KNOWLEDGE BASE

MARKET ENTRY INFORMATION

DOING BUSINESS IN MAURITIUS

Mauritius Business Services Overview About Mauritius Setting up a business in Mauritius Taxation Living & Working in Mauritius

ABOUT MAURITIUS

Overview

Mauritius, an island covering 1,865km2 is situated some 2,000 kilometres off the south east coast of Africa. More than 150 kilometres of white sandy beaches and transparent lagoon are protected from the open sea by the world’s third largest coral reef which almost surrounds the island.

Being of volcanic origin, Mauritius has a central plateau which is about 400 metres above the sea level. Mountains scattered throughout the island, fast flowing rivers, tropical forests and plants are other features that add to the natural beauty of the island. Mauritius enjoys a maritime sub-tropical climate. The summer season lasts from October to May with temperatures averaging 27°C, while in the winter months temperature average 22°C. The topography of Mauritius makes the central plateau more humid and cooler than the other regions.

The Dutch were the first settlers on the island in 1598 and named it after their ruler, Prince Maurice Van Nassau. It was under the French Governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais, that Mauritius experienced its first development: a harbour was built at Port Louis (which became the capital of Mauritius) being the safest harbour for vessels on their way to India. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic wars and remained in power until independence on 12th March 1968 at which time Mauritius adopted a constitution based on the British Parliamentary system. On 12 March 1992 Mauritius became a Republic and it continues to form part of the British Commonwealth.

The 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%. The government’s development strategy centres on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritius’ sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped to mitigate negative effects from the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew more than 4% per year in 2010-11, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe.

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Laws, Regulations and Standards

The legal system of the Republic of Mauritius derives from both French and English sources. During the French rule (1715 until 1810) the Island’s system was governed by the French Napoleonic Code which remained in force under the British rule with subsequent amendments in civil and criminal procedural laws and company law. Mauritius, therefore, enjoys a hybrid legal system combining both the civil and common law practices. Though being a Republic, Mauritius still remains a member of the Commonwealth and the right of appeal to the Privy Council is preserved.

The Republic of Mauritius, a presidential democracy modelled on the British system of parliamentary democracy, guarantees the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

The President is the head of state and Commander-in-Chief, while the Prime Minister has full executive power and is the head of Government. The sixty-two members of the National Assembly are elected every five years by universal adult suffrage. All major political parties are represented, reflecting the depth of democracy prevailing in Mauritius. Parliament is the legislative authority in Mauritius.

Facts and Figures

Official Name Republic of Mauritius
Capital Cities Port-Louis
Population 1,313,095 (July 2012 est.)
Working Population 607,400 (2011 est.)
Official Language English – However all Mauritian speak fluent French and Creole and various communities practice their own native language such as Hindi, Mandarin, Urdu, etc
Currency Mauritian Rupees (Rs)
Exchange Rate Rs 28.67 per US$1 (2011 est.)
GDP USD 11 billion (2011 est.)
GDP per head USD 15,000 (2011 est.)
GDP growth 4.2% (2011 est.)
Inflation 6.7% (2011 est.)
Exports $2.707 billion (2011 est.)
Top import sources India
France
South Africa
Top export markets USA
Italy
France
United Kingdom, South Africa and Spain
Religions Anglican
Roman Catholic
Muslim
Jehovah
Sikh
Hindu
Buddhism
Area Size 1,865 km2

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The People

Key Concepts

The population of the Island is approximately 1,313,000 made up principally by people of European, African, Indian and Chinese origin Mauritius takes pride in the fact that these different cultures co-exist in peace and succeed in creating a cultural entity that is distinctly Mauritian.

Business Practice and Etiquette
  • The average working week is 9.00am to 5.30pm. However, many executives work longer hours.
  • Mauritian business protocol and tradition demands punctuality when attending meetings. It is also best practice to arrange appointments several days in advance.
  • Mauritius businesses deploy “Flat and Top down Hierarchical Structures” where the only divide is between managers and other ranks.
  • Mauritius businessmen generally favour the establishment of pool working relationships with their subordinates.
  • Business entertaining can be conducted during any meal and generally whoever initiates is expected to pay.
  • It is customary to always shake hands. When being introduced or when meeting someone, as well as when leaving.
  • Business cards are welcomed in business culture and are generally exchanged at the end of business meetings.
  • Misplaced or exaggerated praise is not appreciated in Mauritius business culture.
  • It is considered to be impolite and rude to maintain eye contact (unless a point is being emphasised), to stand too close when speaking or to talk loudly. Mauritius businessmen do respect personal space and therefore keeping an acceptable distance is recommended.
  • It is considered rude to ask direct personal questions about occupation, income and background.
  • Mauritius business dress code is generally conservative and the norm for both men and women is to wear smart, well tailored attire using darker colours. Many Mauritius companies have now introduced more “dressed down” attire but this generally relates to the high tech and core industries.

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