Mauritius: Soaring prices spark economic anxiety

By Kervin Victor
Posted on Thursday, 14 July 2022 15:37

A vendor sells chillies at a food market in Port Louis June 26, 2008. Ways to improve the continent's food output and deal with soaring world commodity prices will be discussed at the African Development Bank conference in Tunis on Thursday. REUTERS/Ed Harris (MAURITIUS)

Like many island nations, Mauritius imports more than it exports. With the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine disrupting the supply side, the country is juggling the impacts of soaring inflation and an abrupt depreciation of its currency, which are squeezing household budgets and the economy.

Due to the country’s limited size – covering only 2,040km2 – and lack of large-scale economies, Mauritius imports many of its essential food requirements. Indeed, its overall self-sufficiency ratio is less than 30%.

According to Statistics Mauritius, total imports in all sectors amounted to Rs215bn ($5bn) in 2021, representing an increase of 29.8% on 2020’s levels. The trade deficit was Rs133bn in 2021, around 39.4% higher than in 2020. The deficit is forecast to reach a record Rs160bn for 2022.