)
    $19.15 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $11.47 billion (2012 est.)
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    3.8% (2011 est.)
    4.1% (2010 est.)
    $15,800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    $15,400 (2011 est.)
    $14,900 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    32% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    31% of GDP (2011 est.)
    31% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 73.5%
    government consumption: 13.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 23.1%
    investment in inventories: 0.5%
    exports of goods and services: 54.5%
    imports of goods and services: -65.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 4.4%
    industry: 23.5%
    services: 72% (2012 est.)
    sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish
    food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism
    2.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    626,900 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    agriculture and fishing: 9%
    construction and industry: 30%
    transportation and communication: 7%
    trade, restaurants, hotels: 22%
    finance: 6%
    other services: 25% (2007)
    8.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    7.9% (2011 est.)
    8% (2006 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    39 (2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    37 (1987 est.)
    revenues: $2.456 billion
    expenditures: $2.664 billion (2012 est.)
    21.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    -1.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    56.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    57.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
    1 July - 30 June
    3.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    6.5% (2011 est.)
    9% (31 December 2010 est.)
    8.67% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    8.92% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.378 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    $2.263 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $26.17 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    $23.87 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $12.87 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $11.71 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.54 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    $6.506 billion (31 December 2010)
    $4.74 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$1.433 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    -$1.164 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.674 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    $2.647 billion (2011 est.)
    clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish
    UK 18.7%, France 16.4%, US 10.4%, South Africa 9.7%, Spain 7.6%, Italy 7.1%, Madagascar 6.7% (2012)
    $5.107 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    $4.925 billion (2011 est.)
    manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
    India 23.7%, China 15.3%, France 8.9%, South Africa 6.3% (2012)
    $3.046 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    $2.779 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.275 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    $2.686 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Mauritian rupees (MUR) per US dollar -
    30.051 (2012 est.)
    28.706 (2011 est.)
    30.784 (2010 est.)
    31.96 (2009)
    27.973 (2008)

Energy ::Mauritius

Communications ::Mauritius

    374,600 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    1.294 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    general assessment: small system with good service
    domestic: monopoly over fixed-line services terminated in 2005; fixed-line teledensity roughly 30 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular services launched in 1989 with current teledensity roughly 100 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 230; landing point for the SAFE submarine cable that provides links to Asia and South Africa where it connects to the SAT-3/WASC submarine cable that provides further links to parts of East Africa, and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); new microwave link to Reunion; HF radiotelephone links to several countries (2011)
    the government maintains control over TV broadcasting through the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which operates 3 analog and 10 digital TV stations; MBC is a shareholder in a local company that operates 2 pay-TV stations; the state retains the largest radio broadcast network with multiple stations; several private radio broadcasters have entered the market since 2001; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)
    51,139 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    290,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 131

Transportation ::Mauritius

Military ::Mauritius

Transnational Issues ::Mauritius

    Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; claims French-administered Tromelin Island
    consumer and transshipment point for heroin from South Asia; small amounts of cannabis produced and consumed locally; significant offshore financial industry creates potential for money laundering, but corruption levels are relatively low and the government appears generally to be committed to regulating its banking industry