Mauritius (GPS: 20 17 S, 57 33 E) is located in Southern Africa, an island in the Indian Ocean, about 800 km (500 mi) east of Madagascar. The country’s area measurements are total: 2,040 sq km; land: 2,030 sq km, water: 10 sq km. This sovereign state is almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC. The total irrigated land is 190 sq km (2012).
One of Mauritius’s essential features: The main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost surrounded by coral reefs. The former home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, was driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Port Louis’s GPS coordinates are 20 09 S 57 29 E. Port Louis’s local time is 9 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+4.
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 essential role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations and 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 has attracted considerable foreign investment and has one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.
Mauritius’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Mauritius, traditional short form: Mauritius, local long form: the Republic of Mauritius, local short form: Mauritius. Note: island named after Prince Maurice VAN NASSAU, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, in 1598. Island was named after Prince Maurice VAN NASSAU, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, in 1598.
Mauritius’s terrain is typically a small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling the central plateau. The country’s mean elevation: N/A, elevation extremes; lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m, highest point: Mont Piton 828 m.
The country’s general climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds: warm, dry winter (May to November): hot, wet, humid summer (November to May).
The total number of border countries is 0; none are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Mauritius’s coastline is 177 km. Its marital claims are: measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the edge of the continental margin. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 43.8%; arable land 38.4%; permanent crops 2%; permanent pasture 3.4%; forest: 17.3%; other: 38.9% (2011 estimate).
The population in Mauritius 1,364,283 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 39.7% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: PORT LOUIS (capital) 135,000 (2014), while Mauritius has N/A. Their spoken languages are Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language) spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1% (2011 estimate). Main religions in Mauritius are Hindu 48.5%, Roman Catholic 26.3%, Muslim 17.3%, other Christian 6.4%, other 0.6%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 estimate). The nation uses a civil legal system based on French civil law with some English common law elements. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 12 March (1968).
Economic overview for the country: 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 currently depends on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, but is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, education, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area, but sugar makes up only around 3-4% of the national GDP.
Authorities plan to emphasize services and innovation in the coming years. After several years of slow growth, government policies now seek to stimulate economic growth in five areas: serving as a gateway for international investment into Africa; Increasing the use of renewable energy; Developing smart cities; Growing the ocean economy; And upgrading and modernizing infrastructure, including public transportation, the port, and the airport. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. The Mauritius International Financial Center is under scrutiny by international bodies promoting fair tax competition. Mauritius has been cooperating with the European Union and the United States to exchange account information automatically. Mauritius is also a member of the OECD/G20’s Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and is under pressure to review its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements. The offshore sector is vulnerable to changes in the tax framework, and authorities have been working on a Financial Services Sector Blueprint to enable Mauritius to transition to higher value-added jurisdiction.
The textile sector of Mauritius has taken advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. This preferential trade program allows duty-free access to the US market, with Mauritian exports to the US growing by 35.6 % from 2000 to 2014. However, the lack of local labor and rising labor costs eroded textile firms’ competitiveness in Mauritius. Mauritius’ sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped mitigate the global financial crisis’s damaging effects in 2008-2009. GDP grew in the 3-4% per year range in 2010-2017, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe. Growth in the US and Europe fostered exports, including tourism, while lower oil prices kept inflation low. Mauritius continues to rank as one of the most business-friendly environments on the continent and passed a Business Facilitation Act to improve competitiveness and long-term growth prospects. A new National Economic Development Board was set up in 2017-2018 to spearhead efforts to promote exports and attract inward investment.
Natural resources of Mauritius: arable land, fish.
Main export partners for Mauritius, Africa are the UK 13.2%, UAE 12.4%, France 11.9%, US 10.7%, South Africa 8.6%, Madagascar 6.5%, Italy 5.4%, Spain 4.4% (2015) for clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish, primates (for research), while the main import partners for the country are: India 18.7%, China 17.8%, France 7.1%, South Africa 6.5%, Vietnam 4.4% (2015) for manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Mauritius: Cyclones (November to April), almost surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime risks, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Mauritius faces the following environmental issues: Water pollution, degradation of coral reefs, Soil erosion, wildlife preservation, Solid waste disposal.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Mauritius around its 0 km border – No border countries.