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Progress in economic conditions in Mauritius: success against the odds

Research reports

Written by Kate Bird

This case study illustrates Mauritius' progress in economic conditions. The story describes the nature of the progress, analysis of the factors that have contributed to progress and lessons for policy makers.

At independence, Mauritius did not appear predestined for the progress that followed. Challenges included: extreme cultural diversity as well as racial inequality; power concentrated in a small elite; high unemployment; and high population growth. The country suffered from an economic crisis throughout the 1970s, was remote from world markets and was commodity dependent. It also exhibited low initial levels of human development.

Despite multiple factors stacked against it, Mauritius has achieved stellar progress in economic conditions, and has been unique in its ability to take advantage of privileged access to international markets to develop in a sustained and equitable manner. This has been enabled and complemented by effective poverty reduction and equitable improvements in human development. These achievements have been made by means of: a concerted strategy of nation building; strong and inclusive institutions; high levels of equitable public investment in human development; and a pragmatic development strategy.

Milo Vandemoortele, Kate Bird