Africa

Mauritius country profile

Map of Mauritius

Mauritius, an Indian Ocean archipelago, is seen as a model of stability and economic prosperity in the region.

Once dependent on sugar exports, the island has built up a strong outsourcing and financial services sector, and an important tourism industry and now boasts one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

Mauritius features in the 2017 leak dubbed the Paradise Papers, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants, business leaders and royals.

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos islands that are home to the US military base on Diego Garcia. Several hundred islanders were expelled to make way for the base.

FACTS

The Republic of Mauritius

Capital: Port Louis

  • Population 1.3 million

  • Area 2,040 sq km (788 sq miles)

  • Major languages English (official), Creole, French, Indian languages

  • Major religions Hinduism, Christianity, Islam

  • Life expectancy 71 years (men), 78 years (women)

  • Currency Mauritian rupee

Getty Images

LEADER

Acting president: Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory

Vice-President Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory assumed the office of the president in March 2018, following the resignation of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

Africa's only female head of state at the time was accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars on clothes and jewellery using a bank card issued by an international charity to provide scholarships for poor students. She denies wrongdoing and says she has repaid all the cash.

Prime minister: Pravind Kumar Jugnauth

Image copyright Getty Images

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth succeeded his father, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, as prime minister in January 2017.

Until he stepped down, Sir Anerood Jugnauth had been the longest-serving prime minister since Mauritius gained independence from Britain in 1968.

Mr Jugnauth is leader of the governing Militant Socialist Movement party and is also concurrently serving as minister of finance and interior.

MEDIA

State-owned Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio and TV generally reflect government thinking. MBC is funded by advertising and a TV licence fee.

Television is the most popular medium.

TIMELINE

Some key dates in the history of Mauritius:

Image caption Mauritius has a reputation for stability and racial harmony

10th century - Island is known to the Arabs but they choose not to settle.

1507-1513 - Portuguese sailors come across the island.

1638 -1710 - The Dutch claim the island, naming it after Prince Maurice van Nassau.

1710-1810 - The French take possession, establishing a sugar industry based on slave labour.

1810-1968 - The British conquer the island. Abolition of slavery sees thousands of indentured labourers recruited, mainly from India.

1966 - Britain expels hundreds of residents of the Chagos archipelago to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. Many are sent to Mauritius.

1968 - Independence declared.

1992 - Mauritius becomes a republic.

2014 - Parliament dissolved to allow a constitutional amendment and provide for the direct election of the president

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