Mauritius has a rich and diverse cultural and economic background. The country was first visited by the Arabs and later by the Portuguese. The first nation, however, which made an attempt for settlement were the Dutch during the seventeenth century. After their departure the French landed on the island and were followed by the British who took over the island in 1810 after defeating the French. It remained a British colony until 1968 when it became an independent member of the Commonwealth.
From a mono-crop economy based on sugar, Mauritius diversified into export oriented manufacturing (mostly textile) and up-market tourism in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the services sector including international financial services was developed.
Visitors from all over the world find Mauritius a fascinating country with a multi-racial and multi-lingual population often described as a rainbow nation.Our history
Mauritius is situated in the Indian Ocean, approximately 2,400 kilometers off the South East Coast of Africa. The Island is of volcanic origin and covers an area of 1,865 square kilometers. Equipped with strong and efficient management and a stable government, Mauritius has been able to emerge from its economic difficulties in 1982 to become a model economy for development.
The Mauritian economy is based on free enterprise with the private sector playing a major role and the government providing the infrastructure and legal framework.
The country enjoys favourable treatment for its exports to the European Union through the LOME convention. Its membership of the Preferential Trade Area of the Eastern and Southern African States opens a significant market of several countries.
In the early 1980’s, Government launched a comprehensive adjustment program aimed at fostering economic development through export-led industrialization, agricultural diversification and expansion of the tourist industry. Consequently, the Mauritian economy witnessed sustained expansion and real growth.
Tourism has also emerged as one of the most important foreign exchange earners with about 1.0 million tourists visiting the island in 2010 and about 100 hotels in operation with total bed capacity of 25, 000, the hotel industry providing about 26, 000 direct employment and contributing more than Rs 50 billion in foreign currency.
However, with future changes in the international economy such as GATT reforms, global markets will become increasingly competitive for Mauritius traditional exports. All efforts are now geared towards consolidating the main pillars of the economy as well as stimulating new priority sectors such as electronics, information technology, jewellery, etc. At the same time financial services is being developed as part of a policy of diversificationThe General Economy
Mauritius lies between latitude 20 South and longitude 57 East in the Indian Ocean. Its neighbours are the islands of Reunion and Madagascar. The islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon all of which are considerably smaller than the island of Mauritius itself, form part of the Mauritian territory.
Mauritius is a multi-racial country with an estimated population of 1.2 million from the following ethnic origins - European, African, Indian and Chinese. 63% of the population are under 35 years of age and the country’s population growth is about 1% per annum.
The official language is English but French is widely spoken. Hindi is also a common language. Literacy rate is over 90%.The land and the people
The Republic of Mauritius has a democratic system of government based on the Westminster model which guarantees the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. The President is the Head of State but full executive powers rest with the Prime Minister who is head of the Government.
Members of the National Assembly are elected every five years by universal suffrage. All major political parties are represented, reflecting the predominance of democratic conditions.The Government
Mauritius has a hybrid legal system which is based on both French and English laws. The procedural law both in criminal and civil litigation is mainly English, whilst the substantive law is mainly based on the French Napoleonic Code.
The Highest Court of Appeal in the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in England. Mauritius is a member of the International Court of Justice, the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).The Legal System