Mauritius pursues a liberal economic policy with regard to international trade, investment and tourism

Mauritius pursues a liberal economic policy with regard to international trade, investment and tourism

Mauritius (officially the Republic of Mauritius), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000km off the south east coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, the islands of Agalega and the archipelago Saint Brandon.

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago situated 1,287km to the north east; the UK excised the archipelago from Mauritian territory prior to Mauritius's independence and gradually depopulated it. The islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion all form part of the Mascarene Islands.

The country, with a population of around 1.3m, pursues a liberal economic policy with regard to international trade, investment and tourism. Strategically located along the trading route between Asia and Africa, Mauritius has emerged as a major source of products and services. Today, the island economy exports over 1,500 product lines to some 150 countries.

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy. The economy is based on tourism, textiles and clothing, sugar, and financial services. Its GDP estimate was at $20.20bn in 2012, one of the highest in Africa.

The country's clothing industry has come a long way from being a producer of basic products to a vertically integrated supplier of design-led garments. Its major products are T-shirts, lingerie, loungewear, shirts, sportswear, trousers, denim, suits and pullovers.

Today, Mauritius exports to the major markets of the world, namely Europe, the US and South Africa.

Total number of textile and apparel companies: 250 located in Mauritius

Employment within the textile and apparel industry: 44,000 jobs 

Main apparel products: T-shirts accounted for around MUR2.33bn of exports in 2012, followed by shirts with an export value of MUR6.43bn. Trousers had an export value of MUR4.76bn and pullovers & cardigans MUR2.33bn.

Production strengths:

  • Capability to supply a wide range of textile products at varying price points, with a focus on quality
  • Investment in modern technology upgrades
  • Liberal economic policy with regards to international trade and investment
  • Flexible deliveries with regards to minimum quantity and delivery schedules

Preferential market access, duty free and quota free to:

  • EU under the EU - ESA Economic Partnership Agreement;
  • US, under the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA);
  • Africa, under the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA);
  • Turkey, under the Bilateral Free Trade Agreement;
  • Pakistan, under the Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement;
  • Most of other developing countries under the provision of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

Top export markets:

  • Traditionally, the main export markets for apparel have been Europe and the US but, in the last few years, exports to the South African market have been increasing. 
  • Europe accounts for around 48%: UK (GBP108.8m) and France (GBP62.5m)
  • US: 18% (GBP107.5m)
  • South Africa: 24% (GBP107.2m)
  • Others: 11% 

Performance of textile sector: Export of fabrics, mainly cotton and denim has taken a larger dimension over the last two years. Exports have increased 17.52% from MUR2.97bn in 2012 to MUR3.49bn in 2013.

Apparel exports:

  • 2009: MUR19.7m
  • 2010: MUR20.1m
  • 2011: MUR21.7m
  • 2012: MUR20.8m
  • 2013: MUR20.1m

Number and location of textile factories: There are around 250 textile and apparel manufacturers producing for export. The production facilities are mainly located in Coromandel, Phoenix and recently Pointe aux Sables. 

Average labour costs: US$120 - $400 per year

Export turnover: MUR27bn (US$895.5m) annually

Contribution to total exports: 55%

Contribution to the country's GDP: 5%