|Republic of Mauritius
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Mauritius is a small island nation
that lies approximately 1 900 km from the east coast of
Africa and 800 km from the island of Madagascar in the
Indian Ocean. In addition to the main island of
Mauritius (1.865 km²), it includes the island of
Rodrigues (104 km²) and the two groups of islands
Agalega (75 km²) and Cargados-Carajos (1.3 km²). With a
total area of 2,040 km², the island state is almost as
large as the German state of Saarland. Together with the
French overseas department of R®¶union, the islands of
Mauritius and Rodrigues form the Mascarene archipelago.
Mauritius and Rodrigues are volcanic in origin and
bordered by coral reefs. The land area of Mauritius is
a plateau located about 600 m above sea level, which
represents the bottom of a volcanic crater. The
surrounding mountains are the remains of the crater rim,
the highest peak on the island and at the same time the
Republic is the Piton Rivi®®re Noire with 828 m. The high
plateau is divided by numerous water courses that run in
deep gorges. The longest river is the Grande Rivi®®re
Sud-Est, which rises in the center of the island and
flows into the sea on the east coast. In the southern
part of the island there are several freshwater lakes,
the largest of which is 5.6 km², Mare aux Vacoas. The
coasts of the island are mostly steep and sometimes
heavily structured. At a distance of approx. Coral reefs
that surround almost the entire island lie 200 m to 5 km
off the coast. There are extensive lagoons between the
coast and the coral banks, the water depth of which does
not exceed 3 m.
The island of Rodrigues is about 560 km east of
Mauritius and is also surrounded by coral reefs. The
highest point here is Mont Limon with 396 m.
The Agalega archipelago, which consists of two coral
islands connected by a sandbar, lies around 1,000 km
north of the island of Mauritius. Over 20 small and
uninhabited coral islands form the group of the
Cargados-Carajos Islands, which are located about 400 km
northeast of Mauritius.
The capital of the Republic, Port Louis , is located
in the northwest of the island of Mauritius on the
The islands have a tropical-oceanic climate, which is
characterized by high temperatures all year round. In
the summer half-year (December to March) the average
temperatures on the coast are around 27 °„ C, in the
highlands around 24 °„ C. During these months, a large
part of the precipitation falls: While up to 1,000 mm of
rain is measured on the northwest side of Mauritius, it
is up to 4,000 mm on the southeast side. In the winter
half-year, the average temperatures are around 21 °„ C on
the coast and 18 °„ C in the highlands. Cyclones can
occur in the months of December to March.
Flora and fauna
The original vegetation in Mauritius and Rodrigues
consisted of tropical rainforest, which is only
available in residual stocks. Today more than 60% of the
country's area is cultivated land. Imported tree species
such as teak, mahogany, pine, casuarine, eucalyptus,
almond, banyan (strangler fig), tamarind and tulip tree
dominate. Mangroves grow in swampy areas, especially on
the coasts there are various types of palm trees.
The original fauna on the islands of the Republic of
Mauritius had no mammals apart from bats. Today there
are rabbits, Java deer, semi-monkeys (macaques) and
various rodents that were introduced by humans on the
two largest islands. The extinct animal species include,
for example, the giant tortoise and the flightless Dodo
(Dronte), a ratite weighing up to 25 kg. The bird life
is extremely diverse, the endemic species include, for
example, the Mauritius hawk, the Mauritius pigeon and
the Mauritius parrot. Among other things, soot terns and
red and white-tailed tropical birds occur on seabirds.
Around 1.3 million people live on the islands of the
Republic of Mauritius, which are very densely populated
with just under 614 residents per square kilometer. Much
of the population lives on the main island of Mauritius.
The largest urban settlement is the capital,Port Louis,
with approximately 149,000 residents. Other cities are
Beau Bassin-Rose Hill with 109,000 and Vacoas-Phoenix
with around 106,000 residents; both cities are located
in the highlands of Mauritius.
The largest population group with approximately 53%
are the descendants of the Indians who immigrated in the
19th century. 43% are Creoles that are descended from
Europeans and Black Africans. The third largest ethnic
group with an estimated 3% are Chinese. White Europeans
(Franco-Mauritians) have a small share of the
population, but represent the highest-income strata.
The largest religious community are Hindus (almost
half of the population), the second largest group are
Christians (around 30% in total, mostly Catholics).
Followers of Islam, mostly Sunni, make up around 16.5%
of the population. The official language in Mauritius is
English, French is widely used as an educational
language, almost all residents speak Mauritian, a French
Creole with African and Asian elements.
Mauritius is one of the wealthiest countries in
Africa. According to COUNTRYAAH,
population growth is comparatively low at 0.85%,
while mean life expectancy at 76.4 years for women and
68.5 years for men is significantly higher than the
African average. Social and health care are well
educated. The literacy rate is given as around 85%.
According to the 1992 constitution, the island nation
is a democratic republic with a multi-party system. The
head of state is the President (Kailash Purryag since
July 2012), who is elected by the National Assembly for
a term of five years. The government is headed by the
Prime Minister (Navin Ramgoolam since July 2005), who is
appointed by the President and is responsible to
Parliament. The President appoints the Ministers on the
Prime Minister's proposal.
Legislative power lies with the National Assembly
with a maximum of 70 deputies. 62 of them are directly
elected by the people for a term of five years, eight
seats are reserved for representatives of minorities.
The legal system is based on the French, but some
regulations of the British common law have also been
Mauritius is divided into nine administrative
districts and three island groups (Agalela, Cargados
Carajos Shoals, Rodrigues).
The economy of the island state of Mauritius has
developed positively since independence in 1968.
Measured by per capita income, Mauritius is one of the
wealthiest countries in Africa.
Agriculture only contributes around 3% of gross
domestic product (GDP) and employs around 8% of the
workforce. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector is
quite significant, since sugar cane generates 15% of
export earnings. Over half of the agricultural land is
used for sugar cane cultivation; tea and tobacco are
also cultivated for export. Food for the population's
own needs must be imported.
The industry is developing positively due to good
infrastructure and low wages. Numerous foreign companies
(especially in the financial sector) have settled here -
attracted by tax and customs advantages. There are
companies in the fields of textile and leather
processing, food and luxury food production and
Tourism plays an important role for the economy of
Mauritius, the target group are tourists of the high
income category. Approx. 15% of the workforce is
employed in the tourism industry. The government plans
to further expand tourism, including on the islands of
Rodrigues and Agalega.
The main trading partners for exports (textiles,
sugar and sugar products, tea) are Great Britain, France
and the USA. Food, consumer goods, chemical products,
machinery and vehicles from France, South Africa and
India are the main imports.
The road network on Maruitius is well developed and
covers a total of around 2,000 kilometers. Port Louis is
a major trading port. There is an international airport
in the southeast of Mauritius near the city of
The currency is the Mauritian rupee.