Finweek English Edition - - Economic trends & analysis - HOWARD PREECE

THE ECON­OMY of Mau­ri­tius – the pride of Africa (along with Botswana) in the Eight­ies and Nineties – is steadily ac­cel­er­at­ing back into the fast lane. Over the pe­riod 1982 to 1992 the en­chant­ing In­dian Ocean is­land was among the world’s top 20, mea­sured by av­er­age an­nual rises in real gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. The Mau­ri­tian fig­ure was 5,9%. Over that time only Botswana (9,8%) and Swazi­land (6,6%) fared bet­ter among African na­tions.

Then be­tween 1992 and 2002 Mau­ri­tius again made that star list, as did Botswana, with both record­ing yearly GDP in­crease av­er­ages of com­fort­ably more than 5%.

But at that point things be­came rel­a­tively tough for Mau­ri­tius. Be­tween 2003 and 2005 growth steadily slid from 4,5% to 2,5%. Stan­dard Bank ex­plains: “Mau­ri­tius faced new chal­lenges and its eco­nomic per­for­mance suf­fered as a re­sult of the loss of pref­er­en­tial ac­cess to the Euro­pean Union sugar and tex­tile mar­kets.”

How­ever, Mau­ri­tius then again showed the eco­nomic re­silience that has brought it so much suc­cess. Stan­dard notes: “The coun­try’s gov­ern­ment em­barked on an am­bi­tious de­vel­op­ment strat­egy that em­pha­sised the in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy sec­tors, and the pro­mo­tion of Mau­ri­tius as a seafood hub – an in­dus­try that should com­pen­sate for job losses in tex­tiles.”

GDP growth for 2006 is es­ti­mated at 4,7% – 5,1% if sugar is ex­cluded. For 2007, a rise of 5% to 5,5% min­i­mum is pre­dicted.

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