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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #32 of 54: Mauritania | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #34 of 54: Morocco »

August 10, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #33 of 54: Mauritius

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
33. MAURITIUS
Flag of Mauritius

Formal Name: Republic of Mauritius.

Formal Name: Republic of Mauritius.

Term for Citizens: Mauritians.

Capital: Port Louis. Population: 176, 000.

Date of Independence: March 12, 1968, from France.

Major Cities: Port Louis.

Geography:

Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is approximately 788 square miles. Mauritius and Rodrigues islands are part of the volcanic chain of Mescarene Islands. Mauritius is about 18% mountain ranges, with low-lying coastal plains. Numerous rivers crisscross the Islands. The climate is subtropical in the low lands and temperate in the highlands. There are two seasons: hot and wet summers (November to April) and cool and dry winters (May through October). Overall rainfall averages over 200 centimeters.

Society: The population is estimated at 1,221, 000.

Ethnic Groups: Hindus, about 52%, Muslims, 16%, General population 30%, Chinese, French and Creole or mixtures of all the above.

Language: English is the official language. Creole, French, Hindi, Bhojpuri and Tamil.

Religion: Hindu 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 16%, and others.

Education: Education is free through secondary school. Literacy rate is estimated at 85.6%.

Economy: Agriculture is the dominant sector. Cash crops like tea, Fresh vegetables, tobacco, cut flowers, livestock and fishing. GDP estimate: $13.2 billion; Per Capita: $11, 000. Monetary Unit: Rupee (MUR)

History and Government:

Mauritius comprises Indians, Chinese, and Malayan-Indonesians. These various peoples gradually settled on the Islands. The French took them over in the 19th century. The government is patterned after the British system of government: National Assembly, with the majority party forming a government headed by a prime minister. Many political parties compete for opportunity to lead the country. The country is divided into 9 districts and 3 dependencies.


CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AND POLITICS

Mauritius was first inhabited in the 17th century by the Dutch. Subsequently, many groups, including the Europeans, Arabs, Africans, Indians and Polynesians came to the island. In the 18th century France laid claim to the Island. After a brief tussle with the British in 1810, France relinquished the territory to Britain. Britain ruled the island until 1968 when she gave her independence. In 1992, Mauritius became a republic.
Mauritius adopted a presidential system of government with an elected president (five years), a unicameral National Assembly and an Independent Judiciary. The President appoints a Prime Minister from the National Assembly and the later heads a council of ministers who governs the island on the day to day level.

Mauritius is divided into nine districts for administrative purposes.

Mauritius real story is how it became an economic success story with the second highest income per capita in Africa, $13, 300. It did so by providing an efficient and corruption free government and by attracting foreign investors. Its economy is growing, on the average, 5% annually.
Mauritius recently passed legislation to make the country a duty free area, hoping that this would enhance trade.
Strong economic growth, good management plus strong tourism make this island nation one of the success stories of Africa.
(It should be noted, however, that East Indians constitute well over 70% of the population. How African this success story is could be disputed. Whatever, Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam is doing a marvelous job managing the economy.)

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at August 10, 2006 09:35 AM

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