Photos of Mauritius

Tropical Cyclone Dumile over La Reunion Island and Mauritius was captured by satellite on 3 January 2013. Dumile's center was just northwest of Reunion (left) and Mauritius (right). The large island to the left is Madagascar. Image courtesy of NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Introduction

Background

Although known to Arab and European sailors since at least the early 1500s, the island of Mauritius was uninhabited until 1638 when the Dutch established a settlement named in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU. Their presence led to the rapid disappearance of the flightless dodo bird that has since become one of the most well-known examples of extinction in modern times. The Dutch abandoned their financially distressed settlement in 1710, although a number of formerly enslaved people remained. In 1722, the French established what would become a highly profitable settlement focused on sugar cane plantations that were reliant on the labor of enslaved people brought to Mauritius from other parts of Africa. In the 1790s, the island had a brief period of autonomous rule when plantation owners rejected French control because of laws ending slavery that were temporarily in effect during the French Revolution. Britain captured the Island in 1810 as part of the Napoleonic Wars, but kept most of the French administrative structure which remains to this day in the form of the country’s legal codes and widespread use of French Creole language. The abolition of slavery in 1835 - later than most other British colonies - led to increased reliance on contracted laborers from the Indian subcontinent to work on plantations. Today their descendants form the majority of the population. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing a role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as for the collection of signals intelligence.

Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968 as a Parliamentary Republic and has remained a stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record. The country also attracted considerable foreign investment and now has one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Mauritius’ often fractious coalition politics has been dominated by two prominent families each of which has had father-son pairs who have been prime minister over multiple, often nonconsecutive, terms. Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (1968-76) was Mauritius’ first prime minister and he was succeeded by Anerood Jugnauth (1982-95, 2000-03, 2014-17); his son Navin Ramgoolam (1995-2000, 2005-14); and Paul Raymond Berenger (2003-05). In 2017, Pravind Jugnauth became prime minister after his father stepped down short of completing his term, and he was elected in his own right in 2019. Mauritius claims the French island of Tromelin and the British Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory). Since 2017, Mauritius has secured favorable UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions and an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion relating to its sovereignty dispute with the UK.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, about 800 km (500 mi) east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates

20 17 S, 57 33 E

Area

total: 2,040 sq km

land: 2,030 sq km

water: 10 sq km

note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues

country comparison to the world: 180

Area - comparative

almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC

<p>almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC</p>

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

177 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

Climate

tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)

Terrain

small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau

Elevation

highest point: Mont Piton 828 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

arable land, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 43.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 38.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 17.3% (2018 est.)

other: 38.9% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

190 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population density is one of the highest in the world; urban cluster are found throught the main island, with a greater density in and around Port Luis; population on Rodrigues Island is spread across the island with a slightly denser cluster on the north coast as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards

Geography - note

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

Nationality

noun: Mauritian(s)

adjective: Mauritian

Ethnic groups

Indo-Mauritian (compose approximately two thirds of the total population), Creole, Sino-Mauritian, Franco-Mauritian

note: Mauritius has not had a question on ethnicity on its national census since 1972

Languages

Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language of the National Assembly, which is spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

Religions

Hindu 48.5%, Roman Catholic 26.3%, Muslim 17.3%, other Christian 6.4%, other 0.6%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

Demographic profile

Mauritius has transitioned from a country of high fertility and high mortality rates in the 1950s and mid-1960s to one with among the lowest population growth rates in the developing world today. After World War II, Mauritius’ population began to expand quickly due to increased fertility and a dramatic drop in mortality rates as a result of improved health care and the eradication of malaria. This period of heightened population growth – reaching about 3% a year – was followed by one of the world’s most rapid birth rate declines.

The total fertility rate fell from 6.2 children per women in 1963 to 3.2 in 1972 – largely the result of improved educational attainment, especially among young women, accompanied by later marriage and the adoption of family planning methods. The family planning programs’ success was due to support from the government and eventually the traditionally pronatalist religious communities, which both recognized that controlling population growth was necessary because of Mauritius’ small size and limited resources. Mauritius’ fertility rate has consistently been below replacement level since the late 1990s, a rate that is substantially lower than nearby countries in southern Africa.

With no indigenous population, Mauritius’ ethnic mix is a product of more than two centuries of European colonialism and continued international labor migration. Sugar production relied on slave labor mainly from Madagascar, Mozambique, and East Africa from the early 18th century until its abolition in 1835, when slaves were replaced with indentured Indians. Most of the influx of indentured labor – peaking between the late 1830s and early 1860 – settled permanently creating massive population growth of more than 7% a year and reshaping the island’s social and cultural composition. While Indians represented about 12% of Mauritius’ population in 1837, they and their descendants accounted for roughly two-thirds by the end of the 19th century. Most were Hindus, but the majority of the free Indian traders were Muslims.

Mauritius again turned to overseas labor when its success in clothing and textile exports led to a labor shortage in the mid-1980s. Clothing manufacturers brought in contract workers (increasingly women) from China, India, and, to a lesser extent Bangladesh and Madagascar, who worked longer hours for lower wages under poor conditions and were viewed as more productive than locals. Downturns in the sugar and textile industries in the mid-2000s and a lack of highly qualified domestic workers for Mauritius’ growing services sector led to the emigration of low-skilled workers and a reliance on skilled foreign labor. Since 2007, Mauritius has pursued a circular migration program to enable citizens to acquire new skills and savings abroad and then return home to start businesses and to invest in the country’s development.

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.44% (male 137,010/female 131,113)

15-24 years: 14.06% (male 98,480/female 95,472)

25-54 years: 43.11% (male 297,527/female 297,158)

55-64 years: 12.31% (male 80,952/female 88,785)

65 years and over: 11.08% (male 63,230/female 89,638) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Mauritius. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 41.5

youth dependency ratio: 23.7

elderly dependency ratio: 17.7

potential support ratio: 5.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 36.3 years

male: 35 years

female: 37.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80

Birth rate

12.44 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Death rate

7.23 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 109

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Population distribution

population density is one of the highest in the world; urban cluster are found throught the main island, with a greater density in and around Port Luis; population on Rodrigues Island is spread across the island with a slightly denser cluster on the north coast as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 40.8% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

149,000 PORT LOUIS (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

61 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.82 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.11 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.7 years

male: 73.29 years

female: 80.29 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.6 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

3.4 beds/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 99.2% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0.8% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<1000 (2020)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91.3%

male: 93.4%

female: 89.4% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 16 years (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 21.8%

male: 16.8%

female: 28.4% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Environment

Environment - current issues

water pollution, degradation of coral reefs; soil erosion; wildlife preservation; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 13.54 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 4.35 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.06 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)

Land use

agricultural land: 43.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 38.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 17.3% (2018 est.)

other: 38.9% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 40.8% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 438,000 tons (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 260 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 12 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 344 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.751 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius

conventional short form: Mauritius

local long form: Republic of Mauritius

local short form: Mauritius

etymology: island named after Prince Maurice VAN NASSAU, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, in 1598

note: pronounced mah-rish-us

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Port Louis

geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E

time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Louis XV, who was king of France in 1736 when the port became the administrative center of Mauritius and a major reprovisioning stop for French ships traveling between Europe and Asia

Administrative divisions

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

Independence

12 March 1968 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence and Republic Day, 12 March (1968 & 1992); note - became independent and a republic on the same date in 1968 and 1992 respectively

Constitution

history: several previous; latest adopted 12 March 1968

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage of amendments affecting constitutional articles, including the sovereignty of the state, fundamental rights and freedoms, citizenship, or the branches of government, requires approval in a referendum by at least three-fourths majority of voters followed by a unanimous vote by the Assembly; passage of other amendments requires only two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; amended many times, last in 2016

Legal system

civil legal system based on French civil law with some elements of English common law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 out of the previous 7 years including the last 12 months

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Pritivirajsing ROOPUN (since December 2019); Vice President Marie Cyril Eddy Boissézon (2 December 2019) note - President Ameenah GURIB-FAKIM (since 5 June 2015) resigned on 23 March 2018 amid a credit card scandal

head of government: Prime Minister Pravind JUGNAUTH (since 23 January 2017, remains PM after parliamentary election 7 Nov 2019); note - Prime Minister Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 17 December 2014) stepped down on 23 January 2017 in favor of his son, Pravind Kumar JUGNAUTH, who was then appointed prime minister; 7 Nov 2019 Pravind Jugnauth remains prime minister and home affairs minister and also becomes defense minister (2019)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers (Council of Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for 5-year renewable terms; election last held on 7 Nov 2019 (next to be held in 2024); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly (2019)

election results: seats by party as of 7/11/2019- (MSM) 38, (PTR) 14, (MMM) 8, (OPR) 2; note - GURIB-FAKIM, Mauritius'- first female president, resigned on 23 March 2018 (2018)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (70 seats maximum; 62 members directly elected multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and up to 8 seats allocated to non-elected party candidates by the Office of Electoral Commissioner; members serve a 5-year term)

elections: last held on 7 November 2019 (next to be held by late 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - MSM 61%, Labour Party 23%, MMM 13%, OPR 3%; elected seats by party as of - the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) wins 38 seats, the Labour Party (PTR) or (MLP) 14,  Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) 8 and the Rodrigues People's Organization (OPR) 2; composition - men 49, women 13; percent of women 20% (2019)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Mauritius (consists of the chief justice, a senior puisne judge, and 18 puisne judges); note - the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal

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 67

subordinate courts: lower regional courts known as District Courts, Court of Civil Appeal; Court of Criminal Appeal; Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Lepep (Alliance of the People) [Pravind JUGNAUTH] (coalition includes MSM and ML)
Labor Party (Parti Travailliste) or PTR or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]
Mauritian Militant Movement (Mouvement Militant Mauricien) or MMM [Paul BERENGER]
Mauritian Social Democratic Party (Parti Mauricien Social Democrate) or PMSD [Xavier Luc DUVAL]
Mauritian Solidarity Front (Front Solidarite Mauricienne) or FSM [Cehl FAKEERMEEAH, aka Cehl MEEAH]
Militant Socialist Movement (Mouvement Socialist Mauricien) or MSM [Pravind JUGNAUTH]
Muvman Liberater or ML [Ivan COLLENDAVELLOO]
Patriotic Movement (Mouvement Patriotic) [Alan GANOO]
Rodrigues Peoples Organization (Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais) or OPR [Serge CLAIR]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, C, CD, COMESA, CPLP (associate), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SAARC (observer), SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Purmanund JHUGROO (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 1709 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; administrative offices at 3201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 441, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 244-1491; [1] (202) 244-1492

FAX: [1] (202) 966-0983

email address and website:
mauritius.embassy@verizon.net; washingtonemb@govmu.org

https://mauritius-washington.govmu.org/Pages/index.aspx

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Judes E. DEBAERE (since June 2019); note - also accredited to Seychelles

embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Avenue, Port Louis

mailing address: 2450 Port Louis Place, Washington, DC 20521-2450

telephone: [230] 202-4400

FAX: [230] 208-9534

email address and website:
PTLConsular@state.gov

https://mu.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

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

note: while many national flags consist of three - and in some cases five - horizontal bands of color, the flag of Mauritius is the world's only national flag to consist of four horizontal color bands

National symbol(s)

dodo bird, Trochetia Boutoniana flower; national colors: red, blue, yellow, green

National anthem

name: Motherland

lyrics/music: Jean Georges PROSPER/Philippe GENTIL

note: adopted 1968

Economy

Economic overview

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has undergone a remarkable economic transformation from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a diversified, upper middle-income economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. Mauritius has achieved steady growth over the last several decades, resulting in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure.

 

The economy currently depends on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, but is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, education, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area but sugar makes up only around 3-4% of national GDP. Authorities plan to emphasize services and innovation in the coming years. After several years of slow growth, government policies now seek to stimulate economic growth in five areas: serving as a gateway for international investment into Africa; increasing the use of renewable energy; developing smart cities; growing the ocean economy; and upgrading and modernizing infrastructure, including public transportation, the port, and the airport.

 

Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. The Mauritius International Financial Center is under scrutiny by international bodies promoting fair tax competition and Mauritius has been cooperating with the European Union and the United states in the automatic exchange of account information. Mauritius is also a member of the OECD/G20’s Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and is under pressure to review its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements. The offshore sector is vulnerable to changes in the tax framework and authorities have been working on a Financial Services Sector Blueprint to enable Mauritius to transition to a jurisdiction of higher value added. Mauritius’ textile sector has taken advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a preferential trade program that allows duty free access to the US market, with Mauritian exports to the US growing by 35.6 % from 2000 to 2014. However, lack of local labor as well as rising labor costs eroding the competitiveness of textile firms in Mauritius.

 

Mauritius' sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped mitigate negative effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew in the 3-4% per year range in 2010-17, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe. Growth in the US and Europe fostered goods and services exports, including tourism, while lower oil prices kept inflation low. Mauritius continues to rank as one of the most business-friendly environments on the continent and passed a Business Facilitation Act to improve competitiveness and long-term growth prospects. A new National Economic Development Board was set up in 2017-2018 to spearhead efforts to promote exports and attract inward investment.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$24.64 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$28.95 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$28.1 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 146

Real GDP growth rate

3.8% (2017 est.)

3.8% (2016 est.)

3.6% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Real GDP per capita

$19,500 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$22,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$22,200 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 88

GDP (official exchange rate)

$14.004 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.4% (2019 est.)

3.2% (2018 est.)

3.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Baa1 (2012)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.8% (2017 est.)

services: 74.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 81% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 42.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -55.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, poultry, pumpkins, gourds, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, pineapples, bananas, fruit

Industries

food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 8%

industry: 29.8%

services: 62.2% (2014 est.)

Budget

revenues: 2.994 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.038 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

64% of GDP (2017 est.)

66.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$875 million (2017 est.)

-$531 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Exports

$5.17 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$5.59 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Exports - partners

France 10%, South Africa 10%, United States 10%, United Kingdom 8%, Zambia 7%, Madagascar 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

fish products, raw sugar, clothing and apparel, diamonds, refined petroleum (2019)

Imports

$7.41 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$7.53 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

Imports - partners

China 15%, India 13%, France 10%, South Africa 8%, United Arab Emirates 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, fish products, aircraft, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.984 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$4.967 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

Debt - external

$226.799 billion (2019 est.)

$232.17 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

Exchange rates

Mauritian rupees (MUR) per US dollar -

39.65 (2020 est.)

36.51 (2019 est.)

34.4 (2018 est.)

35.057 (2014 est.)

30.622 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 458,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33.45 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,866,600

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 136.12 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Mauritius is successfully pursuing a policy to make telecommunications a pillar of economic growth, and to have a fully digital-based smart infrastructure; the island nation is a pioneer in the telecom sector, with the first market in greater Africa to launch mobile networks and provide 3G, the first in the world to develop a nationwide WiMAX wireless broadband network, and one of the first to launch IPTV; LTE and fiber broadband are nationally available, and the government supports national Wi-Fi; international cable connectivity has improved, increasing bandwidth capacity; submarine cable provides connectivity to South Africa and beyond; major importer of broadcasting equipment from China (2021) (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity 34 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular services teledensity approaching 151 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 230; landing points for the SAFE, MARS, IOX Cable System, METISS and LION submarine cable system that provides links to Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean Islands of Reunion, Madagascar, and Mauritius; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); new microwave link to Reunion; HF radiotelephone links to several countries (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

the government maintains control over TV broadcasting through the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which only operates digital TV stations since June 2015; 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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 799,470

percent of population: 58.6% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 307,200

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 22.4 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 13

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,745,291 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 233.72 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways

total: 2,428 km (2015)

paved: 2,379 km (includes 99 km of expressways) (2015)

unpaved: 49 km (2015)

country comparison to the world: 168

Merchant marine

total: 30

by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 5, other 24 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 134

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Port Louis

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) includes a paramilitary unit known as the Special Mobile Force, which includes a motorized infantry battalion and 2 light armored squadrons; the PMF also has a Police Helicopter Squadron, a Special Support Unit (riot police), and the National Coast Guard (also includes an air squadron) (2021)

Military expenditures

0.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.2% of GDP (2019)

0.2% of GDP (2018)

0.2% of GDP (2017)

0.2% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 167

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Special Mobile Force has approximately 1,700 personnel; the National Coast Guard has about 800 (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the MPF's inventory is comprised of mostly second-hand equipment from France, Germany, India, and the UK (2021)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; claims French-administered Tromelin Island

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Mauritius is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Mauritian girls are induced or sold into prostitution, often by peers, family members, or businessmen offering other forms of employment; Mauritian adults have been identified as labor trafficking victims in the UK, Belgium, and Canada, while Mauritian women from Rodrigues Island are also subject to domestic servitude in Mauritius; Malagasy women transit Mauritius en route to the Middle East for jobs as domestic servants and subsequently are subjected to forced labor; Cambodian men are victims of forced labor on foreign fishing vessels in Mauritius’ territorial waters; other migrant workers from East and South Asia and Madagascar are also subject to forced labor in Mauritius’ manufacturing and construction sectors

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Mauritius does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, the government made modest efforts to address child sex trafficking but none related to adult forced labor; law enforcement lacks an understanding of trafficking crimes outside of child sex trafficking, despite increasing evidence of other forms of human trafficking; authorities made no trafficking prosecutions or convictions and made modest efforts to assist a couple of child sex trafficking victims; officials sustained an extensive public awareness campaign to prevent child sex trafficking, but no efforts were made to raise awareness or reduce demand for forced adult or child labor (2015)

Illicit drugs

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