Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean off the south-east coast of Africa – approximately 230 kilometres from Reunion Island and 860 kilometres from Madagascar – and has a surface area of 1,872 square kilometres.
Independent since 1968 and a Republic since 1992, Mauritius is known as a democratic state based on the Westminster model, which guarantees the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.
The island enjoys political stability. While the President is the Head of State, the Prime Minister has full executive powers and is the Head of Government.
The capital of Mauritius is Port Louis. The Mauritian population forms a mosaic of different races, cultures and religions. Mauritians are generally bilingual, being fluent in both French and English. English is the official language, but Creole and French remain the most commonly spoken languages. Various Oriental languages are also spoken.
Mauritius has a pleasantly tropical climate. Cyclones may occur between November and May.
On the eve of independence in 1968, Mauritius was essentially a mono-crop economy, based on sugar production. In the early 1970s, the island set out to diversify its economy by encouraging the establishment of export-oriented companies within its Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and the development of the tourism industry.
The offshore and freeport sectors also developed and new areas of growth are Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), seafood processing, duty-free shopping and Integrated Resorts Schemes that enable foreigners to acquire property in Mauritius.
The average growth rate, over the past five years, has been around 5%.