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World Factbook (1982) Mauritius.jpg
(See reference map VII)


1,856 km2 (excluding dependencies); 50% agricultural, intensely cultivated; 39% forests, woodlands, mountains, river, and natural reserves; 3% built-up areas; 5% water bodies, 2% roads and tracks, 1% permanent wastelands


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 12 nm (fishing 200 nm; exclusive economic zone 200 nm)

Coastline: 177 km


Population: 990,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.7%

Nationality: noun—Mauritian(s); adjective—Mauritian

Ethnic divisions: 67% Indians, 29% Creoles, 3.5% Chinese, 0.5% English and French

Religion: 51% Hindu, 30% Christian (mostly Catholic with a few Anglican Protestants), 17% Muslim

Language: English official language; Hindi, Chinese, French, Creole

Literacy: estimated 60% for those over 21 and 90% for those of school age

Labor force: 335,000; 30% agriculture, 24% industry; 20% government services; 14% are unemployed, 12% other

Organized labor: about 35% of labor force, forming over 270 unions


Official name: Mauritius

Type: independent state since 1968, recognizing Elizabeth II as Chief of State

Capital: Port Louis

Political subdivisions: 5 organized municipalities and various island dependencies

Legal system: based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas; constitution adopted 6 March 1968

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 March

Branches: executive power exercised by Prime Minister and 21-man Council of Ministers; unicameral legislature (National Assembly) with 62 members elected by direct suffrage, 8 specially elected

Government leader: Prime Minister Dr. Seewoosagur RAMGOOLAM

Suffrage: universal over age 18

Elections: legislative elections held in December 1976; municipal elections held in 1977

Political parties and leaders: the government is presently controlled by the Mauritian Labor Party (S. Ramgoolam) and supported by several dissident members of the Mauritian Social Democratic Party (G. Duval); the main opposition parties are the Mauritian Militant Movement (P. Berenger) and the Mauritian Socialist Party (H. Boodhoo); there are also several minor parties

Voting strength: the Mauritian Labor Party, supported by dissident members of the Mauritian Social Democratic Party, had a majority in the National Assembly before it was dissolved in December 1981, in preparation for parliamentary elections in 1982

Communists: may be 2,000 sympathizers; several Communist organizations; Mauritius Lenin Youth Organization, Mauritius Women's Committee, Mauritius Communist Party, Mauritius People's Progressive Party, Mauritius Young Communist League,Mauritius Liberation Front, Chinese Middle School Friendly Association, Mauritius/USSR Friendship Society

Other political or pressure groups: various labor unions

Member of: Commonwealth, FAO, G-77, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMCO, IMF, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, NAM, OAU, OCAM, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO


GNP: $890 million (1980), $890 per capita; real growth -9% in 1980

Agriculture: sugar crop is major economic asset; about 40% of land area is planted to sugar; most food imported—rice is the staple food—and since cultivation is already intense and expansion of cultivable areas is unlikely, heavy reliance on food imports except sugar and tea will continue

Shortage: land

Industries: mainly confined to processing sugarcane, tea; some small-scale, simple manufactures; tobacco fiber; some fishing; tourism, diamond cutting, weaving and textiles, electronics

Electric power: 180,000 kW capacity (1980); 370 million kWh produced (1980), 385 kWh per capita

Exports: $318 million (f.o.b., 1981); $187 million sugar, $4 million tea, $5 million molasses

Imports: $456 million (f.o.b., 1981); foodstuffs 30%, manufactured goods about 25%

Major trade partners: all EC-nine countries and US have preferential treatment, UK buys over 50% of Mauritius's sugar export at heavily subsidized prices; small amount of sugar exported to Canada, US, and Italy; imports from UK and EC primarily, also from South Africa, Australia, and Burma; some minor trade with China

Aid: economic commitments—Western (non-US) countries (1970-79), $137.0 million; Communist countries (1970-79), $40.2 million; US authorizations (FY70-80), $22.2 million

Budget: (1981) revenues $235 million, current expenditures $381 million, development expenditures $120 million

Monetary conversion rate: 8.88 Mauritian rupees=US$1 1981 (floating with pound sterling)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Highways: 1,786 km total; 1,636 km paved, 150 km earth

Ports: 1 major (Port Louis)

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft, leased in

Airfields: 5 total, 4 usable; 1 with permanent surface runways; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: small system with good service; HF radio links to several countries; 1 AM, no FM, and 4 TV stations; 36,400 telephones (4.0 per 100 popl.); 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT station


Military manpower: males 15-49, 259,000; 135,000 fit for military service

Military budget: for fiscal year ending 30 June 1981, $4.5 million