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Mauritius Historical and Political Profile

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Mauritius Index

  • Mauritius-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Mauritius-Penal System
  • Mauritius-Health and Welfare
  • Mauritius-Foreword
  • Mauritius-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Mauritius-INDIAN OCEAN -- Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Human Rights
  • Mauritius-Training and Morale
  • Mauritius-Penal System
  • Mauritius-Seychelles People's Defense Forces
  • Mauritius-SOCIETY
  • Mauritius-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Mauritius-Trade and Balance of Payments
  • Mauritius-ECONOMY
  • Mauritius-State Security Services
  • Mauritius-Security Concerns MALDIVES
  • Mauritius-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Mauritius-ECONOMY
  • Mauritius-Acknowledgments
  • Mauritius-Population and Demography SOCIETY AND CULTURE
  • Mauritius-Banking Construction
  • Mauritius-Penal System
  • Mauritius-Early Settlement
  • Mauritius-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Mauritius-Introducation
  • Mauritius-Special Mobile Force
  • Mauritius-Media
  • Mauritius-Security Concerns MAURITIUS
  • Mauritius-Tourism
  • Mauritius-Human Rights
  • Mauritius-Labor
  • Mauritius-Toward Independence
  • Mauritius-Security Concerns COMOROS
  • Mauritius-Human Rights
  • Mauritius-State Security Services
  • Mauritius-Role of Women
  • Mauritius-Penal System
  • Mauritius-Independent Mauritius
  • Mauritius-State Security Services
  • Mauritius-Forces Armées Populaires
  • Mauritius-Tea
  • Mauritius-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Armed Forces
  • Mauritius-Climate
  • Mauritius-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Mauritius-Security Concerns SEYCHELLES
  • Mauritius-Education
  • Mauritius-British Colonial Rule
  • Mauritius-Ethnicity, Religion, and Language
  • Mauritius-Other Crops
  • Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Penal System
  • Mauritius-Water and Electricity
  • Mauritius-Agriculture and Fishing
  • Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Preface
  • Mauritius-Industry and Commerce
  • Mauritius -Chapter 2 - Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Structure of Government GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
  • Mauritius-Human Rights
  • Mauritius-Budget and Public Finance
  • Mauritius-Transportation and Communications
  • Mauritius-Rise of the Sugar Economy
  • Mauritius-Training and Morale
  • Mauritius-Geography PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
  • Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Politics of the Republic of Mauritius
  • Mauritius-Livestock
  • Mauritius-Security Concerns MADAGASCAR
  • BackgroundAlthough 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. Recent poor weather, declining sugar prices, and declining textile and apparel production, have slowed economic growth, leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.
    LocationSouthern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
    Area(sq km)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
    Geographic coordinates20 17 S, 57 33 E
    Land boundaries(km)0 km

    Coastline(km)177 km

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

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mont Piton 828 m
    Natural resourcesarable land, fish
    Land use(%)arable land: 49.02%
    permanent crops: 2.94%
    other: 48.04% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)220 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)2.2 cu km (2001)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.61 cu km/yr (25%/14%/60%)
    per capita: 488 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardscyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
    Environment - current issueswater pollution, degradation of coral reefs
    Environment - international agreementsparty 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
    Geography - notethe main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; 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
    Population1,284,264 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 22.5% (male 147,136/female 142,121)
    15-64 years: 70.4% (male 449,176/female 455,057)
    65 years and over: 7.1% (male 36,309/female 54,465) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 31.9 years
    male: 31 years
    female: 32.7 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)0.776% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)14.41 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)6.59 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 42% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 12.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.51 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 9.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 74 years
    male: 70.53 years
    female: 77.65 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.81 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Mauritian(s)
    adjective: Mauritian
    Ethnic groups(%)Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%

    Religions(%)Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census)
    Languages(%)Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4%, English (official; spoken by less than 1% of the population), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census)

    Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
    conventional short form: Mauritius
    local long form: Republic of Mauritius
    local short form: Mauritius
    Government typeparliamentary democracy
    Capitalname: Port Louis
    geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions9 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
    Constitution12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

    Legal systembased on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief of state: President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 7 October 2003); Vice President Angidi Veeriah CHETTIAR (since 24 August 2007)
    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
    elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly
    election results: Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH reelected president by unanimous vote; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA%

    Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities; to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held on 3 July 2005 (next to be held in July 2010)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AS 38, MSM/MMM 22, OPR 2; appointed seats - AS 4, MSM/MMM 2, OPR 2

    Judicial branchSupreme Court

    Political pressure groups and leadersother: various labor unions
    International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, CPLP (associate), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SAARC (observer), SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Flag descriptionfour equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green

    Economy - overviewSince 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 the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable 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).
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$15.43 billion (2008 est.)
    $14.65 billion (2007 est.)
    $13.89 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$8.738 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)5.3% (2008 est.)
    5.5% (2007 est.)
    5.1% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$12,100 (2008 est.)
    $11,600 (2007 est.)
    $11,100 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 4.6%
    industry: 24.9%
    services: 70.5% (2008 est.)
    Labor force584,000 (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture and fishing 9%, construction and industry 30%, transportation and communication 7%, trade, restaurants, hotels 22%, finance 6%, other services 25% (2007)
    Unemployment rate(%)7.2% (2008 est.)
    8.8% (2007 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)8% (2006 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    Distribution of family income - Gini index39 (2006 est.)
    37 (1987 est.)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)25.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $1.871 billion
    expenditures: $2.163 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)9.7% (2008 est.)
    8.8% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$1.68 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.673 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$6.914 billion (31 December 2008)
    $6.759 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$9.323 billion (31 December 2008)
    $8.582 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$3.443 billion (31 December 2008)
    $5.666 billion (31 December 2007)
    $3.598 billion (31 December 2006)
    Economic aid - recipient$31.93 million (2005)

    Public debt(% of GDP)56.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
    29.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productssugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish
    Industriesfood processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism

    Industrial production growth rate(%)5% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$972.8 million (2008 est.)
    -$408.3 million (2007 est.)
    Exports$2.4 billion (2008 est.)
    $2.231 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish
    Exports - partners(%)UK 30.8%, France 15.1%, US 8.6%, Italy 6.5%, Belgium 5.3%, UAE 5.1%, Madagascar 4.1% (2008)
    Imports$4.399 billion (2008 est.)
    $3.656 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
    Imports - partners(%)India 21.1%, France 11.8%, South Africa 9.9%, China 8.2% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.785 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $1.822 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$5.077 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $2.149 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
    Exchange ratesMauritian rupees (MUR) per US dollar - 27.973 (2008 est.), 31.798 (2007), 31.656 (2006), 29.496 (2005), 27.499 (2004)

    Currency (code)Mauritian rupee (MUR)

    Telephones - main lines in use364,500 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular1.033 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral 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 teledensity in 2008 reaching 80 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 (2008)
    Internet country code.mu
    Internet users380,000 (2008)
    Airports5 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 2,028 km
    paved: 2,028 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2007)

    Ports and terminalsPort Louis
    Military branchesno regular military forces; Mauritius Police Force, Special Mobile Force, National Coast Guard (2009)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 341,018 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 277,690
    females age 16-49: 282,211 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 10,901
    female: 10,796 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
    Disputes - internationalMauritius claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants, who reside chiefly in Mauritius; claims French-administered Tromelin Island

    Electricity - production(kWh)2.321 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 90.8%
    hydro: 9.2%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)2.158 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)23,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)22,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1.7% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS13,000 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 100 (2001 est.)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 84.4%
    male: 88.4%
    female: 80.5% (2000 census)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 14 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 13 years (2005)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.9% of GDP (2006)

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