Mauritius flag Mauritius: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Mauritius

Economic Indicators

Mauritius has had low but steady growth rates in the recent past (averaging 3.8% during 2015–19) and is among the most dynamic economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IMF, benefiting from pre-pandemic fiscal and external safeguards, the Mauritian economy has experienced a robust recovery from the pandemic's aftermath. Real GDP surged by 8.9% in 2022, driven by a resurgence in tourism and manufacturing. This momentum continued in 2023 with a sustained growth rate estimated at 6.9%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Key factors contributing to this growth include vibrant tourism, ongoing construction in social housing, and the consistent strong performance of the transport and financial services sectors. For 2024, real GDP growth is anticipated to reach 4.9%, propelled by the escalation of significant social housing and public transportation initiatives in construction, alongside the resurgence of tourism to pre-pandemic levels.

Concerning public finances, while an expansionary fiscal stance is anticipated for fiscal year 2023-24, with the primary fiscal deficit expected to broaden to 2.9% of GDP, excluding grants, it remains crucial to implement the authorities' medium-term growth-friendly fiscal consolidation plan. This strategy aims to diminish public debt and reconstruct fiscal buffers, emphasizing the mobilization of additional tax revenue and curbing current spending, all while safeguarding the most vulnerable segments of society. The debt-to-GDP ratio was estimated at 79.7% in 2023, from 83.1% one year earlier, and is expected to follow a downward trend, declining to 78.8% by 2025 (IMF). The average headline inflation dropped from 10.8% in 2022 to 7.0% in 2023. Additionally, the external current account deficit is projected to have notably narrowed in 2023, while foreign exchange reserves reached USD 7.3 billion by the end of the year. The IMF outlook suggests that headline inflation will moderate to 4.9% on average in 2024, primarily influenced by the dynamics of international oil and food prices. Key to supporting private sector investment and fostering economic diversification is the advancement of structural reforms. This involves maintaining compliance with Anti Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, enhancing governance practices, addressing skill mismatches in the labor market, and promoting digitalization and climate-resilient infrastructure investment. These efforts are essential for creating an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth and development.

The island of Mauritius has made substantial progress in its campaign for social equality and poverty reduction and represents an exemplary model of development. The island is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank, with a high Human Development Index, and is seeking to become a high-income country within the next decade. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita (PPP) reached USD 26,979 in 2022, the second-highest in Africa after Seychelles. Data by Statistics Mauritius show that the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 was estimated at 6.1%, compared to 6.8% in the corresponding period of the previous year. Out of the total of 36,400 unemployed individuals, 14,400 were males (40%) and 22,000 were females (60%).

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 12.9014.8216.1117.3018.15
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 8.75.13.83.43.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 10,22711,75212,77313,72414,395
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -2.2-3.2-3.7-2.7-2.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 83.179.778.978.879.5
Inflation Rate (%) n/a7.86.57.44.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 7.77.47.37.37.3
Current Account (billions USD) -1.49-0.92-0.66-0.81-0.96
Current Account (in % of GDP) -11.5-6.2-4.1-4.7-5.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector is relatively small, accounting for 3.6% of GDP and around 5% of total employment (World Bank, latest data available). Approximately 40% of the nation's territory is dedicated to agriculture, with sugarcane dominating nearly 90% of cultivated land, serving as a primary source of export revenue. The remaining portion is allocated to tea, tobacco, and a limited variety of food crops, predominantly vegetables and fruits. In fact, Mauritius has a food self-sufficiency ratio of less than 30% and imports many of its essential food requirements. Products imported include rice, meat and fish, certain fruits (oranges, mandarins, and grapes), pulses, milk and dairy products, fresh and frozen vegetables, coffee, tea and spices, cereals, oil, beverages, wheat, and food preparations.

The industry sector has been growing in importance, now contributing 18.2% of GDP and 21% of employment. The Mauritian manufacturing sector – which is estimated to account for 12% of GDP by the World Bank - has traditionally been dominated by textiles and sugar production. The former developed from basic productions to a vertically integrated subsector, turning Mauritius into the textile hub of excellence in Southern Eastern Africa. According to the latest figures from Statistics Mauritius, the industrial production index rose by 2.1% in 2023, driven by growth in electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (+5.4%), manufacturing (+2.1%), and water supply, sewerage, waste management, and remediation activities (+2.6%).

The tertiary sector dominates the country’s economy, services being the main employer (73% of the workforce) and the largest contributor to GDP (65.8%). The financial services sector is a core part of the economy, with a GDP contribution of 13.1%, which includes 6.6% in financial intermediation, 2.1% in insurance activities, and 0.6% in financial leasing and other credit-granting activities (Mauritius International Financial Centre). The tourism sector is also pivotal: before the pandemic, Mauritius attracted 1.4 million tourists, but the numbers dropped drastically following the COVID-19 restrictions. In 2023, the country welcomed 1,295,410, returning close to the pre-pandemic level (Statistics Mauritius).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 5.1 23.6 71.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.4 18.4 65.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.4 5.6 10.6

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

Score:
77/100
World Rank:
13
Regional Rank:
1

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.
 

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development 
Statistics Mauritius
Economic Development Board Mauritius
Statistical Office
Statistics Mauritius
Central Bank
Bank of Mauritius
Stock Exchange
Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM)
Economic Portals
 

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Latest Update: May 2024