Mauritius [Country Flag of Mauritius]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Mauritius]



[Top of Page]

Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates: 20 17 S, 57 33 E

Map references: World

total: 1,860 sq km
land: 1,850 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues

Area—comparative: almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 177 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire 828 m

Natural resources: arable land, fish

Land use:
arable land: 49%
permanent crops: 3%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 170 sq km (1993 est.)

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

Environment—current issues: water pollution

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


[Top of Page]

Population: 1,168,256 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26% (male 155,917; female 152,563)
15-64 years: 68% (male 393,330; female 397,285)
65 years and over: 6% (male 28,092; female 41,069) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.2% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 18.64 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 16.54 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.9 years
male: 67.05 years
female: 74.74 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.22 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian

Ethnic groups: Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%

Religions: Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%

Languages: English (official), Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 78.8% (1995 est.)


[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
conventional short form: Mauritius

Data code: MP

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Port Louis

Administrative divisions: 9 districts and 3 dependencies*; Agalega Islands*, Black River, Cargados Carajos*, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Riviere du Rempart, Rodrigues*, Savanne

Independence: 12 March 1968 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 March (1968)

Constitution: 12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

Legal system: based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Cassam UTEEM (since 1 July 1992) and Vice President Rabindranath GHURBURRUN (since 1 July 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 27 December 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held 28 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president and are responsible to the National Assembly
election results: Cassam UTEEM elected president and Rabindranath GHURBURRUN elected vice president; percent of vote by the National Assembly—NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (66 seats—62 popularly elected, 4 appointed; members serve five-year terms); note—the election commission appoints four members from the losing political parties to give representation to various ethnic minorities
elections: last held on 20 December 1995 (next to be held by December 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—MLP/MMM 65%, MSM/MMR 20%, other 15%; seats by party—MLP 35, MMM 25, allies of MLP and MMM on Rodrigues Island 2; appointed were Rodrigues Movement 2, PMSD 1, Hizbullah 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders:
government party: Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]
opposition parties: Hizbullah [Imam Mustapha BEEHARRY]; MSM/MMR alliance consisting of the Militant Socialist Movement or MSM [Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH] and the Mauritian Militant Renaissance or MMR [Dr. Paramhansa NABABSING]; Mauritian Social Democrat Party or PMSD [Xavier-Luc DUVAL]; Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER]; Organization of the People of Rodrigues or OPR [Louis Serge CLAIR]; Rodrigues Movement [Nicholas Von MALLY, leader]

Political pressure groups and leaders: various labor unions

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Chitmansing JESSERAMSING
chancery: Suite 441, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-1491, 1492
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0983

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Harold Walter GEISEL (8 July 1996)
embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis
mailing address: International Mail: P.O. Box 544, Port Louis; US Mail: American Embassy, Port Louis, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450
telephone: [230] 208-2347, 208-2354, 208-9763 through 9767
FAX: [230] 208-9534

Flag description: four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green


[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low income, agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial services, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been of the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable achievement has been reflected in increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much improved infrastructure. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on industrialization (with a view to modernization and to exports), agricultural diversification, and tourism. Economic performance in 1991-97 continued strong with solid growth and low unemployment.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$11.7 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5.4% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,300 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 29%
services: 63% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6.5% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 514,000 (1995)
by occupation: construction and industry 36%, services 24%, agriculture and fishing 14%, trade, restaurants, hotels 16%, transportation and communication 7%, finance 3% (1995)

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (1995)

revenues: $822 million (FY 94/95)
expenditures: $1 billion, including capital expenditures of $198 million (FY95/96 est.)

Industries: food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, wearing apparel; chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 5.8% (1992)

Electricity—capacity: 361,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 960 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 852 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish

total value: $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: clothing and textiles 55%, sugar 24% (1995)
partners: UK 34%, France 21%, US 15%, Germany 6%, Italy 4% (1995)

total value: $2.2 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: manufactured goods 37%, capital equipment 19%, foodstuffs 13%, petroleum products 8%, chemicals 7% (1995)
partners: France 20%, India 8%, Hong Kong 7%, UK 6%, Germany 5% (1995)

Debt—external: $1.2 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Mauritian rupee (MauR) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Mauritian rupees (MauRs) per US$1—22.220 (January 1998), 20.561 (1997), 17.948 (1996), 17.386 (1995), 17.960 (1994), 17.648 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 65,000 (1985 est.)

Telephone system: small system with good service
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); new microwave link to Reunion; HF radiotelephone links to several countries

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 395,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 4 (1987 est.)
note: two new subscription channels began operation in 1995

Televisions: 151,096 (1991 est.)


[Top of Page]

Railways: 0 km

total: 1,860 km
paved: 1,732 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 128 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Port Louis

Merchant marine:
total: 20 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 241,799 GRT/336,316 DWT
ships by type: cargo 7, combination bulk 2, container 6, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 3
note: a flag of convenience registry; India owns 1 ship (1997 est.)

Airports: 5 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

Military branches: National Police Force (includes the paramilitary Special Mobile Force or SMF, Special Support Units or SSU, and National Coast Guard)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 336,655 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 170,695 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $13.9 million (FY94/95)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.1% (FY94/95)

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: claims the island of Diego Garcia in UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory; claims French-administered Tromelin Island

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; heroin consumption and transshipment are growing problems