Mauritius

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometers off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius, Rodriguez, 560 kilometers east of the principal island, the islands of Agaléga and Saint Brandon. The islands of Mauritius, Rodriguez and the French department of Réunion, 170 km, form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2040 km2; its capital is Port Louis.

The first Portuguese explorers found no indigenous people living on the island in 1507. The Dutch settled on the island in 1598 and abandoned it in 1710. Five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed the Isle de France. The French developed extensive sugar plantations on the island, and the Mauritian Creole language came into existence during their rule.

The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm on 12 March 1968 and a republic within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1992.

The country’s populace is composed of several ethnicities, mostly people of Indian, African, French, and Chinese descent. Most Mauritians are multilingual; English, French, Creole and Chinese languages are used.

The Mauritian Constitution is based on the Westminster model. The head of state is the President but constitutional power is vested in the Prime Minister who is the head of government. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy, economic and political freedom.

The island of Mauritius was the only home of the Dodo bird. The bird became extinct fewer than eighty years after its discovery.

A melting point of the world’s oldest civilizations, Mauritius is a rare example of social peace and unity in a multi-cultural society. The population boasts origins from the European and African continents, as well as India and China. Such a cosmopolitan legacy makes for legendary hospitality. Mauritius is also a safe place to live, Mauritians being naturally well inclined and have a peaceful nature. All Mauritians enjoy freedom of expression and of religion.

There is freedom of the press with the presence of dozens of dailies and weeklies. Mauritius has enjoyed enduring political stability ever since independence in 1968. The Government is democratically elected every 5 years. The Constitution is based on the Westminster Parliamentary model.

Our successive Governments have all shown strong and sustained commitment to a market-driven economy where free enterprise can flourish and foreign investment prosper. The present Government is set to take the country into yet another leap into its future that of a global island and an emerging economic powerhouse in the region.

 

Republic of Mauritius
République de Maurice  (French)

            

Flag                                                              Coat of arms

 

Motto: “Stella Clavisque Maris Indici” (Latin)
“Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”

 

Foreign relations

Mauritius has strong and friendly relations with various African, American, Asian, European and Oceania countries. It is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Indian Ocean Commission, COMESA and formed the Indian Ocean Rim Association. Considered part of Africa geographically, Mauritius has friendly relations with African states in the region, particularly South Africa, by far its largest continental-trading partner. Mauritian investors are gradually entering African markets, notably Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The country’s political heritage and dependence on Western markets have led to close ties with the European Union and its member states, particularly the United Kingdom and France. Relations with China and India are strong for both historical and commercial reasons.


Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr. Navin Ramgoolam and his wife Veena Ramgoolam with the President of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

 

Transportation

Transport in Mauritius has been free for students, the disabled and seniors since July 2005. There are currently no railways in Mauritius, there were previously industrial railways, but these have been abandoned. To cope with increasing road traffic congestion, a Light Rail Transit system has been proposed between Cure pipe and Port Louis. The main harbour, where international trade is handled, and Cruise Terminal is found at Port Louis. The main airport is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, the home of the national airline Air Mauritius, a new passenger terminal was opened in March 2013 becoming fully operational in May 2013.

Mauritius has a well-developed network of internal and external communications. An extensive and well maintained road infrastructure; a modern and efficient port capable of berthing vessels up to 100 meters; a web of sea links and direct air connections with several cities around the world; high band fiber cable connectivity; a reliable fixed and mobile telephone network; express courier service providers and freight forwarders; fully serviced business and industrial parks; a free port; well equipped and comfortable offices.

It is easy to travel around the island by bus, taxi or rented cars from several local and international car-renting companies.

 

Sports

“To The Line”, winner of the Maiden Cup in 2006.

The most popular sport in Mauritius is football and the national team is the Club M. Water sports are popular, including swimming, sailing, scuba diving and water skiing. Other popular sports in Mauritius include cycling, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball, handball, boxing, pétanque, judo, karate, taekwondo, weightlifting, bodybuilding and athletics.

However Mauritius is quite competitive at regional level in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius collected some gold, silver and bronze medals in the Indian Ocean Island Games. The second (1985) and fifth editions (2003) were hosted by Mauritius. Mauritius won its first Olympic medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when boxer Bruno Julie won the bronze medal.

The national sport, however, remains horseracing, which is part and parcel of the island’s cultural heritage. Horseracing in Mauritius dates to 1812, when the Champ de Mars Racecourse was inaugurated, the oldest racecourse in the Southern Hemisphere. Eight races are held every Saturday afternoon from March to December at the Champ de Mars Racecourse in Port Louis.