Country FilesSouthCountry Profile 2014: MAURITIUS

Wed,19Sep2018

Posted on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 21:42

Country Profile 2014: MAURITIUS

Flag MauritiusOld partners for the next waltz

A new round of political alignments will edge into place in 2014 ahead of the 2015 parliamentary elections, testing the popularity and coalition-building abilities of Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.
With his slim majority in parliament, he hopes the election will shore up his Labour Party, which has ruled since 2011 with the help of the Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate of finance minister Xavier-Luc
Duval; its previous partner, the Jugnauth political family’s Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM), left government after a corruption scandal.

 

 

 Table of contents :

Top Mauritian Companies

Top Mauritian Banks

 

theafricareport-mauritius-72dpiOld partners for the next waltz

Electoral reform is on the 2015 agenda, with eyes on the ‘best loser’ system

A new push to fill the skills gap as the knowledge economy expands

A new round of political alignments will edge into place in 2014 ahead of the 2015 parliamentary elections, testing the popularity and coalition-building abilities of Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.
With his slim majority in parliament, he hopes the election will shore up his Labour Party, which has ruled since 2011 with the help of the Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate of finance minister Xavier-Luc
Duval; its previous partner, the Jugnauth political family’s Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM), left government after a corruption scandal.

 

The MSM, now led by ousted former finance minister Pravind Jugnauth, has made up with the opposition Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) under the banner ‘Remake2000’, a nod to their winning electoral coalition of 2000.Together, they managed to outperform the government at municipal elections in late 2012. The return of veteran socialist politician Paul Bérenger to the political scene in August, following a battle with cancer, has reinvigorated the MMM. Electoral reform will also be on the agenda in 2015, focusing on the ‘best loser’ system in which eight extra parliamentary seats are reserved for losing candidates from minority ethnic groups. The main parties have not found it easy to agree on a replacement system.


ALLEGED FAVOURITISM


The government faces growing frustration from the electorate over mismanagement and cronyism in parastatal companies. Flash floods in Port Louis in March 2013 sparked fierce criticism and calls for the
resignation of infrastructure minister Anil Bachoo. Reluctance to allow competition for the national airline Air Mauritius is criticised for hampering economic growth. And there is frustration at the failure to develop two mega-projects near Port Louis: the Chinese JinFei special economic zone and an Indian- backed development called Neotown, both of which had promised big investment and job creation.

Mauritius has overtaken South Africa in theWorld Economic Forum’s ranking of Africa’s most competitive economies. The IMF predicts GDP to grow at 4.4% in 2014, up from 3.7% in 2013, but there is concern in the business community that the rate is not fast enough to protect the island’s economy from further shocks after its Europe-centric export industries were hit badly by the world financial crisis. Unemployment hovers around 8%, but is at 27% for 16-25 year olds.

A move up the value chain in key sectors such as sugar and textiles,combined with stronger growth in ICT and the financial services has created a paradigm shift towards a knowledge economy, while the education systemis still playing catch-up. “The skills gap is a major challenge today,” says Raj Makoond, director of the Joint Economic Council, an umbrella group for private sector bodies.

TAX DEAL UNDER REVIEW

Negotiations over changes to a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) with India were still ongoing in late 2013.The countries are divided over alimitation of benefits clause that would impose conditions before a global business company (GBC) could benefit from the island’s effective 3% corporation tax rate, while India, with an election in 2014, is under political pressure to close taxation loopholes. Also, South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan proposed changes to the DTAA between the two countries in May.

Mauritius insists it does not tolerate money-laundering, but a series of ponzi schemes uncovered in 2013 have raised questions about the effectiveness of its regulators. The financial services sector is now focused on diversifying towards Africa to mitigate its risk. Mauritian GBCs made 51% of their investments into Africa in 2012, compared to 31% in 2008. Mauritian banks have been quick to refocus
their attention on the sub-region. According to the Chamber of Commerce, foreign direct investment rose 34% in 2012 to $422m, with the real estate sector bringingin 40%. Tourist arrivals stagnated
in 2012, hovering just below 1m, though arrivals from Asia are still rising.


Policy makers are eagerly looking for more diversification, hoping to shore up Mauritius as a leader in the ‘ocean economy’, encompassing everything from financial services for shipbuilders to seafood to marine biotechnology. Some see it as a potential key transhipment hub for goods and oil between Asia and Africa.

Mauritius's Top Companies

 

Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
160225GMLDIVERSIFIEDMAURITIUS880,43752.00%55,641
240226AIR MAURITIUSAIR TRANSPORTMAURITIUS568,291-1.65%12,850
256490IRELAND BLYTHCONSTRUCTIONMAURITIUS528,822150.07%18,848
326315CIEL GROUPDIVERSIFIEDMAURITIUS377,6640.42%23,822
366352FOOD AND ALLIED GROUP OF COMPANIES*AGRIBUSINESSMAURITIUS322,520NA19,059
388376ROGERS GROUP*DIVERSIFIEDMAURITIUS301,213NA19,636
390382SHELL MAURITIUS*PETROL. SERVICESMAURITIUS299,305NA10,287
401-BAI CO.INSURANCEMAURITIUS289,78049.75%6,675
428472CIEL TEXTILETEXTILESMAURITIUS260,23516.53%6,991
430447MAURITIUS TELECOMTELECOMSMAURITIUS258,3899.29%60,756
441483NEW MAURITIUS HOTELSHOTELSMAURITIUS249,46815.31%24,613
443431TOTAL MAURITIUS*PETROL. SERVICESMAURITIUS247,369NA5,528
 

Mauritius's Top Banks

 

Rank 2012Rank 2011Bank nameCountryTotal assetsNet interest incomeLoansDeposits
4345THE MAURITIUS COMMERCIAL BANKMAURITIUS5,082,881273,8343,677,0684,086,335
4643HSBC MAURITIUS*MAURITIUS4,885,07688,8453,058,5374,380,623
5859STANDARD CHARTERED BANK MAURITIUS*MAURITIUS3,439,66086,3351,055,723863,583
6665BARCLAYS BANK OF MAURITIUS*MAURITIUS2,929,816151,3661,387,6262,522,352
7571STATE BANK OF MAURITIUS*MAURITIUS2,527,713121,4791,384,5471,947,164
11673STANDARD BANK MAURITIUSMAURITIUS1,477,74012,443414,3371,077,850
125116SBI MAURITIUS (EX-SBI INTERNATIONAL)MAURITIUS1,222,77828,039809,174938,054
139122DEUTSCHE BANK*MAURITIUS1,018,5252,442288,112691,697
143-HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP.*MAURITIUS977,09020,619480,414717,628
153136INVESTEC BANK MAURITIUS*MAURITIUS830,74834,708558,736372,685
168158BANQUE DES MASCAREIGNES*MAURITIUS660,04823,208550,951391,508
182-AFRASIA BANKMAURITIUS552,04812,104279,821489,721
194188BANK ONEMAURITIUS513,07418,660312,842462,085
 


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