flag Mauritius Mauritius: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to adress the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Mauritius has had low but steady growth rates over the last few years (averaging 3.8% during 2015–19) and is among the most dynamic economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, the COVID-19-induced crisis took a severe toll on the Mauritian economy: although the country did not record many cases, the GDP plummeted by an estimated 14.9% in 2020 (IMF), mostly due to the international travel restrictions which prompted a collapse in tourism arrivals (the sector contributes around one-fifth of GDP and accounts for 22% of employment with significant spillover effects on the whole economy – African Development Bank). The recovery in the tourism sector was subdued in 2021 (arrivals in the first half of the year were less than 2% of 2019 levels); nevertheless, the construction, ICT, financial and insurance sectors had a positive contribution, with GDP growing an estimated 5% over the course of the year.  In 2022, a revival in the tourism sector is expected to push growth to 6.7% this year, followed by 4% in 2023 (IMF).

The country had been progressively reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio in recent years; however, the trend reversed, with the ratio reaching 101% in 2021 (from a pre-pandemic level of 84.6%) as the government took on more debt to finance its budget. However, such debt is almost exclusively denominated in local currency and three-quarters of it is domestic. The IMF forecasts the ratio to remain stable over the forecast horizon. Higher revenue collection contributed to a reduction in the FY2020-21 budget deficit, which stood at 7.8%. It is expected to follow a downward trend in 2022 (4.6% - IMF). Moreover, an increase in food and transport costs prompted a rise in inflation, which doubled from 2.5% in 2020 to 5.1% in 2021. Higher energy prices should bring the rate to 6.6% this year before it decreases to 3% in 2023 as per the IMF forecast. Overall, the country’s economy is driven by the services sector, which accounts for around 68.2% of GDP, with tourism (catering, accommodation, leisure, etc.) and financial services being the most vital sectors for the economy. The country's economy is diversified and also relies on its offshore financial activity, textile industry and production of sugarcane. Medical tourism, outsourcing, new technologies and the luxury industries are among developing sectors. Overall, the industrial sector accounts for 16.7% of GDP, while the agricultural sector contributes around 3.4% (World Bank). Furthermore, Mauritius enjoys political stability.

The island of Mauritius has made substantial progress in its campaign for social equality and poverty reduction, and represents an exemplary model of development. The island is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank, with a high Human Development Index, and is seeking to become a high-income country within the next decade. According to the IMF, GDP per capita (PPP) reached almost USD 22,030 in 2021, the second-highest in Africa after Seychelles. Despite government fiscal support, including wage subsidies, unemployment increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – mostly as a consequence of the downturn of the tourism sector - reaching 10.5% in the first half of 2021 (Coface). Female labour participation is significantly low compared to male labour participation and youth unemployment stands around 25%.

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 10.9211.1611.5012.4013.47
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 8,6268,8279,1129,83210,679
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -13.5-5.3-4.1-4.3-3.3
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 99.293.690.990.089.8
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -1.00-1.52-1.50-1.00-0.71
Current Account (in % of GDP) -9.2-13.6-13.0-8.1-5.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Mauritius Rupee (MUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 47.9944.3845.2744.3850.44

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector is relatively small, accounting for 3.3% of GDP and around 6% of total employment (World Bank, latest data available). Most of the country’s arable land is cultivated with sugar cane, which is by far Mauritius’ largest crop (2.7 million tonnes produced per year from 41,897 ha of harvested area, against 7,992 ha destined for other food crops and 6,853 destined to tea). In fact, Mauritius has a food self-sufficiency ratio of less than 30% and imports many of its essential food requirements. Products imported include rice, meat and fish, certain fruits (oranges, mandarins, and grapes), pulses, milk and dairy products, fresh and frozen vegetables, coffee, tea and spices, cereals, oil, beverages, wheat, and food preparations.

The industry sector has been growing in importance, now contributing 18.3% of GDP and 24% of employment. The Mauritian manufacturing sector – which is estimated to account for 12% of GDP by the World Bank - has traditionally been dominated by textiles and sugar production. The former developed from basic productions to a vertically integrated subsector, turning Mauritius into the textile hub of excellence in Southern Eastern Africa. According to the latest figures from Statistics Mauritius, in the period Oct 2021-Sep 2022, the overall real industrial output grew by 8.5%.

The tertiary sector dominates the country’s economy, services being the main employer (70% of the workforce) and the largest contributor to GDP (66.9%). The financial services sector is a core part of the economy, with a GDP contribution of 13.1%, which includes 6.6% in financial intermediation, 2.1% in insurance activities and 0.6% in financial leasing and other credit-granting activities (Mauritius International Financial Centre). The tourism sector is also pivotal: before the pandemic, Mauritius attracted 1.4 million tourists, but the numbers dropped drastically following the COVID-19 restrictions. In 2022, it showed signs of recovery, with the country receiving 376,556 tourists in the first semester of 2022 (against 3,225 in the same period one year earlier).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 6.0 23.7 70.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.3 18.3 66.9
Value Added (Annual % Change) 7.2 20.9 2.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Socio-Demographic Indicators 20222023 (e)2024 (e)
Unemployment Rate (%)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - Latest available data


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The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 605,789606,150593,317

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 66.34%66.20%66.17%
Men activity rate 80.53%79.98%79.51%
Women activity rate 52.12%52.39%52.81%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:
36 out of 40
Civil Liberties:
50 out of 60 (free) - Civil liberties (50 out of 60)

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Source: Reporters Without Borders

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Business Mauritius
Business Standard
Mauritius online newspapers list
Allafrica, News Mauritius
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development 
Bank of Mauritius

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Latest Update: March 2023

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