[Country map of Mauritius]



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

Map references: World

total area: 1,860 sq km
land area: 1,850 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 10.5 times the size of Washington, DC
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues

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

International disputes: claims UK-administered Chagos Archipelago, which includes the island of Diego Garcia in UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory; claims French-administered Tromelin Island

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 resources: arable land, fish

Land use:
arable land: 54%
permanent crops: 4%
meadows and pastures: 4%
forest and woodland: 31%
other: 7%

Irrigated land: 170 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: water pollution
natural hazards: cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection


Population: 1,127,068 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (female 152,892; male 158,891)
15-64 years: 66% (female 376,049; male 372,910)
65 years and over: 6% (female 39,088; male 27,238) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.89% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 18.91 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.38 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.8 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.84 years
male: 66.9 years
female: 74.95 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian

Ethnic divisions: 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

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990)
total population: 80%
male: 85%
female: 75%

Labor force: 335,000
by occupation: government services 29%, agriculture and fishing 27%, manufacturing 22%, other 22%


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

Digraph: MP

Type: parliamentary democracy

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); Vice President Rabindranath GHURBURRON (since 1 July 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 12 June 1982); Deputy Prime Minister Prem NABABSING (since 26 September 1990)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president on recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
Legislative Assembly: elections last held on 15 September 1991 (next to be held by 15 September 1996); results - MSM/MMM 53%, MLP/PMSD 38%; seats - (66 total) MSM/MMM alliance 59 (MSM 29, MMM 26, OPR 2, MTD 2), MLP/PMSD 4 (MLP 3, PMSD 1); note - the Supreme Court denied the assignment of 3 seats to the MSM

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders:
government coalition: Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), A. JUGNAUTH; Mauritian Militant Resurgence (RMM), Prem NABABSING (less 10 legislators under the leadership of Paul BERENGER, now voting with the opposition); Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD), X. DUVAL; Organization of the People of Rodrigues (OPR), Louis Serge CLAIR; Democratic Labor Movement (MTD), Anil BAICHOO
opposition: Mauritian Labor Party (MLP), Navin RAMGOOLMAN; MMM-Berenger Faction, Paul BERENGER; Socialist Workers Front, Sylvio MICHEL

Other political or pressure groups: various labor unions


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

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Leslie M. ALEXANDER
embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [230] 208-9763 through 9767
FAX: [230] 208-9534

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


Overview: Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low income, agriculturally based economy to middle income diversified economy with growing industrial 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 40% 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 1991-93 continued strong with solid real growth and low unemployment.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $9.3 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: 4.7% (1993 est.)

National product per capita: $8,600 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.4% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.4% (1991 est.)

revenues: $653 million
expenditures: $567 million, including capital expenditures of $143 million (FY92/93 est.)

Exports: $1.32 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: textiles 44%, sugar 40%, light manufactures 10%
partners: EC and US have preferential treatment, EC 77%, US 15%

Imports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: manufactured goods 50%, capital equipment 17%, foodstuffs 13%, petroleum products 8%, chemicals 7%
partners: EC, US, South Africa, Japan

External debt: $996.8 million (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.8% (1992); accounts for 25% of GDP

capacity: 340,000 kW
production: 920 million kWh
consumption per capita: 777 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 10% of GDP; about 90% of cultivated land in sugarcane; other products - tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses, cattle, goats, fish; net food importer, especially rice and fish

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

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $76 million; Western (non-US) countries (1970-89), $709 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $54 million

Currency: 1 Mauritian rupee (MauR) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Mauritian rupees (MauRs) per US$1 - 17.755 (January 1995), 17.960 (1994), 17.648 (1993), 15.563 (1992), 15.652 (1991), 14.839 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,800 km
paved: 1,640 km
unpaved: earth 160 km

Ports: Port Louis

Merchant marine:
total: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 191,703 GRT/297,347 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 8, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 1, passenger-cargo 1

total: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1


Telephone system: over 48,000 telephones; small system with good service
local: NA
intercity: utilizes primarily microwave radio relay
international: 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) earth station; new microwave link to Reunion; high-frequency radio links to several countries

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 4
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 321,947; males fit for military service 163,904 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $11.2 million, 0.4% of GDP (FY92/93)