Economy India - Mauritius


Mauritius has transformed over the years from a traditional low-income, sugarcane based mono-crop economy to a middle-income diversified economy with the thrust areas being travel and tourism, textiles and financial services. ICT sector is also envisaged as the emerging pillar of the Mauritian economy. Around 67 % of the GDP now comes from the service sector.

For most of the period, annual growth of the Mauritian economy has been in the order of 5 per cent to 6 per cent. The growth rate has been able to translate itself into more equitable income distribution, a much-improved infrastructure and better socio-demographic indicators. 

The sugar industry owed much of its success to the Sugar Protocol under the successive Lome Conventions under which Mauritius benefited from export quotas with the EC at preferential guaranteed prices. Under the Lome Convention, the EC guaranteed price generally remained above world market prices, which provided Mauritius with a "sugar dividend”, for decades. The guaranteed price and quota systems have been done away with under the WTO regulations. 

Special provisions under Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provided by the US which included a clause to extend Third Country Fabric Privilege to Mauritius have helped the local textile industry. Similarly under the Cotonou Agreement, the flexible Rules of Origin provided by EU have helped boost Mauritian textile exports. In order to provide locals with access to imports at lower prices and attract more tourists, duty has been eliminated/ decreased for several products as Mauritius aims to become a duty-free island. The Mauritius Freeport was established in 1992 with an aim of providing a customs-free zone for re-exportable goods.

Mauritius is a member of several regional groupings such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Mauritius has Observer Status in SAARC. 

The main export market for Mauritius in the year 2008 remained the European countries with a share of 67.9%, while on a country-wise basis, the United Kingdom was the main buyer, accounting for 34.0% of total exports. The other main markets were France (13.4%), USA (6.7%), Madagascar (5.9%), Italy (4.6%) and South Africa (3.6%). The main items of exports were Clothing & Apparel, Sugar, Fish, Jewellery, Machinery & Equipment, etc.

The Asian countries supplied 54.1% of the imported products of Mauritius for the year 2008 and another 24.3% came from European countries. The main source of imports was India (23.9%), followed by China (11.5%), South Africa (8.1%), France (7.7%), Japan (4.1%), Spain (2.8%), Malaysia (2.6%), Italy (2.5%), Australia (2.4%) and U.S.A (2.4%). The main items of imports were Petroleum products, Machinery & Transport Equipment; Textile/ fabric and yarn machinery, vehicles, rice, wheat, fish and processed foods, construction and synthetic materials

Economic Overview: 2007 2008 2009 (forecast)
Nominal GDP( US$ mn) 7,517 10,696 11,347
Real GDP growth rate (%) 5.4 5.2 2
GDP per head (US$) 7518 8706 8043
GDP per head (US$ PPP) 8531 7774 7448
Inflation 8.9 9.7 4.7
Unemployment (%) 8.5 7.8 7.8
Agriculture growth rate (%) -7.4% 4.2 1.0
Industrial growth rate (%) 4.7 4.0 3.0
Services growth rate (%) 6.1 5.7 2.0
Exports (US$ mn fob) 2231 2684 2700
Imports (US$ mn fob) 3656 4440 4444
Trade balance (US$ mn) - 1425 - 1756 - 1744
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