4 Things Nigeria Can Learn From Mauritius, Africa’s New High-Income Country

On the 1st of July, 2020, the World Bank classified Mauritius as a High-Income country. Thus, the south-east island country joined the ranks with Seychelles, as the only two high-income African countries. The country’s economy has made great strides since independence in 1968.

Mauritius high-income country

With its increase in Gross Domestic Product driven by construction and services sectors (tourism, banking, ICT). These growth patterns continue an ongoing trend of structural transformation, with more knowledge-intensive modern services sectors expanding. Since the 1980s, the government of Mauritius has sought to diversify the country’s economy beyond its dependence on just agriculture, particularly sugar production. In terms of energy, Mauritius’ endowment with alternative energy resources and good governance makes it one of the potential winners in the global transition to renewable energy and the country is ranked no. 8 among 156 nations in the index of geopolitical gains and losses after energy transition (GeGaLo Index).

According to the Overseas Development Institute, the secrets to Mauritius success as a high-income country is embedded in 4 core principles. These policies which have catalyzed the development process for Mauritius may as well prove to be of great use to Nigeria:

1. Heterodox liberalisation and diversification: 

Mauritius adopted a liberalisation process which was sequenced and tailored to its competitive advantages and weaknesses. With this export-orientated approach, it introduced strong state involvement into its economy as a facilitator (to enable the private sector); as an operator (to encourage competition within both sectors); and as regulator (to protect the economy as well as vulnerable groups and sectors from shocks)

2. Joint nation-building strategy 

Since Independence, Mauritius created the foundations for sustained growth with a joint effort towards nation-building. Ethnic groups in the island country established partnerships which allowed economic redistribution to be negotiated. As a result, there came a better balance of economic and political power, giving birth to strong and independent institutions.

3. Strong and inclusive institutions

Mauritius has invested heavily in development strategies and ensured that export earnings are reinvested in strategic and productive sectors. For example, they built a regulated and well-capitalised banking and financial system that protected the financial sector from toxic assets before the 2008 global financial crisis. Also, by setting up the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 2002, Mauritius ranked 45th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015. Mauritius is one of Africa’s least corrupt countries.

4. High levels of equitable public investment

Mauritius has a strong human capital foundation developed through consistent and equitable investment in human development. This enabled Mauritius to learn from expertise brought in through FDI and maintain competitiveness in a fast-evolving international market. Education and health services are free and have been expanded in recent years. Furthermore, about 90% of entrepreneurs in the export processing zone (EPZ) and the manufacturing sector are Mauritian nationals. This is because the government provided businesspeople with the human capital, education and knowledge needed to exploit market opportunities. 

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