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Flag of Mauritius
Map of Mauritius
Introduction Mauritius
Discovered by the Portuguese in 1505, Mauritius was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence 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 and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.
Geography Mauritius
Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates:
20 17 S, 57 33 E
Map references:
Political Map of the World
total: 2,040 sq km
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
water: 10 sq km
land: 2,030 sq km
Area - comparative:
almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
177 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)
small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Piton 828 m
Natural resources:
arable land, fish
Land use:
arable land: 49.26%
permanent crops: 2.96%
other: 47.78% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
200 sq km (1998 est.)
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: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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
Geography - note:
the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs
People Mauritius
1,200,206 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.4% (male 153,810; female 150,464)
15-64 years: 68.3% (male 409,028; female 411,070)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 30,170; female 45,664) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.86% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
16.34 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.81 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
16.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.53 years
female: 75.58 years (2002 est.)
male: 67.54 years
Total fertility rate:
2 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.08% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian
Ethnic groups:
Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%
Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%
English (official), Creole, French (official), Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 78.8% (1995 est.)
Government Mauritius
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
conventional short form: Mauritius
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Port Louis
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
12 March 1968 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 March (1968)
12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992
Legal system:
based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Karl OFFMANN (since 25 February 2002) and Vice President Raouf BUNDHUN (since 25 February 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 17 September 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister Paul BERENGER (since 17 September 2000)
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; election last held 25 February 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly
election results: Karl OFFMANN elected president and Raouf BUNDHUN elected vice president; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (66 seats; 62 elected by popular vote, 4 appointed by the election commission from the losing political parties to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 11 September 2000 (next to be held by September 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - MSM/MMM 52.3%, MLP/PMSD 36.9%, OPR 10.8%; seats by party - MSM/MMM 54, MLP/PMSD 6, OPR 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
Hizbullah [Cehl Mohamed FAKEEMEEAH]; Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]; Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER] - in coalition with MSM; Mauritian Militant Renaissance or MMR [Dr. Paramhansa NABABSING]; Mauritian Social Democrat Party or PMSD [Charles Xavier-Luc DUVAL]; Militant Socialist Movement or MSM [Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH] - governing party; Rodrigues Movement or OPR [Joseph (Nicholas) Von MALLY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
various labor unions
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Usha JEETAH
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0983
telephone: [1] (202) 244-1491, 1492
chancery: 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 441, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John PRICE
embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis
mailing address: international mail: P. O. Box 544, Port Louis; US mail: American Embassy, Port Louis, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450
telephone: [230] 202-4400
FAX: [230] 208-9534
Flag description:
four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green
Economy Mauritius
Economy - overview:
Since 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. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector and responsible fiscal management, was well-poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
purchasing power parity - $12.9 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $10,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 33%
services: 61% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
10% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
0 (1987 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.2% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
514,000 (1995) (1995)
Labor force - by occupation:
construction and industry 36%, services 24%, agriculture and fishing 14%, trade, restaurants, hotels 16%, transportation and communication 7%, finance 3% (1995) (1995)
Unemployment rate:
8.6% (2001 est.)
revenues: $1.1 billion
expenditures: $1.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing; chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
8% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.285 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 91%
hydro: 9%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.195 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish
$1.6 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses
Exports - partners:
UK 25.8%, France 20.8%, US 16.0%, South Africa 10.9%, Germany, Italy (2000 est.)
$2 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals (1996)
Imports - partners:
South Africa 20.0%, France 19.0%, India 9.0%, Hong Kong 5.2%, UK (2000 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.3 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$42 million (1997) (1997)
Mauritian rupee (MUR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Mauritian rupees per US dollar - 30.345 (January 2002), 29.129 (2001), 26.250 (2000), 25.186 (1999), 22.993 (1998), 21.057 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Mauritius
Telephones - main lines in use:
280,900 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
180,000 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: small system with good service
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay trunk system
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); new microwave link to Reunion; HF radiotelephone links to several countries
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 9, shortwave 0 (2002)
420,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (plus several repeaters) (1997)
258,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
158,000 (2002)
Transportation Mauritius
0 km (2002)
total: 1,860 km
paved: 1,786 km (including 36 km of expressways)
unpaved: 74 km (2001)
Ports and harbors:
Port Louis
Merchant marine:
total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 66,004 GRT/90,017 DWT
ships by type: cargo 2, combination bulk 2, container 2, refrigerated cargo 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience:, Belgium 1, India 3, Norway 1, Switzerland 2 (2002 est.)
5 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Mauritius
Military branches:
National Police Force (includes the paramilitary Special Mobile Force or SMF and National Coast Guard)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 340,050 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 171,239 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$9.1 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.2% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Mauritius
Disputes - international:
Mauritius claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants, who reside chiefly in Mauritius, but were granted UK citizenship and the right to repatriation in 2001; claims French-administered Tromelin Island
Illicit drugs:
minor 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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003