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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... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 20 17 S, 57 33 E


 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

Area - Comparative:

 Almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 177 km (Rank: 145)

Maritime Claims:

 Measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


 Tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)


 Small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mont Piton 828 m

Natural Resources:

 Arable land, fish

Land Use:

 Arable land: 49.02%
Permanent crops: 2.94%
Other: 48.04% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 210 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 2.2 cu km (2001)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.61 cu km/yr (25%/14%/60%)
Per capita: 488 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

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

Environment - Current Issues:

 Water pollution, degradation of coral reefs

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 The main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species

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 Noun: Mauritian(s)
Adjective: Mauritian

Ethnic Groups:

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


 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)


 Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census)


 1,303,717 (July 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.)

Median Age:

 Total: 32.7 years
Male: 31.9 years
Female: 33.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.729% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 13.97 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 6.68 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 42% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 PORT LOUIS (capital) 149,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 36 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 11.52 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 9.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 74.48 years
Male: 71.01 years
Female: 78.12 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.79 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 6.5% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.06 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.33 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 99% of population
Total: 99% of population
Urban: 0% of population
Rural: 1% of population
Total: 1% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 93% of population
Rural: 90% of population
Total: 91% of population
Urban: 7% of population
Rural: 10% of population
Total: 9% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 8,800 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

Education Expenditures:

 3.2% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 84.4%
Male: 88.4%
Female: 80.5% (2000 census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 14 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 14 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 21.4%
Male: 18.1%
Female: 26.3% (2009)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
Conventional short form: Mauritius
Local long form: Republic of Mauritius
Local short form: Mauritius

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy


 Name: Port Louis
Geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E
Time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

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


 12 March 1968 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 12 March (1968)


 12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

Legal System:

 Civil legal system based on French civil law with some elements of English common law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 7 October 2003); Vice President Monique OHSAN-BELLEPEAU (since 13 November 2010)

Head of government: Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005)

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 (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly

Election results: Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH reelected president by unanimous vote; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members to serve five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 5 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AF 41, MMM 18, MR 2, MSF 1; appointed seats - to be assigned 8

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Alliance of the Future or AF [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM] (governing coalition - includes MLP, MMSM, MR, MSD, PMSD); Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]; Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER]; Mauritian Militant Socialist Movement or MMSM [Pravind JUGNAUTH]; Mauritian Socialist Militant Movement or MSMM [Madan DULLOO]; Mauritian Solidarity Front of FSM [Cehl FAKEERMEEAH]; Mouvement Republicain or MR [Jayarama VALAYDEN]; Maurition Social Democratic Party or PMSD [Xavier Luc DUVAL]; Rodrigues Movement or MR [Joseph (Nicholas) Von MALLY]; Rodrigues Peoples Organization or OPR [Serge CLAIR]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Other: various labor unions

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Somduth SOBORUN
Chancery: 1709 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; administrative offices - 3201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 441, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: [1] (202) 244-1491 through 1492
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0983

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Troy FITRELL
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, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450
Telephone: [230] 202-4400
FAX: [230] 208-9534

Flag Description:

 Four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green; red represents self-determination and independence, blue the Indian Ocean surrounding the island, yellow has been interpreted as the new light of independence, golden sunshine, or the bright future, and green can symbolize either agriculture or the lush vegetation of the island

National Anthem:

 Name: "Motherland"
Lyrics/music: Jean Georges PROSPER/Philippe GENTIL

Note: adopted 1968

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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, 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 3.6% in 2010 and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $18.06 billion (2010 est.)
$17.36 billion (2009 est.)
$16.85 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $9.729 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 4% (2010 est.)
3% (2009 est.)
5.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $14,000 (2010 est.)
$13,500 (2009 est.)
$13,200 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 4.6%
Industry: 24.1%
Services: 71.3% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 597,300 (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture and fishing: 9%
Construction and industry: 30%
Transportation and communication: 7%
Trade, restaurants, hotels: 22%
Finance: 6%
Other services: 25% (2007)

Unemployment Rate:

 7.8% (2010 est.)
7.3% (2009 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 8% (2006 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 39 (2006 est.)
37 (1987 est.)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 24.9% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $2.028 billion
Expenditures: $2.478 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 20.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -4.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 57.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
60.4% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.9% (2010 est.)
2.5% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 9% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 19.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
19.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $1.68 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.673 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $6.914 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.759 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $2.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.036 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $10.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$9.813 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $10.92 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$9.943 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $6.506 billion (31 December 2010)
$4.74 billion (31 December 2009)
$3.443 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 Sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses; cattle, goats; fish


 Food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 3.3% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 2.402 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 90.8%
Hydro: 9.2%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 2.234 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 23,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 20,750 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$824.2 million (2010 est.)
-$674.6 million (2009 est.)


 $2.259 billion (2010 est.)
$1.942 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish

Exports - Partners:

 UK 19%, France 16.8%, US 11%, Madagascar 8.4%, Italy 7.9%, South Africa 6%, Spain 4.9% (2010)


 $4.154 billion (2010 est.)
$3.499 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals

Imports - Partners:

 India 20.3%, France 10.6%, China 10.3%, South Africa 9.7% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $2.601 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.304 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $4.695 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.717 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Mauritius Rupee to Any Currency

Mauritian rupees (MUR) per US dollar -
30.991 (2010)
31.96 (2009)
27.973 (2008)
31.798 (2007)
31.656 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 387,700 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 1.191 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: small system with good service

Domestic: monopoly over fixed-line services terminated in 2005; fixed-line teledensity roughly 30 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular services launched in 1989 with teledensity in 2009 reaching 85 per 100 persons

International: country code - 230; landing point for the SAFE submarine cable that provides links to Asia and South Africa where it connects to the SAT-3/WASC submarine cable that provides further links to parts of East Africa, and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); new microwave link to Reunion; HF radiotelephone links to several countries (2009)

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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 4, FM 9, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 2 (plus several repeaters) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 36,653 (2010)

Internet Users:

 290,000 (2009)

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 5 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
Over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 2,066 km
Paved: 2,066 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2009)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 3
By type: passenger/cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Port Louis

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Military Branches:

 No regular military forces; Mauritius Police Force, Special Mobile Force, National Coast Guard (2009)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 343,628 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 280,596
Females age 16-49: 283,317 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 10,193
Female: 10,104 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 0.3% of GDP (2006 est.)

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Disputes - International:

 Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; claims French-administered Tromelin Island

Illicit Drugs:

 Consumer and transshipment point for heroin from South Asia; small amounts of cannabis produced and consumed locally; significant offshore financial industry creates potential for money laundering, but corruption levels are relatively low and the government appears generally to be committed to regulating its banking industry

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Last Updated: December 2011

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