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Mauritius: Keeping Heaven Afloat

3 Oct, 2022

Mauritius lies off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean near Seychelles and Madagascar. This volcanic island is bursting with natural wonders like mountains, forests, and beaches. The paradise on Earth was an untouched Eden when Dutch settlers first discovered it in the 16th century. After which it was inhabited by pirates, French, and British settlers. Originally an agricultural economy, it was used extensively to grow sugarcane. The British also used it for their Great Experiment and played a big part in shaping the population. 70% of its population has its roots in indentured laborers.

Today, Mauritius is a multicultural society with people from South Asia (mostly India), Africa, and Europe. English is most commonly spoken alongside French, Hindi, Creole, and even some Chinese languages. Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam are widely practiced. It was visited by prominent figures like Charles Darwin and Mark Twain, the latter of whom famously said that heaven itself must have been fashioned after Mauritius.

Tourism is by far the most important industry in Mauritius today. The GDP shrunk by 15% in 2020 during the pandemic. Since its independence in 1968, the economy has diversified into clothing manufacturing, information technology, and business and finance services.

Mauritius Export Overview

The history of the island’s sugarcane production is still visible today. Rum is still widely produced and sugarcane is still quite prevalent. Tourism and the colorful multi-cultural society also play a big role in the current exports. Due to foreign exposure and deep tradition, the production of clothes has also become huge.

It is also situated in the Indian Ocean making fishing another mainstay. The Trade Vision has extensive resources that inform traders of real-time trade developments in Mauritius. Exporters and importers across the world have expanded their operations using data and marketing intelligence reports from The Trade Vision.

Mauritius: Top Export Commodities

  1.  Processed Fish ($244 million)
  2.  Raw Sugar ($197 million)
  3.  Non-Knit Men's Suits ($94.4 million)
  4.  Knit T-shirts ($87.3 million)
  5.  Non-Knit Men's Shirts ($83 million)

Mauritius: Top Export Countries

  1. France ($201 million)
  2. United States ($187 million)
  3. South Africa ($170 million)
  4. United Kingdom ($154 million)
  5. Zimbabwe ($148 million)

Mauritius Import Overview

Mauritius has one of the highest population densities in the world. The bustling tourism industry is loud and attractive making it a big part of the lives of local people. The same industry also demands a steady supply of high-quality food ingredients. Thus frozen fish are imported in large quantities to meet tourism demand. Since more than half the land is arable, local food requirements are met with the harvest. Having no get-rich-quick resources like crude oil, minerals, or ores though, the country has to meet its needs through imports.

Mauritius: Top Import Commodities

  1. Refined Petroleum ($521 million)
  2. Non-fillet Frozen Fish ($194 million)
  3. Cars ($152 million)
  4. Packaged Medicaments ($139 million)
  5. Concentrated Milk ($90.4 million)

Mauritius: Top Import Countries

  1. China ($781 million)
  2. United Arab Emirates ($510 million)
  3. India ($438 million)
  4. France ($353 million)
  5. South Africa ($307 million)

Mauritius: What’s In Store?

Mauritius was able to avoid the acute health crisis that COVID-19 had caused around the globe through great public management. Yet the effects of the pandemic had reversed recent gains in poverty reduction and women’s labor force participation. It had also impacted the country’s tourism industry severely, a core part of its economy. Arrivals decreased by 41.8 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. Even after the full reopening of borders on October 1, 2021, monthly arrivals hovered below 50 percent of pre-pandemic figures.

A successful vaccination campaign with 76% of the population is fully vaccinated by end-February 2022 was a cornerstone of recovery. However, as imports grew faster than exports in 2021, the trade deficit widened by 39.4%. A double-digit recession in 2020, and tourism still remain subpar.

The key challenges for the country include managing the transition to a knowledge-based economy. This is to reinvigorate growth and job creation to come back stronger than before. Even further in the future, the single biggest threat to the country seems to be climate change. Like countless other islands around the globe, Mauritius faces the urgent need to adapt to climate change or face forced migration.

Expand your business operations to Mauritius with assistance from The Trade Vision. We are an international trade research company, and we provide actionable analytics that steers clear of the noise.

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