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The Economist: Reinventing Maurutius

Date: June 20, 2020


Reinventing Maurutius

Expect the Unexpected

Located in the Indian Ocean, the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agaléga and St. Brandon are home to roughly 1,3 million highly-literate and largely co-operative citizens. Although a small nation of 2,040 square kilometers (790 square miles) in area, its Exclusive Economic Zone covers 2,3 million square kilometers. However, even being surrounded by water did not prevent the island from receiving one of the most stealthiest viruses the world has ever seen.

Being one the most densely populated countries in the world during the coronavirus pandemic is not an easy task. This was quickly understood by Pravind Jugnauth, incumbent Prime Minister of Mauritius. What the Government first expected to be a 3,8% GDP growth during 2020 was soon tarnished by a forecasted 11% GDP contraction due to economic slowdown in Europe and Asia and the island’s exposure and openness to these markets.

Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic led the island’s economy into a recession for the first time in 40 years, negatively impacting almost all sectors of the economy. The tourism sector, in particular, which accounts directly and indirectly for some 25% of the country’s GDP has come to a halt, greatly affecting balance of payments as tourism receipts represent around 32% of total export earnings. Nevertheless, a series of rapid, bold actions in the right direction triggered one of the most impressive cases of national recovery during the coronavirus pandemic.

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