Economy

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been of the order of 5% to 6%. This has been reflected in increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and a much improved infrastructure.
Estimated at $16.28 billion for 2005, Mauritius has the 2nd highest GDP per capita in Africa. It is only exceeded by Equatorial Guinea, which derives most of its revenue from oil exports. Mauritius has a mature economy with a great deal of wealth distribution among its citizens[citation needed]. The economy is mainly dependent on sugarcane plantations, tourism, textiles, and services, but other sectors are rapidly developing as well.

Sugar cane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. However, a record-setting drought severely damaged the sugar crop in 1999. The government's development strategy centres on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities; many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa while investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Economic performance during the period from 2000 through 2004 combined strong economic growth with unemployment at 7.6% in December 2004. France is the country's biggest trading partner, and has close ties with the country. They also provide technical assistance in various forms.

Mauritius is gearing towards becoming a duty-free island within the coming four years. Duty has been decreased (and for many products completely eliminated) for more than 1850 products including clothing, food, jewelry, photographic equipment, audio visual equipment and lighting equipment.The main motivations are (1) Attract more tourists going to Singapore and Dubai, and, (2) Give all Mauritians easier access to quality products at affordable prices.

A plan by ADB Networks calls for Mauritius to become the first nation to have coast-to-coast wireless internet access. The wireless hot spot currently covers about 60% of the island and is accessible by about 70% of its population. By the end of 2006, antennas should have provided access to 90% of the island, however, this has not yet happened.Its biggest trading partners are France and the UK.

Mauritius ranks first in respect of FDI inflows to India amongst all the countries with cumulative inflows amounting to US $ 10.98 billion. Top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius (from January 2000 to December, 2005) are electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial).

As Mauritius opens to the world, aiming to transform itself into a competitive global business platform, the national investment promotion agency, the Board of Investment (BOI) has put at the service of the international business community a range of services, free of charge, to attract international investment and talents in the country.