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.



Mauritius: from Plantation to Knowledge-based Economy

Mauritius is an island of 1,865 km2 situated in the South West Indian Ocean, far from its major markets and suppliers. Inhabited only since the 18th century, the island was a French colony for almost a century until conquest by the British in 1810 because of its strategic importance on the route to India. The British converted it into a monocrop economy, with sugar cane as the mainstay. Since the French era, slaves had been imported to the island from neighbouring Madagascar, Mozambique and Senegal. With the abolition of slavery, indentured labourers were brought from India and a small minority even from China. Thus, by the end of the 19th century, Mauritius was already a multi-racial society. It is today a veritable melting pot of European, African and Asian cultures, with a population that stands at 1.2 million. Of these, 51 per cent is Hindu, 32 per cent Christian, 16 per cent Muslim and less than one per cent is of Buddhist faith.


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