flag Mauritius Mauritius: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

Mauritius has had low but steady growth rates in the recent past (averaging 3.8% during 2015–19) and is among the most dynamic economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IMF, benefiting from pre-pandemic fiscal and external safeguards, the Mauritian economy has experienced a robust recovery from the pandemic's aftermath. Real GDP surged by 8.9% in 2022, driven by a resurgence in tourism and manufacturing. This momentum continued in 2023 with a sustained growth rate estimated at 6.9%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Key factors contributing to this growth include vibrant tourism, ongoing construction in social housing, and the consistent strong performance of the transport and financial services sectors. For 2024, real GDP growth is anticipated to reach 4.9%, propelled by the escalation of significant social housing and public transportation initiatives in construction, alongside the resurgence of tourism to pre-pandemic levels.

Concerning public finances, while an expansionary fiscal stance is anticipated for fiscal year 2023-24, with the primary fiscal deficit expected to broaden to 2.9% of GDP, excluding grants, it remains crucial to implement the authorities' medium-term growth-friendly fiscal consolidation plan. This strategy aims to diminish public debt and reconstruct fiscal buffers, emphasizing the mobilization of additional tax revenue and curbing current spending, all while safeguarding the most vulnerable segments of society. The debt-to-GDP ratio was estimated at 79.7% in 2023, from 83.1% one year earlier, and is expected to follow a downward trend, declining to 78.8% by 2025 (IMF). The average headline inflation dropped from 10.8% in 2022 to 7.0% in 2023. Additionally, the external current account deficit is projected to have notably narrowed in 2023, while foreign exchange reserves reached USD 7.3 billion by the end of the year. The IMF outlook suggests that headline inflation will moderate to 4.9% on average in 2024, primarily influenced by the dynamics of international oil and food prices. Key to supporting private sector investment and fostering economic diversification is the advancement of structural reforms. This involves maintaining compliance with Anti Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, enhancing governance practices, addressing skill mismatches in the labor market, and promoting digitalization and climate-resilient infrastructure investment. These efforts are essential for creating an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth and development.

The island of Mauritius has made substantial progress in its campaign for social equality and poverty reduction and represents an exemplary model of development. The island is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank, with a high Human Development Index, and is seeking to become a high-income country within the next decade. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita (PPP) reached USD 26,979 in 2022, the second-highest in Africa after Seychelles. Data by Statistics Mauritius show that the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 was estimated at 6.1%, compared to 6.8% in the corresponding period of the previous year. Out of the total of 36,400 unemployed individuals, 14,400 were males (40%) and 22,000 were females (60%).

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 12.9014.8216.1117.3018.15
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 8.75.13.83.43.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 10,22711,75212,77313,72414,395
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -2.2-3.2-3.7-2.7-2.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 83.179.778.978.879.5
Inflation Rate (%) n/a7.86.57.44.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 7.77.47.37.37.3
Current Account (billions USD) -1.49-0.92-0.66-0.81-0.96
Current Account (in % of GDP) -11.5-6.2-4.1-4.7-5.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector is relatively small, accounting for 3.6% of GDP and around 5% of total employment (World Bank, latest data available). Approximately 40% of the nation's territory is dedicated to agriculture, with sugarcane dominating nearly 90% of cultivated land, serving as a primary source of export revenue. The remaining portion is allocated to tea, tobacco, and a limited variety of food crops, predominantly vegetables and fruits. In fact, Mauritius has a food self-sufficiency ratio of less than 30% and imports many of its essential food requirements. Products imported include rice, meat and fish, certain fruits (oranges, mandarins, and grapes), pulses, milk and dairy products, fresh and frozen vegetables, coffee, tea and spices, cereals, oil, beverages, wheat, and food preparations.

The industry sector has been growing in importance, now contributing 18.2% of GDP and 21% of employment. The Mauritian manufacturing sector – which is estimated to account for 12% of GDP by the World Bank - has traditionally been dominated by textiles and sugar production. The former developed from basic productions to a vertically integrated subsector, turning Mauritius into the textile hub of excellence in Southern Eastern Africa. According to the latest figures from Statistics Mauritius, the industrial production index rose by 2.1% in 2023, driven by growth in electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (+5.4%), manufacturing (+2.1%), and water supply, sewerage, waste management, and remediation activities (+2.6%).

The tertiary sector dominates the country’s economy, services being the main employer (73% of the workforce) and the largest contributor to GDP (65.8%). The financial services sector is a core part of the economy, with a GDP contribution of 13.1%, which includes 6.6% in financial intermediation, 2.1% in insurance activities, and 0.6% in financial leasing and other credit-granting activities (Mauritius International Financial Centre). The tourism sector is also pivotal: before the pandemic, Mauritius attracted 1.4 million tourists, but the numbers dropped drastically following the COVID-19 restrictions. In 2023, the country welcomed 1,295,410, returning close to the pre-pandemic level (Statistics Mauritius).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 5.1 23.6 71.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.4 18.4 65.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.4 5.6 10.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
American Dollar (USD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 0.030.030.030.030.03

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
77/100
World Rank:
13
Regional Rank:
1

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Mauritius has a liberal economic and trade policy, with a trade-to-GDP ratio of 119% (World Bank, latest data available). The country is a member of the WTO, as well as other regional economic groups (COMESA, SADC, IOC). Mauritius aims to transform the island into an open and globally competitive economy and to fully integrate it into the world trade system through its trade policies. Comparatively, the island does not have many trade barriers and customs duties are low. In 2023, Mauritius exports were led by articles of apparel & clothing accessories (23.5%), fish and fish preparations (20.3%), cane sugar (17.3%), textile yarns, fabrics, made-up articles (7.8%); whereas the country imported chiefly machinery & transport equipment (23.5%), mineral fuels, lubricants, & related products (20.6%), food and live animals (19.1%), manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (13.3%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (9.2% - data Statistics Mauritius).

The country’s main export destinations in 2023 were South Africa (12.7%), the United Kingdom (12.4%), France (10.9%), the U.S. (10.8%), Spain (8.2%), Madagascar (8.1%), and Italy (6.3%); while imports came mostly from China (15.8%), the United Arab Emirates (11.1%), India (10.2%), South Africa (7.3%), France (6.1%), Germany (3.3%), and Japan (3.1% - data Statistics Mauritius).
Mauritius imports more than it exports, resulting in a structural trade deficit. In 2022, the country exported USD 2.38 billion worth of merchandise (+21.7% year-on-year) against USD 6.60 billion in imports (+28.7% y-o-y). Traditionally, the country is a net service exporter, thanks to its tourism sector: in 2022, Mauritius exported USD 2.6 billion worth of services against USD 2 billion in imports. When computing both goods and services, Mauritius’ trade deficit stood at 6.1% of GDP in 2022 (from 9.6% one year earlier - World Bank). According to the latest data from Statistics Mauritius, in 2023, total export proceeds amounted to MUR 104,081 million, marking a 1.4% decline from MUR 105,524 million in 2022. This decrease primarily stems from drops in "manufactured goods classified chiefly by material" (-13.0%) and "miscellaneous manufactured articles" (-9.4%), although partially mitigated by an increase in "food and live animals" (+17.2%). On the import front, total imports for 2023 totaled MUR 284,348 million, reflecting a 2.7% reduction compared to MUR 292,112 million in 2022. This decline is chiefly attributed to decreases in "manufactured goods classified chiefly by material" (-18.4%) and "mineral fuels, lubricants & related products" (-12.4%), but somewhat offset by rises in "machinery & transport equipment" (+18.4%) and "food and live animals" (+3.4%).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,6615,5964,2205,1336,609
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,3662,2231,7891,9622,388
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,1462,0711,3071,4122,032
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,2203,0351,3001,2322,618
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.21.6-28.67.710.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.2-2.7-28.711.538.3
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 52.052.246.554.063.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 46.144.139.444.256.2
Trade Balance (million USD) -3,015-3,071-2,126-2,683-3,618
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -1,941-2,106-2,134-2,863-3,031
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 98.196.385.998.2119.3

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
South Africa 13.4%
France 12.9%
Madagascar 9.0%
United Kingdom 8.6%
United States 8.0%
See More Countries 48.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 16.1%
India 9.8%
South Africa 9.1%
United Arab Emirates 9.0%
Oman 8.3%
See More Countries 47.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

Main Products

1.9 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar...Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs 13.6%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 10.5%
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers,...Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (excl. knitted or crocheted, wind-jackets and similar articles, separate waistcoats, tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear) 6.2%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 5.1%
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 4.5%
See More Products 60.1%
6.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 19.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.0%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 3.1%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 2.6%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.6%
See More Products 68.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development 
Statistics Mauritius
Economic Development Board Mauritius
Statistical Office
Statistics Mauritius
Central Bank
Bank of Mauritius
Stock Exchange
Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM)
Search Engines
Economic Portals

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Pritivirajsing ROOPUN (since 2 December 2019)
Prime Minister: Pravind JUGNAUTH (since 23 January 2017)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2024
National Assembly: 2024
Main Political Parties
The main political parties include:

- Militant Socialist Movement (MSM): centre-left, democratic socialism; it is the largest single political party in the National Assembly (36 of the 69 seats) following the 2019 general elections
- Labour Party (PTr): centre-left, social-democratic
- Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM): left-wing socialist party
- Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD): conservative and Francophilic

- Muvman Liberater (ML): left-wing, democratic socialism
- Rodrigues People's Organisation (OPR): left-wing, based in the Island of Rodrigues
- Plateforme Militante (PM): left-wing.

Type of State
Democratic parliamentary Republic
Executive Power
The President and the vice president are indirectly elected by the National Assembly for 5-year renewable terms. The president appoints the Prime Minister and the deputy prime minister who have the majority support in the National Assembly.
Legislative Power
The legislative power is vested in the unicameral Parliament, called the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale. The Assembly has a maximum of 70 seats, of which 62 members are directly elected multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and up to 8 seats are allocated to non-elected party candidates by the Office of Electoral Commissioner. Its members serve a 5-year term.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
61/180

Source: Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7
Civil Liberties:
50 out of 60 (free) - Civil liberties (50 out of 60)

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
As of 2023, no particular measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic affect Mauritius' international trade. VAT has been reduced from 15% to 0% for masks and hand sanitisers.
For a general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted during the pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Mauritius on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For a summary of business support measures announced by the Mauritian Government in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, consult the dedicated page on the website of the Ministry of Finance.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the national government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Mauritius in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: May 2024