The Export of Tradeable Services in Mauritius

A Commonwealth Case Study in Economic Transformation

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How can developing country governments seek to initiate the economic transformation that so many desire?

For many countries the dramatic shift from low to high added-value activities will involve the export of tradeable services, particularly professional services. The authors look in detail at the services-driven economic transformation that is occurring in Mauritius, and make specific recommendations for improvements in infrastructure, human resource capacity and the regulatory environment.

The service sectors examined here – financial services, information and communication technologies, health care services, and human resources services – offer lessons that have much to teach economic planners in other developing country economies.



Exporting Financial Services

The international financial services (IFS) industry in Mauritius was based conceptually on the export processing zone (EPZ), which was established in 1970 with tax concessions and exemptions, an export orientation and prohibitions on domestic market access. The creation of the country?s offshore financial centre (OFC) some 20 years later applied the same basic idea to exporting international financial services (IFS). Although it actually materialised in 1992, studies on an OFC had been carried out by the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) at the request of the Prime Minister?s Office a decade earlier. However, the idea was put on hold during the mid-1980s, a result of the debt crisis engulfing the developing world from 1982?1992 and the salutary experience of the Seychelles during the 1980s, when it became an offshore centre for unsavoury financial dealings. Mauritius?s OFC came up again for public discussion in 1988/89, when the findings of a study commissioned from an international consulting firm became available and, concomitantly, the domestic financial sector was overhauled under an economic reform programme.


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