Mark Twain has rightly said “God created Mauritius first and then heaven.”
Mauritius is one of the most cosmopolitan countries on earth. The enchanted island is rightly called ‘Gods’ own Island in the Sun’. Mauritius is one of the most advance countries of Africa with a strategic location. Surprisingly though, about sixty percent of the one million Mauritians are people of Indian origin.
Government is committed to providing quality education to all its citizens. Primary and secondary education is available to all. Successive local Governments here have built a strong foundation on which tertiary education (higher education) especially in the science and technology sector, comparable to the best in world. The Govt. is aggressively encouraging participation of private institutes as well. A public health care system providing basic services to all citizens free of charges is also into practice. Today, Mauritius has even made its way to United Nations.
Winter of 2013, I plotted to travel to a country, where I could see the economy from different vintage points. And in the quest to find the answer for something that perplexed me – I wanted to find through my research with the University of Mauritius (for 45 days) that ‘being such a small economy, what except tourism constitutes the Gross Domestic Product of Mauritius making its per capita income higher than that of India?
Mauritius got independent in the year 1968. The island was earlier colonized by the Dutch, then by the French and finally the British. After independence, Mauritius developed very good trade relations with India, China, France, New Zealand, Austria, U.S.A and many other countries. For centuries, Mauritius has been a mono-crop economy i.e. cultivating only sugarcane.
Five years post their independence Mauritius entered the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) i.e. the manufacturing sector, with textiles. It diversified its economy with the agriculture of tea, vegetables and fruits. After the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, in 1970 it ventured into the tourism and construction sectors, which somewhat boosted the economy. It was later in the year 1990 that Mauritius received an overwhelming support from its financial services sector, which eventually went onto become the most important part of the economy because it was like a gateway between Asia and Africa. Today it is standing as a tiger in Indian Ocean as it is one of the most developed countries in it and even from Africa’s perspective it is a big economy.
But what makes Mauritian economy so stable?
It only has human resources and very few natural resources. The government has made physical and monetary policies so that Mauritians could readily import and export to diversify their economy. From the starting of EPZ in 1970, they have been exporting fruits, flowers and sugar. Lately they have started with the export of seafood also. Now seafood and oceanography are the two major pillars of their economy as well as the highest contributors of the GDP. The six pillars of the Mauritian economy are Agriculture, Tourism, Financial services, Construction services, Information and Communication Technology and Trading.
India and China have been supporting Mauritius, since its independence, to develop and carve a niche for itself in the world. India in fact, is helping by setting up a naval base for them. Even the European markets have been welcoming the good-quality Mauritian products. Today, Mauritius is ranked 29th among the list of easiest countries’ to do business with. They have good facilities for starting a business, trading, opening off- shores, companies and even for the banking sector. Today Mauritius has banks from all over the globe, easily accessible to all, be it local, French (29% of Mauritian population) or various international customers.
Mauritius is intensively investing in the Education sector by constructing more institutions, providing free education to all, till higher school, providing graduate degrees at subsidized fees in universities, all in all, making Mauritius a knowledge hub. It gets international students from India, China, Europe, Africa and many other countries.
Mauritius experiences a tropical climate, making it a pleasant stay. Its Real estate industry is now open to the world. Anyone from around the globe can invest there without going through the tedious and long procedures. Even the procedures to acquire occupational permit and residential permit have now been shortened to attract foreign residents. Mauritian government ensures to provide placement benefits to the educated youth and welfare benefits to the retired folks.
This island has sophisticated government norms, pumping GDP, and beautiful scenery making it lucrative for everyone; residents, tourists and businessmen.
Mauritius truly is ‘Gods’ own island’, in every aspect, literally as well as metaphorically.
Photo Courtesy: Abhishek Gupta, OneWorldNews
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