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Mauritius

Basic Information

Area: 2,040 km²

Calling code: +230

Population: 1,264,866

Official Language: English, Mauritian Creole, French, Hindi, Telugu Tamil

Time zone: MUT (UTC+4), Local time: 14:23

Overview

The Republic of Mauritius, known as, the majestic green island of the Indian ocean, is situated to the east of Madagascar it has a total population of approximately 1.2 million people. The capital, Port Louis, is located on the North West coast of the island of Mauritius and is the principal port as well as the administrative and economic centre of the country.

Following its discovery by the Portuguese at the beginning of the 16th century, Mauritius changed hands between the Dutch, French and British before finally achieving independence in 1968 and then becoming a republic in 1992.

Economy

Traditionally, agriculture, and especially the growing of sugar cane which is grown on some 90% of the cultivated land, has dominated the island’s economy and still accounts for about 5% of export earnings. However, since independence the government has successfully developed the industrial and service sectors. The main products of the industrial sector include clothes, textiles, electronics and jewellery, while the service sector is based on tourism, (Mauritius being one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world), financial services and information technology.

In recent years Mauritius has attracted approximately thirty two thousand offshore entities many aiming at commerce in India, South Africa and China. According to the CIA World Factbook investment in the banking sector has reached over one billion.

Standard Of Living

The increased investment on the island bringing with it the expansion into new and diverse sectors of business, has seen the standard of living rise. A considerable amount of investment has been put in place for the education system and impressive progress has been achieved. Education has been provided free through the secondary level since 1976 and through the post secondary level since 1988.

Mauritius offers it's residents and visitors a paradise of beautiful beaches, water sports, deep sea diving, shopping and restaurants.

Infrastructure

There are a total of 5 airports in Mauritius, 2 are paved while, the remaining 3 are unpaved, all meet the international standards. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, being the most important as the only international airport, is situated less than 50 kilometres south east of Port Louis and is home to the domestic airline, Air Mauritius with numerous regional and international airlines operating through this airport, providing flights to the immediate region and all major destinations. Non-stop flights between Mauritius and London take about 11 hours 30 minutes. Plain Coral Airport is another important paved airport in Mauritius. It is situated in south-eastern Rodrigues Island and was originally founded as the national base of Air Mauritius flights.

The commercial port at Port Louis lies on the shipping routes linking Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia and is capable of handling of a wide range of cargo. Over the last ten years, the port sector has undergone major structural reforms and has been transformed into an economic nerve centre equipped with modern port facilities offering world class port services. Handling approximately 99% of the total volume of external trade and contributes more than 2% to the GDP.

In Mauritius, the roads provide the sole means of transportation around the island for goods and passengers and as such have gone through a remarkable phase of upgrades and improvement, including the construction of new motorways as well as improvement to existing roads, resulting in a network of approximately 1900 kilometres of which 90% is paved.

Travel around the island is either via the bus network which is spread throughout the country or alternatively either by taxi car, the fares of which are set by law and the taxis provide their service to almost all locations in the entire island or by hiring a contract car which is the preferred mode of transport by tourists.

Workforce

The labour force is approximately 584,000 strong with 60% of the workforce split equally between construction, industry and tourism. The areas of information technology and fish processing are currently in expansion.

Business Costs

Office space is available either to buy or to rent. There are a good choice of hotels suited to the business visitor coupled with conference facilities which can accommodate small, medium and large meetings or functions. The official unit of currency is the Rupee. Most of the population are bilingual and equally fluent in French and English, however English is accepted as the official language and is the preferred language of the government a Administration as well as the island's Judicial Courts.

According to the Central Statistics office, the Government pursues a liberal foreign investment policy and offers attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for the development of all sectors of the economy.

Incentives offered can be in the form of reduced corporate tax, exemption of customs duty on equipment and raw materials, preferential loan rates and reduced tariffs for electricity and water.

Moreover, dividends paid to shareholders are tax-exempt. Free repatriation of profits, dividends and capital is allowed.
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