The World Factbook (1990)/Mauritius



World Factbook (1990) Mauritius.jpg

See regional map VII


Total area: 1,860 km²; land area: 1,850 km²; includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (St. Brandon) and Rodrigues

Comparative area: slightly less than 10.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 177 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: claims 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: 54% arable land; 4% permanent crops; 4% meadows and pastures; 31% forest and woodland; 7% other; includes 9% irrigated

Environment: subject to cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs

Note: located 900 km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean


Population: 1,070,005 (July 1990), growth rate 1.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 21 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 4 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 20 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years male, 73 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.0 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: 68% Indo-Mauritian, 27% Creole, 3% Sino-Mauritian, 2% Franco-Mauritian

Religion: 51% Hindu, 30% Christian (mostly Roman Catholic with a few Anglicans), 17% Muslim, 2% other

Language: English (official), Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori

Literacy: 82.8%

Labor force: 335,000; 29% government services, 27% agriculture and fishing, 22% manufacturing, 22% other; 43% of population of working age (1985)

Organized labor: 35% of labor force in more than 270 unions


Long-form name: none

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port Louis

Administrative divisions: 5 urban councils and 3 district councils*; Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Curepipe, Moka-Flacq*, North*, Port Louis, Quatre Bornes, South*, Vacoas-Phoenix; note—there may now be 4 urban councils and 9 district councils* named Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Black River*, Curepipe, Flacq*, Grand Port*, Moka*, Pamplemousses*, Plaine Wilhems*, Port Louis*, Quartre Bornes, Rivière du Rempart*, Savanne*, and Vacoas-Phoenix

Independence: 12 March 1968 (from UK)

Constitution: 12 March 1968

Legal system: based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 March (1968)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Veerasamy RINGADOO (since 17 January 1986);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 12 June 1982); Deputy Prime Minister Sir Satcam BOOLELL (since 15 August 1988)

Political parties and leaders: the government is currently controlled by a coalition composed of the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), A. Jugnauth, and the Mauritian Labor Party (MLP), S. Boolell; the main opposition union consists of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM), Prem Nababsing; Socialist Workers Front, Sylvio Michel; Democratic Labor Movement, Anil Baichoo; Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD), G. Duval

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Legislative Assembly—last held on 30 August 1987 (next to be held 30 August 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(70 total, 62 elected) MSM 24, MMM 21, MLP 10, PMSD 5, others 10

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


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Chitmansing JESSERAMSING; Chancery at Suite 134, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 244-1491 or 1492; US—Ambassador Penne KORTH; Embassy at 4th Floor, Rogers Building, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis; telephone 082347

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


Overview: The economy is based on sugar, manufacturing (mainly textiles), and tourism. Despite significant expansion in other sectors over the past decade, sugarcane remains dominant and is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area, accounting for 40% of export earnings. The government's development strategy is centered on industrialization (with a view to exports), agricultural diversification, and tourism. Economic performance in 1988 was impressive, with 6.3% real growth rate and low unemployment.

GDP: $1.9 billion, per capita $1,910; real growth rate 6.3% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.2% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 3.6% (1988)

Budget: revenues $351 million; expenditures $414 million, including capital expenditures of $76 million (FY87 est.)

Exports: $1.0 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—textiles 44%, sugar 40%, light manufactures 10%; partners—EC and US have preferential treatment, EC 77%, US 15%

Imports: $1.3 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—manufactured goods 50%, capital equipment 17%, foodstuffs 13%, petroleum products 8%, chemicals 7%; partners—EC, US, South Africa, Japan

External debt: $670 million (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 12.9% (FY87)

Electricity: 233,000 kW capacity; 420 million kWh produced, 375 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 14% 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

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $72 million; Western (non-US) countries (1970-87), $538 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $54 million

Currency: Mauritian rupee (plural—rupees); 1 Mauritian rupee (MauR) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Mauritian rupees (MauRs) per US$1—15.033 (January 1990), 15.250 (1989), 13.438 (1988), 12.878 (1987), 13.466 (1986), 15.442 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Highways: 1,800 km total; 1,640 km paved, 160 km earth

Ports: Port Louis

Merchant marine: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 143,029 GRT/248,754 DWT; includes 1 passenger-cargo, 3 cargo, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 liquefied gas, 3 bulk

Civil air: 4 major transport aircraft

Airports: 5 total, 4 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: small system with good service; new microwave link to Reunion; high-frequency radio links to several countries; 48,000 telephones; stations—2 AM, no FM, 4 TV; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: paramilitary Special Mobile Force, Special Support Units, regular Police Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 297,975; 153,130 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: NA