Credit Access in Mauritius
Mauritius, the island nation in the Indian Ocean, has undergone a financial transformation since the early 2000s, promoted by the government in order to catalyze the economy of the country. This has impacted credit access in Mauritius in a big way. Since 2000, the country has experienced losses connected to its truncated access to EU sugar and textile markets and is facing steeper competition from China and other East Asian exports.

Mauritius Economy Compared to Other Countries

This loss of preferential treatment and high budget deficit spells a slight struggle for Mauritius to retain its middle-income standing. Currently, the country ranks 65th in the world on the Human Development Index, and in 2014, it was the second highest country in Africa on the development list. Mauritius’ Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is at $9,770 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that the country performs better than the average compared with other sub-Saharan African and middle-income countries as far as information ability, involvement of the trade community, advance rulings, appeal procedures and internal border agency cooperation.

By continuing to focus on the area of governance and impartiality, Mauritius can increase its trade volumes and lower trade costs. A strengthened customs system and transparent ethics policy could be the final stretch to reach the Prime Minister’s dream of a high-income country.

Government Initiatives

The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, has predicted a revamping of the economy and expresses hope for Mauritius moving into the future. Key reforms introduced in the 2018/2019 budget helped bring Mauritius its present position. The Minister also touched on the government’s dedication to raising the country to high-income level country, thereby funneling benefits to every citizen. Already this commitment can be seen in the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and financial services, estimated to continue at 4.1 percent in 2019.

The government introduced changes to the legislative system in order to prevent money laundering and corrupt business. In his speech, the Prime Minister assured that the country is conducting a national risk assessment of terrorism financing.

Credit Access in Mauritius

A report from the Global Findex as of 2017 records 68.5 percent of Mauritians making or receiving digital payments, as well as 48.3 percent using credit or debit cards. The percentage of adults above the age of 15 who borrowed from a financial institution in Mauritius was at 22.9 percent, much higher than the sub-Saharan average of 8.4 percent, in comparison. Outstanding housing loans are increasing in availability as well, and almost 90 percent of adults were able to obtain access to financial institution accounts, banks or otherwise.

Enjoying past growth of upwards of 6 percent in the 1990s and continued economic performance, Mauritius is still dealing with the changes in the EU Sugar Protocol and falling sugar prices. As of 2006, the government incentivized seafood production in order to shift toward exporting fish instead of sugar, as well as a list of Integrated Resort Schemes offering luxury villas to foreigners. Diversifying the market and leveling the competition will surely launch Mauritius ahead in the economic playing field. The GDP by sector reveals the sugar sector operates at a modest 4.3 percent in 2007, led by government services at 15 percent, wholesale at 11, finance and real estate at 14.2 and many other diverse trade sectors.

Unfortunately, drastic adjustments meant one-third of employees for the sugar sector were redundant. The lost sugar income has still not been completely replaced, but the government is focused on diversification and increasing exports in the coming years.

In addition to experiencing an incredible 195 percent wealth growth from 2007 to 2017, credit access in Mauritius continues to increase due to strong ownership rights, a resilient economy, and ease of investment. Hopefully, the country’s example spearheads a movement throughout Asia for easier credit access and stable banks and economy.

– Hannah Peterson
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in MauritiusMauritius is a beautiful island nation in the Indian Ocean long marveled for its exquisite beaches, temperate climate and tropical wildlife. On March 12, 1968, Mauritius gained independence and has since worked to stabilize its people and economy.

Under the parliamentary system, there have been ups and downs. There has, however, been a large push in recent years to equalize and promote equality of girls’ education in Mauritius.

Mauritius School Enrollment

Over the years, Mauritius has had an increase of boys enrolled in school, both in primary and secondary grades. However, with an uptick in the care for girls’ education in Mauritius, there has also been an increase in the girls attending school.

As of 2015, the gender parity between the sexes was 1.03, an indication that there are actually more boys left out of the current curriculum than girls. This is a big difference from the 1970s where the disparity was between 0.93 and 0.95. Such a change shows the work that Mauritius has done to assure that girls’ education in Mauritius is a forefront focus of the country.

The problem women face in the Mauritius economy does not end at the education level. In fact, girls education in Mauritius is one of the rare areas in which women outshine their male counterparts. While women currently outperform men in the school systems, female unemployment is quite high and women are mostly not employed in upper-tier jobs.

Gender Inequality

A documented reason for such a void is the lack of women with STEM-related degrees (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) since they are mostly focusing on the humanities instead. Mauritius values the higher paying STEM careers, and there exists a continuous and gender unequal payment gap as a result.

Unfortunately, the history of colonialism in Mauritius displays its ugly side even today and has contributed to the classist privilege for certain people to obtain education over others. Many children, primarily from the non-elite groups in Mauritius, leave school before passing government tests.

Additionally, 20 percent of the students that do leave are considered to be functionally illiterate, which leads to marginalization — especially of women in society. Poverty rates then also increase as a result.

STEM Focus

There has been a recent push in papers written and subjects explored to explain the lack of women in STEM careers. These studies included determining how equipped schools are to teach these subjects and found that the lack of collaborative practices in the classroom is a large factor in keeping girls education in Mauritius at its low level in these subjects.

The conclusions from such papers include that while girls education is a priority in Mauritius, STEM-related teachings need to be more predominant and further encourage female participation.

Implementation of New Systems

The Minister of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius recently determined that there would be various new tactics used to encourage education for girls in Mauritius. While the Minister agrees that girls education in Mauritius is improving at a rapid and excellent pace due to the fact that Mauritius is a small country, he concedes that more of a focus needs to be placed on the STEM subjects.

With the Minister of Education focusing so heavily on this, a promotion of STEM-related areas for girls education in Mauritius should expand greatly. This will provide the country with a strong, talented workforce, and further boost the prosperity of Mauritius.

– Kayleigh Mattoon
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to MauritiusAfter becoming independent from Britain in 1968, the country of Mauritius began a diplomatic relationship with the United States that is still important today. Mauritius, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, has become one of Africa’s most developed and stable economies, transforming itself from an impoverished country dependent on sugar to a middle-income nation with a diverse economy. Throughout this period of growth and success, the U.S. has been an important partner and has seen great benefits from foreign aid invested in Mauritius. There are three main ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Mauritius.

Maritime Security

One of the biggest priorities for U.S. foreign aid in Mauritius is maritime security: keeping the Indian Ocean safe from piracy and crime. Maritime security allows for safer trade routes and prevents terrorism that could potentially spring up in the area.

Mauritius is one of the only countries in the region with a strong program for maritime protection and has been an important player in U.S. efforts to keep the Indian Ocean secure. U.S. foreign aid in Mauritius provides security officers with training that deals with counterterrorism methods, seamanship, forensics and maritime law enforcement. Without such measures in place, shipping and trading on the high seas, which have benefited the U.S. and Mauritius, could be more challenging.

Trade and Economic Growth

Mauritius is an example of how foreign aid is a form of investment. As the U.S. used foreign aid to develop Mauritius’ economy and improve trade relations, more and more U.S. businesses invested in Mauritius and experienced great results. The U.S. and Mauritius have a bilateral trade and investment agreement and are active trading partners.

As one of Africa’s most developed economies, Mauritius has engaged in many trade agreements and embraced free-market opportunities, some of which were only made possible with U.S. foreign assistance. In 2016, for example, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (funded by USAID) and Mauritius’ Board of Investment signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in investment promotion activities. The Hub also agreed to help Mauritius take advantage of trading opportunities with the U.S. and incentivize trade in the nation.

Since Mauritius’ has grown to an upper middle-income country and U.S. brands are purchased commonly in this new market, more than 200 companies and products from the U.S. do business in Mauritius. The U.S. exports agricultural and industrial machinery, jewelry and medical instruments to Mauritius and benefits from Mauritius imports such as textiles, precious stones, processed fish and sugar. Bilateral trade between these two countries is currently valued at $337 million.

Diplomacy and Political Stability

An important sector of U.S. foreign assistance is democracy, human rights and governance. Although Mauritius is already a multi-party democracy, foreign aid to Mauritius is still used to secure future democratic peace and stability in Mauritius and throughout Africa. Political stability in Africa is beneficial to the U.S., as unstable African countries that lack strong governments sometimes become havens for terrorism, threatening national security.

One way that foreign aid is used to foster diplomacy with Mauritius is through exchange programs such as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program, started by President Obama in 2010, is an important U.S. effort to invest in future African leaders. The YALI program’s goal is to educate and network young African leaders to work for a peaceful future in Africa.

Since 2010, 66 Mauritians participated in the YALI program in the U.S. and then returned to their country to start new businesses, organizations and programs. There are also Mauritians involved in the YALI Regional Leadership Center in South Africa. These centers act as hubs throughout Africa that enhance leadership skills and teach young people to play important roles in their communities. There are about 1,300 members from Mauritius in the YALI Network, which continually provides online resources for young leaders to learn the skills and connections needed to bring change to their communities and stability to their countries.

These examples demonstrate how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Mauritius and the importance of this partnership both now and in the future.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

development projects in MauritiusMauritius is a southern African island country in the Indian Ocean that is famous as a tourist destination. The country is known for its peaceful people comprised of mixed races and multiple languages. Mauritius initially had an agriculture-based economy which the nation diversified into various sectors, including sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel and financial services, transforming it from a lower- to an upper-middle-income economy.

At present, the country is trying to achieve the status of a high-income economy by 2020. In order to reach this goal, various development projects in Mauritius are aiming to create job opportunities, update primary education, generate sustainable energy and improve the infrastructure of the country.

Indian Government Development Projects in Mauritius

In March 2017, India allocated ₨ 12.7 billion for various priority development projects in Mauritius, including the following:

  1. Metro Express Project
    In August 2017, ₨ 9.9 billion was earmarked for the construction of an express metro, which will facilitate transportation between Curepipe and Port Louis, covering a distance of 26 km. The project aims to decrease traffic congestion and save ₨ 4 billion each year. It consists of 19 stations, 6 urban terminals and four interchanges with 18 air-conditioned trains in operation. It is expected to be completed by September 2019.
  2. Early Digital Learning Program
    The project started in 2017 with the aim of supplying digital tablets to students in grades one and two containing digitized study materials. ₨ 500 million has been spent on this program, which includes the cost of hardware, software and training assistance.
  3. Trident Project
    India is providing a fund of $4 million with an additional $52.3 million line of credit for this project. Its aim is to upgrade the maritime and surveillance operations of the Mauritius National Coast Guard to fight against drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean.
  4. Building Projects
    The remainder of the ₨ 12.7 billion is going towards the construction of several new buildings, including ₨ 1.1 billion for a new Supreme Court building in the capital city of Port Louis, ₨ 700 million for construction of social housing units and ₨ 500 million for an up-to-date ENT hospital.

Projects with the African Development Bank

In 2013, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa granted $1 million for the development of a Deep Ocean Water Application Project in Mauritius. The aim of the project was to install an innovative low carbon seawater air conditioning system.

Mauritius has no oil or natural gas reserves, and so to reduce its energy imports, it has employed this seawater air conditioning system. The system extracts and pumps cold water from the Indian Ocean, which is used to air condition the business district of Saint Louis and its adjacent regions.

This innovative technique has helped to lower the cost of air conditioning systems and reduced carbon emissions by 40,000 tons. It has provided jobs to local engineers and technicians and also created job opportunities in other sectors like aquaculture, pharmaceuticals and bottling.

Mauritius is also looking forward to other development projects in cooperation with India as well as the World Bank, which will help it achieve the status of a high-income developed country.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in MauritiusWith a growing population in recent years, Mauritius’ M2 motorway from BioPark to Port Louis is frequently clogged by traffic. Employees who travel far from home struggle to find parking spaces and walk along unpaved roads. Mauritius’ traditional power supply methods have also played a role in hindering the country’s finances, costing $561 million in 2010 for imported fossil fuel. Improving infrastructure in Mauritius is now key to reducing the country’s annual costs and improving its economy.

In June 2014, the African Development Bank approved a $116.7 million loan to the Mauritius Central Electricity Board for a project intended to redevelop Port Louis’ power plant. The electricity produced by the project’s installations will be distributed to all the corners of Mauritius’ main island, where 97 percent of its population resides. Residents of residential areas, including workers of industrial zones, will benefit from reduced emissions and noises.

Mauritius also has a dwindling water supply due to old pipes and infrastructure. In February 2015, the country’s government revealed plans to renew and replace these pipes and ensure an annual water supply. A new dam will be built at Rivière des Anguilles, improving Mauritius’ water supply in the southern region as well. New water treatment plants will also be constructed at La Nicolière and Bagatelle.

Wastewater infrastructure in Mauritius is also in need of care. The Mauritian government promised to review a program that could ensure a competitive wastewater disposal technology for the environment. The program will also address sanitation problems in the former CHA housing estates and regions that are vulnerable to environmental hazards regarding water disposal.

In March 2016, plans were announced to develop Mauritius’ airport, meaning traffic could increase throughout the country’s roads as well. Construction for an access road to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport began, marking the first major infrastructure project for Mauritius that year. The road would provide a bypass to reduce traffic congestion, enhance road safety in residential areas and offer an alternative route to the airport in case of emergencies.

Nandcoomar Bodha, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, highlighted three guiding principles for the construction work: no cost variations, no delays and high-quality work. Bodha commended the company Omnicane for providing 50 arpents of land to the road project as well. Jacques d’Unienville, Omnicane’s CEO, says the new road has to promote the country because it will be a gateway between Mauritius and visitors from abroad.

Mauritius’ Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth realizes that traffic jams cost the country four billion rupees annually. In September 2017, Mauritius began a $560 million project for a new light rail system that could cut these traffic jams and the country’s business costs. The rail system will connect Curepipe, a central Mauritius town, to the Port Louis capital. Officials say the project’s first stage where Port Louis and Rose Hill are connected is expected to reach completion by September 2019.

Projects for the country’s power source methods, water supply and decreasing traffic will continue to improve infrastructure in Mauritius. The country’s economy will also benefit from reducing costs of energy expenses and traffic jams. Mauritius’ infrastructure can continue improving so long as more projects are started to help the country’s restructuring process.

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr


Mauritius is one of the developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa that over the decades has become a middle-income country providing good health care and education systems, a stable governance, good communications and a functioning infrastructure.

Although poverty in Mauritius is not as severe as in other parts of African, minor poverty does exist in rural parts of the country. In 2006, about 8 percent of the country was under the poverty line and humanitarian aid to Mauritius isn’t much compared to other countries; despite this, there are consistent allies that have helped the country get to its current status.

From 1966 to 2015, the nation received a total of $76.6 million in humanitarian aid that has since been distributed to development projects and various improvements.

Mauritius became a member state of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 1979. Since their admission into IFAD, $23.1 million has been put into projects and programs to improve the quality of life within Mauritius. IFAD currently works to address rural poverty with a collaborative approach with the government to reduce the frequency of poverty. This approach involves knowledge management and sharing, partnership-building and policy dialogue. Rodrigues Island, an island on Mauritius, receives special attention from IFAD on improving incomes and livelihoods for poor rural areas.

In 2014, Britain gave more than $24 million in humanitarian aid to Mauritius that helped towards the nation’s building of gated communities, shopping centers and an elite boarding school by Wellington College, based in the Berkshire.

Mauritius also received $500 million from India in 2017, an amount provided after the two countries decided to reinforce maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. Mauritius Prime Minister Pavind Kumar Jugnauth and India’s Narendra Modi both agreed that the successful management of any and all threats in the Indian Ocean was imperative to secure people of both countries and pursue economic opportunities.

With vigilant eyes focused on the success of Mauritius, humanitarian aid will help in keeping the island safe, modern and prosperous.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr