Mauritius Terrain: small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau;

Natural Resources: arable land, fish;

Natural Hazards: cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards;

Population: 1,322,238 (July 2013 est.)


Introduction: Background

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 important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as 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, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.

People and Society

Population 1,313,095 (July 2012 est.)
Languages Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4%, English (official; spoken by less than 1% of the population), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census)
Religions Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census)
Median Age total: 32.7 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 33.6 years (2011 est.)
Age Structure 0-14 years: 21.8% (male 145,185/female 139,579)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 457,743/female 463,875)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 38,944/female 58,391) (2011 est.)


Government Type parliamentary democracy
Capital name: Port Louis
geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Legal System civil legal system based on French civil law with some elements of English common law


Location Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Area – Comparative almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC
Area total: 2,040 sq km
land: 2,030 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
Climate tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)
Terrain small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
Natural Hazards cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
Natural Resources arable land, fish


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. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings. The government’s development strategy centers on creating vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. Investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritius’ sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped to mitigate negative effects from the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew more than 4% per year in 2010-11, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe.
GDP (Official Exchange Rate) $11 billion (2011 est.)
Budget revenues: $2.367 billion
expenditures: $2.845 billion (2011 est.)
Current Account Balance -$1.077 billion (2011 est.)
-$801.7 million (2010 est.)
Imports – Commodities manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Exports – Commodities clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish


Broadcast Media the government maintains control over TV broadcasting through the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which operates 3 analog and 10 digital TV stations; MBC is a shareholder in a local company that operates 2 pay TV stations; the state retains the largest radio broadcast network with multiple stations; several private radio broadcasters have entered the market since 2001; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)
Internet Users 290,000 (2009)
Internet Hosts 51,123 (2011)
Telephones – Mobile Cellular 1.191 million (2010)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use 387,700 (2010)

Airports 5 (2010)
Roadways total: 2,066 km
paved: 2,066 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2009)
Ports and Terminals Port Louis
Merchant Marine total: 3
by type: passenger/cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2010)

Manpower Fit for Military Service males age 16-49: 280,596
females age 16-49: 283,317 (2010 est.)

Transitional Issues
Disputes – International Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; claims French-administered Tromelin Island