Mauritius

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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 one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

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 181/257

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

Area - comparative

almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

177 km

Maritime claims

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

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

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mont Piton 828 m

Natural resources

arable land, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 43.8%

arable land 38.4%; permanent crops 2%; permanent pasture 3.4%

forest: 17.3%

other: 38.9% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

190 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

2.75 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.73 cu km/yr (30%/3%/68%)

per capita: 568.2 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards

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

Environment - current issues

water pollution, degradation of coral reefs

Environment - international agreements

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

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 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%

Languages

Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language, 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.)

Population 157/238

1,339,827 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.74% (male 141,928/female 135,918)

15-24 years: 15.3% (male 103,549/female 101,469)

25-54 years: 44% (male 294,700/female 294,863)

55-64 years: 11.15% (male 70,810/female 78,599)

65 years and over: 8.81% (male 47,900/female 70,091) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 40.6%

youth dependency ratio: 27.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 13.4%

potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 34.4 years

male: 33.5 years

female: 35.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 150/233

0.64% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 151/224

13.29 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 135/225

6.91 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 88/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 39.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: -0.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PORT LOUIS (capital) 135,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

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

55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 99/184

53 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 135/224

total: 10.3 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.24 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 100/224

total population: 75.4 years

male: 71.94 years

female: 79.03 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 160/224

1.76 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 145/191

4.8% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.62 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

3.4 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 99.8% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0.2% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 93.9% of population

rural: 92.6% of population

total: 93.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 6.1% of population

rural: 7.4% of population

total: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.92% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

8,300 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

500 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 105/191

18.8% (2014)

Education expenditures 123/173

3.7% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 16 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 41/134

total: 23.2%

male: 17.3%

female: 32% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius

conventional short form: Mauritius

local long form: Republic of Mauritius

local short form: Mauritius

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

Government type

parliamentary democracy

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)

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 Day, 12 March (1968)

Constitution

several previous; latest adopted 12 March 1968; amended many times, last in 2012 (2015)

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: 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 Ameenah GURIB-FAKIM (since 5 June 2015); Vice President Monique OHSAN-BELLEPEAU (since 12 November 2010)

head of government: Prime Minister Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 17 December 2014)

cabinet: 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 a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 June 2015 (next to be held in 2020); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly

election results: Ameenah GURIB-FAKIM (independent) elected president by the National Assembly - unanimous vote

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (70 seats maximum; 62 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and up to 8 seats allocated to non-elected party candidates by the Electoral Commissioner's Office to ensure fair and adequate representation of each community and party in the Assembly; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 10 December 2014 (next to be held by 2019); note - the National Assembly was dissolved on 6 October 2014, resulting in early elections

election results: percent of vote by party - Alliance Lepep 49.8%, PTR-MMM 38.5%, FSM 2.1%, OPR 1.1%, other 8.5%; elected seats by party - Alliance Lepep 47, PTR-MMM 13, OPR 2; appointed seats Alliance Lepep 4, PTR-MMM 3, non-elected candidate 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Mauritius (consists of the chief justice, a senior puisne judge, and 17 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 62

subordinate courts: Court of Civil Appeal; Court of Criminal Appeal; Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal (formed by a 2008 constitutional amendment)

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Lepep (Alliance of the People) [Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH] (coalition including MSM, PMSD, 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 [Cehi FAKEERMEEAH]

Militant Socialist Movement (Mouvement Socialist Mauricien) or MSM [Pravind JUGNAUTH]

Muvman Liberator or ML [Ivan COLLENDAVELLOO]

PTR-MMM Coalition [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM] (coalition including PTR and MMM)

Rodrigues Peoples Organization (Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais) or OPR [Serge CLAIR]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Lalit Political Party

Say No to Coal!

other: various labor unions

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

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

National symbol(s)

dodo bird; national colors: red, blue, yellow, green

National anthem

name: "Motherland"

lyrics/music: Jean Georges PROSPER/Philippe GENTIL

note: adopted 1968

Economy

Economy - 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 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’ 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 40% from 2000-2014.

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 2010-14, 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 in 2015.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 138/230

$24.51 billion (2015 est.)

$23.76 billion (2014 est.)

$22.93 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$11.57 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 92/225

3.2% (2015 est.)

3.6% (2014 est.)

3.2% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 88/230

$19,500 (2015 est.)

$18,900 (2014 est.)

$18,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 84/179

20.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

18.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

19.8% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 73.1%

government consumption: 14.8%

investment in fixed capital: 20.7%

investment in inventories: 2.7%

exports of goods and services: 57.9%

imports of goods and services: -69.2%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.5%

industry: 21.7%

services: 73.8% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 150/202

0.9% (2015 est.)

Labor force 156/233

610,400 (2015 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 89/207

7.7% (2015 est.)

7.8% (2014 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 index 86/144

35.9 (2012 est.)

39 (2006 est.)

Budget

revenues: $2.212 billion

expenditures: $2.602 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 167/219

19.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 127/220

-3.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 59/176

61.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

61% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 142/226

3.4% (2015 est.)

3.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 30/156

9% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 103/184

8.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

8.5% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 122/192

$2.324 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.634 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 100/193

$12.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$12.15 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 99/191

$12.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$14.08 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 82/121

$7.093 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$7.667 billion (31 December 2011)

$7.442 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 100/197

-$555 million (2015 est.)

-$699 million (2014 est.)

Exports 128/224

$2.826 billion (2015 est.)

$3.109 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish, primates (for research)

Exports - partners

France 14.6%, UK 13.8%, UAE 10.6%, US 10.5%, South Africa 7.1%, Italy 6.6%, Madagascar 6.5%, Spain 5.2% (2014)

Imports 128/223

$4.573 billion (2015 est.)

$5.361 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals

Imports - partners

India 21.7%, China 16.2%, France 7.8%, South Africa 6.6% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 101/170

$3.732 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.919 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 102/206

$11.83 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$10.92 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$NA

Exchange rates

Mauritian rupees (MUR) per US dollar -

36.81 (2015 est.)

30.62 (2014 est.)

30.62 (2013 est.)

30.05 (2012 est.)

28.71 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 134/220

2.885 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 139/219

2.658 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - exports 169/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 175/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 129/214

778,200 kW (2013 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 60/214

96.5% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 143/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 130/214

3.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 107/212

0.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 169/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 163/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 98/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 169/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 212/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 122/212

24,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 203/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 103/213

23,980 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 104/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 172/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 148/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 101/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 172/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 126/212

5.317 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 110/219

total subscriptions: 370,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 153/217

total: 1.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 124 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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)

Broadcast media

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 4, FM 9, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

2 (plus several repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code

.mu

Internet hosts 95/232

51,139 (2012)

Internet users 175/217

total: 81,700

percent of population: 6.1% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 182/236

5 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 174/223

total: 2,149 km

paved: 2,149 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2012)

Merchant marine 132/156

total: 4

by type: passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Port Louis

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; Mauritius Police Force, Special Mobile Force, National Coast Guard (2011)

Military expenditures 130/132

0.19% of GDP (2012)

0.16% of GDP (2011)

0.19% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

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