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      Economic Outline

      flag Mauritius Mauritius: Economic Outline

      Economic Indicators

      For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to adress the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

      Mauritius has had low but steady growth rates over the last few years (averaging 3.8% during 2015–19) and is among the most dynamic economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, the COVID-19-induced crisis took a severe toll on the Mauritian economy: although the country did not record many cases, the GDP plummeted by an estimated 15.8% in 2020, mostly due to the international travel restrictions which prompted a collapse in tourism arrivals (the sector represents one-fifth of the island’s GDP). The economy is expected to rebound in 2021 (+6.6%), fuelled by the construction sector and public investment, as well as by a recovery in the tourism industry, albeit most travel restrictions were extended in early 2021. The IMF forecasts Mauritius’ growth to stabilize around 5.2% in 2022.

      The country had been progressively reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio in recent years; nevertheless, the trend reversed in 2019 (82.8%) and was exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis (87.8% in 2020). However, such debt is almost exclusively denominated in local currency and three-quarters of it is domestic. The IMF forecasts the ratio to remain stable over the forecast horizon. In recent years, the public wage bill has been on the rise, and a more generous universal pension scheme has been introduced; however, a better tax collection has helped rising revenues and thus offsetting spending. Once again, though, the global crisis caused a contraction in revenues, which coupled with increased public expense to cope with the effects of the pandemic resulted in a deficit of -10.2% in 2020 (from 2.2% one year earlier). Most of the measures have been extended into 2021 and will keep weighing on public finances. Meanwhile, soaring food prices contributed to the acceleration of inflation (2.5%, was 0.5% in 2019), which should follow an upward trend in the forecasted period (2.6% this year and 3.9% in 2022 – IMF). Overall, the country’s economy is driven by the services sector, which accounts for around 67.7% of GDP, with tourism (catering, accommodation, leisure, etc.) and financial services being the most vital sectors for the economy. The country's economy is diversified and also relies on its offshore financial activity, textile industry and production of sugarcane. Medical tourism, outsourcing, new technologies and the luxury industries are among developing sectors. Overall, the industrial sector accounts for almost one-fifth of GDP, while the agricultural sector contributes around 3% (World Bank). Mauritius enjoys political stability, with the government currently in the hands of the centre-left Morisien Alliance led by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

      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 IMF, GDP per capita (PPP) reached almost USD 24,000 in 2019 (latest data available), the second-highest in Africa after the Seychelles. The IMF expects the unemployment trend to be heavily affected by the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate being estimated at 10.9% in 2020 (from 6.7% one year earlier, mostly due to large redundancy in the tourism sector), before decreasing to around 9.2% in 2022. Female labour participation is significantly low compared to male labour participation and youth unemployment stands around 25%.

      Main Indicators 201820192020 (e)2021 (e)2022 (e)
      GDP (billions USD) 14.1814.0511.4012.2113.39
      GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.8e3.0e-
      GDP per Capita (USD) 11e11e8910
      General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -1.8-8.4-9.9-4.8-3.5
      General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 66.282.887.887.787.8
      Inflation Rate (%)
      Current Account (billions USD) -0.56-0.76-1.29-1.79-0.89
      Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.9-5.4e-11.3-14.7-6.6

      Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - April 2021.

      Note: (e) Estimated Data

      Monetary Indicators 20152016201720182019
      American Dollar (USD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR

      Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


      Main Sectors of Industry

      Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
      Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 5.9 25.1 69.0
      Value Added (in % of GDP) 2.9 17.4 67.3
      Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.9 2.5 3.6

      Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

      Socio-Demographic Indicators 20202021 (e)2022 (e)
      Unemployment Rate (%) 10.910.99.2

      Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - Latest available data


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      The Active Population in Figures

      Labour Force 617,800637,600610,400

      Source: CIA – The World Factbook

      Total activity rate 60.55%60.43%60.31%
      Men activity rate 69.83%69.83%69.83%
      Women activity rate 46.78%46.83%46.86%

      Source: ILO, Laborstat - Yearly Statistics


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      Indicator of Economic Freedom


      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.

      World Rank:
      Regional Rank:

      Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
      Source: 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


      Sources of General Economic Information

      Main Online Newspapers and Portals
      Mauritius online newspapers list
      Africa Business Central - Mauritius
      Allafrica, News Mauritius
      Mauritius News Sites
      Useful Resources
      Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development 
      Bank of Mauritius

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      Latest Update: May 2021

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