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Mauritius: Mauritius Economy Profile


The Mauritian economy has weathered the global slowdown relatively well in spite of its exposure to the euro area which accounts for nearly 60% of its exports and tourists. Anchored by robust countercyclical policies, the economy has maintained annual growth rates of above 3%, although the momentum has eased as the crisis has evolved. In 2013, real GDP growth rate slowed down to 3.3% from 3.4% in 2012, driven by weak sugar and textile exports and a fall in construction.

Projections show a rebound to 3.5% in 2014 and 4.1% in 2015 on the back of continued strong performance in financial intermediation, information and communications technology (ICT) and a modest recovery in tourism. Consumer price index (CPI) inflation remains within the policy target having declined from 3.9% in 2012 to 3.5 % in 2013. In June 2013 the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) reduced the Key Repo Rate (KRR) by 25 basis points to 4.65% per annum to boost the slowing domestic economy as first quarter exports and tourist arrivals showed signs of slowing down.

Sustained structural reform and prudent fiscal management during the global slowdown have served Mauritius well, propelling the country to become the region's best business environment and most competitive economy. Benefiting from strong institutions that have helped the economy to withstand a protracted global slowdown, the country's sovereign credit rating at Baa1 further strengthens its competitiveness.

Toattain a High Income Country status, the authorities need to address a number of remaining bottlenecks to further bolster competitiveness and reinforce investor confidence. Plans to strengthen public sector implementation capacity and improve the regulatory framework for public private partnerships (PPP) need fast-tracking to help accelerate implementation of public sector investment programmes.

Fiscal consolidation should accelerate in line with the medium-term macroeconomic framework so as to achieve efficiency gains in budget execution and help achieve a more sustainable current account balance. Efforts to enhance education quality and relevance and innovation capacity should accelerate to address the emerging problems of skills mismatch and structural unemployment. The continued fall in the savings rate and its structural impact on the current account deficit is a concern. The monetary policy authorities will need to consider normalising the repo rate to help accelerate savings. Anti-corruption efforts should be strengthened to recapture the public's confidence and sustain the country's strong governance record.

With trade accounting for about 120.5% of GDP, the authorities would like to deepen the country's participation in cross-border value chains to drive growth sustainably. Their on-going efforts to position Mauritius as a regional hub for manufacturing, financial services, trade and knowledge under their Africa Strategy strengthens the prospects for further developing regional industry and services global value chains.

  • Growth slowed from 3.4% in 2012 to 3.3% in 2013 on the back of weak external demand and muted domestic investment. Forecasts for 2014 and 2015 show a rebound with the growth rate rising to 3.5% and 4.1% respectively.
  • Benefiting from wide-ranging structural reforms since 2006 and sound macroeconomic management during the global economic crisis, Mauritius in 2013 overtook South Africa to become the most competitive economy in sub-Saharan Africa, although emerging challenges in governance and structural bottlenecks in education are a concern for investors.
  • Having the region's best business environment and most competitive economy, Mauritius is well placed to build on the progress it has made by participating in the global industry and services value chains.

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Macroeconomic Policy

Fiscal Policy

Consistent with the in general macroeconomic framework, the authorities’ fiscal policy continues to underpin their efforts to bolster the domestic economy and reinforce public service delivery and social protection. Following a series of fiscal stimulus measures since the onset of the crisis, the Government of Mauritius has strengthened its resolve to return to a additional sustainable fiscal position.

The 2012 budget performed well with outcomes showing a commitment to fiscal consolidation while supporting resilience to the world economic slowdown. Although total revenues at MUR 73.74 billion (USD 2.43 billion) were 4% lower than the budget estimates, they marginally increased to 21.5% of GDP from 21.4% in 2011. Tax revenues stood at 18.3% of GDP, thus reaching the 2012 target. They were buoyed by expanded tax audits and registration of 14 090 new taxpayers. The authorities reigned in spending, with total spending and net lending declining to 24.4% of GDP from 24.7% in 2011 as interest payments fell.

Estimated at MUR 91.8 billion (USD 3.01 billion), the 2013 budget aims to support increase while maintaining sound macroeconomic management. Spending is in line with national priorities and fits within the government’s medium-term spending framework objective. As the authorities accelerate implementation of their USD 10 billion infrastructure programme, capital budget spending is expected to increase by additional than 50% to MUR 28.6 billion (USD 0.94 billion); although under spending is likely to occur due to capacity bottlenecks. The public sector wage bill reached MUR 26.89 billion (USD 0.88 billion) in 2012 representing 5.6% of GDP. An increase in public sector wage by about 1.3% of GDP is expected as the government implements the recommendations of the Pay Review Bureau during the 2013 fiscal year. At MUR 39.7 billion (USD 1.31 billion) in 2011, spending on oil imports accounted for 9% of GDP and 19% of the total import bill highlighting the country’s vulnerability to terms of trade shocks. Falling to 54.2% of GDP in 2012 from 56.8% in 2011, public sector deficit is trending down and remains within the legal limit. In line with the authorities’ medium-term fiscal consolidation plans the fiscal deficit and the public sector deficit are projected to fall further in 2013 to 2.6% and 53.7% of GDP respectively. 

Table 3: Public Finances (% of GDP)

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total revenue and grants 22.3 21.9 21.4 21.5 21.2 21
Tax revenue 18.4 18.5 18.3 18.3 18.1 18
Oil revenue - - - - - -
Grants 1.7 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.7 0.6
Total spending and net lending (a) 26.1 25.1 24.7 24.4 23.7 23.4
Current expenditure 17.8 16.9 16.5 16.1 15.7 15.5
Excluding interest 14.2 13.4 13.5 13.7 13.6 13.6
Wages and salaries 6.1 5.9 5.6 5.6 5.4 5.3
Interest 3.6 3.4 3 2.3 2 1.9
Primary balance -0.3 0.2 -0.2 -0.5 -0.5 -0.5
In general balance -3.9 -3.2 -3.2 -2.9 -2.6 -2.4

Figures for 2012 are estimates; for 2013 and later are projections.


Monetary Policy

Monetary policy has been broadly appropriate, responding to both increase risks and price stability challenges as the world slowdown evolved. The CPI inflation slowed down from 6.5% in 2011 to 4.1% in 2012 as base effects were absorbed. Moderate inflationary pressures allowed the authorities to pursue an accommodative monetary policy. As risks to domestic increase intensified with the euro area crisis, the Monetary Policy Committee cut the KRR by 50 basis points to 4.90% in March 2012. Following movements in the KRR, the weighted average rupee lending rate declined from 9.27% at end 2011 to 8.48% at end 2012. Similarly, the weighted average rupee deposit rate declined during the period from 4.32% to 3.64%, keeping the real interest rate on savings deposits broadly negative. Domestic factors inclunding the depreciation of the rupee, the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) Operation Reserve Reconstitution (ORR) and the expected public sector pay rise should increase the upside risks to inflation which is projected at 6.0% in 2013 before moderating to 4.6% in 2014. Monetary policy should remain accommodative in light of continued downside risks to increase. The authorities are expected to remain vigilant to undertake quantitative tightening should price stability become at risk.

Broad money liabilities (BML) at MUR 351.62 billion as at end December 2012 accelerated at an annual increase rate of 8.6%, the highest pace of increase since 2008. This was largely attributed to an accelerated rise in both narrow money and quasi-money liabilities. As a counterpart to BML, domestic credit expanded at an annual rate of 10.9% explained by an accelerated rise in credit to the private sector, which grew by of 14.5% to reach MUR 348.83 billion. Construction and trade sectors drove the increase in annual increase to private sector credit contributing 53.4% and 13.9% respectively.

The rupee depreciated against the US dollar from an average of MUR 28.72 per USD in August 2011 to MUR 31.33 per USD in August 2012. At the same time, the rupee appreciated against the euro from MUR 41.19 per EUR to MUR 38.85 per EUR. Concerned with the misaligned rupee exchange rate, the BoM announced a Appropriate Foreign Currency Line of Credit (SFCLC) amounting to MUR 0.6 billion aimed at minimising exchange rate risks for the export sector. They intervened regularly in the foreign exchange market to smooth excess volatility. Between August 2012 and December 2012, the rupee exchange depreciated against both the US dollar and the euro to stand at an average of MUR 30.75 per USD and MUR 40.33 per EUR respectively. Following introduction of the ORR initiative, gross international reserves have increased by 15% to reach USD 3.05 billion (about 5.3 months of import cover) against a target of six months.

Economic Cooperation, Regional Integration & Trade

Mauritius is keen to accelerate economic integration to reduce dependency on the troubled euro area. A comprehensive strategy on Africa has been announced under which the authorities have mobilised five like-minded nations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to co-operate on business and trade policy reforms. In 2012, they signed Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) with Nigeria, Kenya and Republic of Congo, and are currently renegotiating their DTAA with India. They are party to the Tri-partite Free Trade Area negotiations under the SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC). They continue to negotiate favourable access for their exports to the European Union through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and to the US through the African Increase and Opportunity Act. The World Bank statement Doing Business 2013 ranks Mauritius at 15 part 185 economies, while the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Statement 2012-2013 ranks Mauritius at 27 out of 144 economies on “trading across borders” and on “prevalence of trade barriers” respectively. It is ranked initial in Africa on both indicators.

Terms of trade shocks emanating from the euro area crisis and underlying structural bottlenecks to trade competitiveness are affecting external sector outcomes for Mauritius. The trade deficit widened by 19.4% in 2012 to reach 23.9% of GDP as the increase of imports outpaced that of exports. Mauritian exports to the European Union declined from 61.3% in 2011 to 58.9% in 2012. Exports to South Africa grew by 28%; this was driven by textile trade. India and China remain the major import source markets. Ongoing diversification efforts should help narrow the current account balance, albeit marginally, to -10% and -9.5% of GDP in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Fiscal consolidation must continue along with improvements to the skills base and infrastructure to strengthen the country’s competitiveness.

For the initial nine months of 2012, FDI reached MUR 6.2 billion with South Africa as the major source. About half of the total FDI went into real estate. In 2011, FDI amounted to MUR 9.4 billion. In 2013 and 2014, FDI should remain subdued, but within the medium term range, as the euro area economy struggles to recover and the government takes reflective steps to monitor the impact of accelerated real estate sector increase on prices and rapid rental increase.

Table 4: Current Account (% of GDP)

  2004 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Trade balance -8.8 -17.5 -19.5 -20.9 -23.9 -23.8 -24.2
Exports of goods (f.o.b.) 30.3 21.8 23.3 22.8 21.3 20.7 20.4
Imports of goods (f.o.b.) 39.2 39.4 42.8 43.7 45.2 44.5 44.6
Services 6.5 8.2 8.2 8 10.8 11.1 12.1
Factor income -0.2 -0.5 1.2 0.7 1.2 1.2 1.3
Current transfers 0.8 2.4 1.9 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.3
Current account balance -1.8 -7.4 -8.2 -11 -10.6 -10 -9.5

Figures for 2012 are estimates; for 2013 and later are projections.


Deficit Policy

Public sector deficit remains sustainable in spite of the expansionary fiscal stance pursued since 2008. At 54.2% in 2012, down from 56.8% in 2011, the total deficit to GDP ratio declined and remained sustainable. It was as well in line with the 2008 Public Deficit Management (PDM) Act ceiling of 60%. The share of total external public sector deficit to GDP is estimated to have increased from 15% in 2011 to 16.1% in 2012. Domestic deficit stands at about MUR 140.14 billion representing about 46.1% of GDP of which about one third has a maturity of less than a year. The government is keen to deepen the domestic deficit market and improve capacity for its management. In this context, a deficit-management strategy is being finalised and the public deficit management unit is being re-organised to delineate clearly the roles for the front, middle and back offices. The target for the government is to bring down the public deficit ratio to 50% by 2018.

In 2012, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the government bond ratings of Mauritius to Baa1 from Baa2, citing a stronger institutional framework as the reason underlying the upgrade, which allowed the economy to withstand a protracted negative impact from shocks emanating from the world and euro area crises. The agency as well cited the significant evolution that the government has made in reducing the country’s deficit-servicing burden and improving the deficit structure. Public deficit to GDP is projected to decline from 54.2% of GDP in 2012 to 53.7% in 2013. Nonetheless, the authorities are paying particular attention to corporate indebtedness. Credit to private sector grew at an annual rate of 17% to reach MUR 355.08 billion in 2012. As a proportion of GDP, this represented 103.1%, up from 80.6% in 2009.  

Economic & Political Governance

Private Sector

Next some slippage in 2011, Mauritius posted a strong performance in 2012 in the Doing Business indicators reflecting good evolution in business environment reforms; it did however slip five points downward in 2013; from presently on it maintains its premier position as the easiest place to do business in sub-Saharan Africa for the sixth year running. Improving the relieve in which businesses are started and operated is significant to the government. With this in mind, Mauritius adopted an electronic data management system at the Registrar General’s Department that reduced the number of days it takes to register property from 22 days in 2011 to 15 days in 2012 and improved access to credit data by distributing payment data from retailers. A joint public-private sector Business Facilitation Task Force is in place to identify and eliminate weaknesses encountered by businesses and create or enhance factors to improve the conditions for attracting investment and enhancing trade in Mauritius.

Despite the strong indicators that doing business in Mauritius is relatively “easy”, the weak and uncertain economic environment in 2012 depressed investors’ confidence. The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) business confidence indicator lost 2.1 points in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 85.4 points, the lowest level since recording started in 2010. The 2013 budget, therefore, included a number of initiatives to boost investor confidence. For example, manufacturing industries will be offered a 50% accelerated depreciation on acquisitions of plant, machinery and equipment. Companies manufacturing exclusively for the African market will be granted a Freeport license. Under the existing SME financing scheme where commercial banks are expected to release MUR 3 billion over a period of three years at the KRR of +3%, an additional MUR 0.25 billion annually has been programmed to cater to micro and small enterprises with turnover under MUR 10 million. The government will as well exceptionally guarantee 50% of any losses incurred by banks. Moreover, the VAT registration threshold has been increased to a turnover of MUR 4 million per annum to reduce compliance costs.

Financial Sector

The financial sector in 2012 represented about 10.2% share of the GDP and grew by 5.5%, a slight slowdown from 5.6% in 2011. The banking sector has stood the world downturn well and remains healthy, profitable and well capitalised even above Basel III requirements. Stress testing by the IMF (March 2012 Article IV statement) shows that capitalisation is adequate with the Capital Adequacy Ratio being additional than the regulatory minimum of 10%. Credit quality is good with a low number of non-performing loans (NPL); standing at 2.6% as of June 2011. Showing profitability, return on equity increased from 16.7% as at end-September 2010 to 21.5% as at end-June 2011 despite low leverage ratios. Stress tests conducted by the BoM indicate that the domestic banks would be resilient to significant increases in NPLs and losses on large exposures.

The market capitalisation of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) stood at USD 5.67 billion as at end 2012 representing 51% of GDP with a price market earnings ratio of 11.30%. The domestic stock market recorded net investments by foreigners of MUR 192.3 million as at end-December 2012 compared to a disinvestment of MUR 80.8 million as at end-September 2012. In general, the SEMDEX (i.e. the SEM index) lost ground over the twelve months to December 2012 falling by 8.28%.

Mauritius’ ranking on access to credit has improved from 78 out of 183 economies in 2011 to 54 out of 185 economies in 2012. This has particularly benefited SMEs. By end-December 2012, commercial banks had approved an estimated MUR 1.56 billion under the SME Financing Scheme since its launch in December 2011.

Public Sector Management, Institutions & Reform

Mauritius has strong governance institutions based on the policy of law. Over the completed six years, the country has consistently ranked top part sub-Saharan African nations on the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Mauritius is ranked the highest performer on the continent on “safety and the policy of law”. Property rights are protected and reasonably transparent. The country is in the top half of the 2012-13 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report. It does particularly well on the indicator “strength of investor protection”, where it ranks 12th part 139 economies.

The public sector is the major employer in Mauritius accounting for 20% of capital formation and 25% of GDP. Public Finance Management (PFM) systems are strong and well functioning and reforms are progressing. To strengthen transparency and objectivity in horizontal allocations to sub-national governments, in 2012, the government embarked on a review of local and regional authority legislation on the budgeting process. This resulted in the establishment of a rules-based formula for grants allocation. They have as well adopted two schemes to improve tax government, namely the Tax Arrears Settlement Scheme (TASS) and the Expeditious Dispute Resolution of Tax (EDRT). On the Mo Ibrahim Index for African Governance, while the country ranks initial on the business environment indicator, it ranks fourth on public management with a score of 68.5 out of 100 in 2011, which is a gradual decline from 68.9 in 2010. The country’s performance on accountability has marginally fallen from a score of 80.5 in 2010 from 79.3 in 2011. The decline may be a result of a decline in the public’s confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts over the completed year as prosecution of some public figures, charged in 2011 with corruption, drag on through the system. In addition, Mauritius’ ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index declined from 39 in 2011 to 43 in 2012 out of 183 nations.

Natural Resource Management & Environment

Available data shows that not all environment-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may be completed. While additional than 99% of the people has access to clean water and improved sanitation, the availability of clean water 100% of the time (i.e. 24 hours/7 days per week) is not guaranteed for some parts of the country, particularly on the Island of Rodrigues. Drought, poor water infrastructure and slow evolution in water sector institutional reforms present some challenges in this regard. The authorities have thus announced a USD 10 billion infrastructure programme, which part other things, as well aims to address water infrastructure. In regards to forest area, Mauritius has 35 000 hectares of forest area representing 17.2% of total land area.

The government initiated a climate change branch in 2010. It is implementing the Africa Adaptation Programme (launched by the UNDP). The government’s strategy for sustainable development in relation to natural resource management, environment and climate change is contained in the Maurice Ile Durable (MID) programme, approved in 2008. Although a Green Paper, entitled “Towards a National Policy for Sustainable Mauritius” was prepared under the auspices of the MID in 2011, there has been minimal movement in actual policy and programme creation. In line with the sustainable increase objective of the MID programme, the government as well introduced a form of carbon tax and “green” taxes on some plastic products; implementation began in 2011. Energy is a key focus area of the programme; to this end, it concentrates on improving energy use efficiency and scaling up renewable energy to reduce dependency on fossil fuel from 80% to 65% by 2025.

Political Context

Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam’s government has been left vulnerable, commanding a small majority in parliament, following the withdrawal of Mr. Pravind Jugnauth and his Mouvement socialiste militant (MSM) from the governing coalition. Mr. Jugnauth, a Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the coalition government, left in July 2011 amidst corruption allegations. The independent Commission against Corruption has since charged Mr. Jugnauth with corruption; however, he maintains that the move is politically motivated.

In a move that put additional pressure on Prime Minister Ramgoolam’s government and the labour party, the President of the Republic, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, who is Mr. Pravind Jugnauth’s father, resigned in 2012 sighting concerns with the national of the economy and law and order. The senior Jugnauth has since re-joined politics, taken over the leadership of the MSM and formed a coalition with the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM), the major opposition party. In what was viewed as a litmus test for the government’s popularity prior to the 2015 general elections, the government won 35 seats against 54 for the opposition coalition in the December 2012 municipal elections.

Notwithstanding the disappointing municipal election results, Prime Minister Ramgoolam appears steadfast in resisting the opposition’s pressure for him to call for early elections. To address some of the concerns raised by the opposition, the 2013 budget provides for increased spending for social sectors and micro and small businesses. However, the slim parliamentary majority and the rejuvenated opposition could slow down the pace of reforms. Political manoeuvring is common in Mauritius. Despite the allegations of corruption, in 2012, for the sixth year running, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance ranked Mauritius as the best performer on the continent.

Social Context & Human Development

Building Human Resources

Mauritius is making good evolution towards the human-resource related MDGs. In the United Nations Development Programme 2011 Human Development Report (HDR), Mauritius ranks 78 part 187 nations and second in the sub-Saharan region. The HDR notes that the country has made the majority evolution on health. Life expectancy at birth stands at 73.4 years, while the under-five child mortality rate has been reduced by two-thirds since 1990 to 17.1 per thousand live births. The prevalence of underweight children between 0-11 months is 0.1%; between 12 to 23 months, it is 0.3% and between 24 and 59 months, it is 0.8%. As well, the maternal mortality ratio at 36 per one hundred thousand live births in 2009 has steadily improved and is lower than the average for other nations at the same level of development. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is less than 1.0% part 15-24 year-olds and the country is malaria-risk free. 

There are concerns that the level of low-skilled human resources is becoming a constraint to the country’s competitiveness. Although Mauritius has completed a rate of almost 100% enrolment in both pre-primary and primary education, inclunding near gender parity in school enrolment, significant challenges remain. About 0.5% of children drop out of school yearly at the primary level, while 1.5% of secondary school pupils leave the system before reaching the fourth year. In addition, about 9%, of the students enrolled in the pre-vocational stream do not complete the third year. Around 35% of children fail to obtain a Certificate of Primary Education (CPE): an examination marking the final year of primary schooling. Authorities are keen to make the necessary reforms to ensure improved human resource and skills development. They have articulated an Education and Human Resources Strategy Plan for the period of 2008-2020, which aims to address some of these challenges. The government has as well established a Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology as one of the methods to pursue the goals of enhancing competitiveness and transforming Mauritius into a centre of excellence in the region. The 2013 budget indicates the government's willingness to stimulate domestic request through increasing spending inclunding on social services, education and data technology infrastructure

Poverty Reduction, Social Protection & Labour

Mauritius is classified as an upper middle-gain country in the 2011 World Development Statement and, according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom produced by the Heritage Foundation, it is part the top ten globally. It has a comprehensive social security system articulated in five pillars, namely: i) social assistance schemes and a universal system of non-contributory pension for the elderly, the disabled, widows and children; ii) contributory pension schemes for public and private employees; iii) a provident savings scheme funded by both public and private employers (2.5% of fee and 1% coming from employers), which as well provides benefits on retirement, death or redundancy; iv) occupational pension schemes run by the private sector; and v) government subsidies on food (rice, flour), housing (for lower gain groups), free education and health services for all and free transport for the elderly and students.

A complete review of the government’s social protection programme in 2010 highlights, however, a lack of efficiency in the social protection programmes; it recommends rationalising the providers and improving targeting. An International Monetary Fund article IV mission statement of 2011 made similar observations and further raised concerns regarding the non-transparent nature of the subsidies administered by the National Trading Corporation regarding fuel products (e.g. liquid propane gas), rice and wheat; these were not included in the budget. In the case of fuel products, the statement noted that less than 5% of subsidies go to the poorest 20% of the people, whereas the richest 20% of the people receives 20% of the subsidies. A social protection strategy is being finalised to help address some of these concerns.

At less than 1%, extreme poverty, as defined by the World Bank on the basis of USD 1 per day – which has since again been recalibrated as USD 1.25 – is negligible in Mauritius. However, if poverty is measured using the half-median household gain methodology, the authorities statement that the share of the poorest quintile in the measurement of national consumption was estimated at 7.9% in 2005/06. The poor are predominantly found part women whose labour force participation rate is low at 41% in 2011 and on Rodrigues Island where economic livelihoods are largely at subsistence levels. Against the backdrop of the slowing domestic economy, the unemployment rate averaged 8.0% in 2012 up from 7.9% in 2011. Poverty eradication and unemployment reduction are tackled within the Economic Empowerment Framework where the government offers training to enhance employability of the retrenched and new entrants to the labour market (particularly women and youth) and provides next school care to allow mothers to participate in gain generating activities, part other key programmes.

Gender Equality

Mauritius is making good evolution in reducing gender disparities. Near gender parity has been reached in primary school and girls dominate slightly in secondary education. At 0.353, the country’s gender inequality index is a significant development from 0.476 in 1995.

Recent improvements to the legal framework for promoting gender equality shows that the authorities remain committed to improving the status of women in Mauritius. Two examples of this are the Equal Opportunities (Amendment) Act and the Local Government Act, both passed in December 2011. The former provides for the establishment of an Equal Opportunities Commission to oversee implementation of reforms that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women; while the latter Act is to enhance the participation of women as councillors in the local government

Meaningful evolution remains to be completed, nevertheless. At 41% in 2009 (2011 World Development Report), labour force participation for women was low compared to other middle-gain nations. The unemployment rate for women stood at 12.5% in 2011, a slight decline from 13% in 2010. However, it remains higher than the national average of 7% and represents additional than twice the rate for men. Furthermore, at 0.232% in 2011, the ratio of seats held by women parliamentarians has steadily improved from 0.207% in 2005, but it remains much lower than the 0.50% target ratio in the SADC protocols.