Mauritius

At independence in 1968, Mauritius seemed to be heading into the developing world’s club of ‘basket cases’. Its economy was extremely fragile, depending almost entirely upon sugarcane plantations, and was plagued by irresolvable ethnic conflicts. Three decades later, Mauritius has diversified its economy and experienced rapid and sustained economic growth. It has been able to avoid inter-ethnic or tribal political violence and has maintained its democratic institutions.110

Like Botswana, the success of Mauritius is attributed to good leadership. Sir Sewoosagur Ramgoolam, the country’s first prime minister, believed in the responsibilities of leadership, uplifting, stewardship and bucking the common single party and Afro-socialist preferences. He introduced a democratic ethos in order to deal with racial antagonisms and rejected Afro-socialist mantras. Ramgoolam also put in place a political framework based on free expression in the three official languages, an unhindered free press and radio, fair play and an unshakable rule of law. All these safeguarded the unity of the country.111 Similarly, Mauritius developed an excellent system of in-service training that greatly enhanced the ability of the public service to function in an honest and competent fashion while still achieving ethnic and gender representation.112

Global credit-rating agencies classify Mauritius as an ‘investment-grade’ country on par with oil-rich Saudi Arabia. It is one of the wealthiest African countries per capita. Only investment-grade borrowers can tap international capital markets at lower interest rates. Mauritius is also ranked as a middle-income country, has achieved a modest annual growth rate and enjoys a high status within the international community, as well as lower inflation rates due to competent macro-economic policies.113 Mauritius, South Africa and Tunisia were the only African countries among the world top 50 in the World Bank’s 2013 ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey. 1 14 Earlier in 2012, Mauritius came nineteenth worldwide. With a GDP of $9000 per capita, the country far exceeds most others in the continent.115

 
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