Mauritius Square

Mauritius Square

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Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, located 2,400 kilometers (1,491 miles) off the southeast coast of Africa. It has a total area of 1,860 square kilometers (781 square miles), and a coastline of 177 kilometers (110 miles). The Republic of Mauritius also includes the barely populated Agalega Islands and the Cargados Carajos Shoals, as well as Rodrigues (population 35,000). The capital, Port Louis, is situated on the west coast of the island, and has a population of approximately 136,000.


The population of Mauritius was estimated to be 1,179,368 in July 2000, with a population growth rate at 0.89 percent. The population is relatively young, with 26 percent of the population under 14 years of age, 68 percent between 15 and 64, and just 6 percent over the age of 65. The life expectancy for the population is 70.98.

Mauritian society is a heterogeneous one. The 2 main population groups are the ethnic Indians, who make up 68 percent of the population, and the Creoles, mixed race descendants of African slaves and colonial settlers, who comprise 27 percent. Other groups include Chinese (3 percent) and white Franco-Mauritians (2 percent). The ethnic Indians are further divided into Hindus and Muslims, with the Hindus being the majority. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the island tend to view themselves as Mauritians first and foremost.

Given that Mauritius has such a small land surface, population growth and immigration are discouraged by the government. Population density is already very high, with 571 people per square kilometer (1,479 per square mile), compared with an average of 45 per square kilometer (117 per square mile) for the world as a whole.

Worst possible spot to sink a bulk carrier

17 Aug: view of the massive front section of the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company . [+] but Panamanian-flagged that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park, is seen after breaking into two parts.

L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images

It reveals that of all the locations that the Wakashio could have been sunk in, the salvage team could not have picked a worse spot.

The sinking location will now present a double-whammy for both Mauritius and the French-territory of Reunion Island for decades to come.

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As Reunion island is a French territory, it is also part of the European Union and subject to European Union law, including pollution laws. The Dutch-owned salvage team could have picked any spot in the ocean that would not have impacted Reunion Island, but instead chose this one. It is slap bang in the middle of the main currents that take debris straight onto Reunion Island. There has been no accountability for their actions to date.

With questions still raging about the extreme toxicity of the contents of the Wakashio, and over 50 whales and dolphins discovered dead within hours of the scuttling of the vessel on August 24, there is an ever growing list of human health and environmental concerns by local fishing communities in Mauritius that remain unanswered.

Organizer of the 100,000 person environmental protest marches, Bruneau Laurette (C) was arrested by . [+] police on 22 Sep 2020 on charges later found to be false.

This comes as the Government of Mauritius has started to arrest environmental activists and leading journalists in the country amid extensive reporting of cyber interference from those who have expressed dissent against the Government. There has been growing tensions on the Indian Ocean island in the aftermath of the massive oil spill, widespread concerns, and numerous legal cases that have challenged the legitimacy of the disputed 2019 General Elections, and whose results were rejected by all major opposition parties for the first time in Mauritius’ history.

Windward’s satellite analysis of the sinking location, combined with advanced pollution drift analysis, now raises questions about whether the European Union should be launching their own investigation to understand the risks that could be caused by the Wakashio to the EU’s territory - Reunion Island - which is subject to EU law.

Where to go in Mauritius

Mauritius may be small but it takes time to travel across the island – worth bearing in mind when choosing where to stay. Each region has its own vibe, landscape and local weather, and a particular set of activities and attractions. Yet even in the most touristed areas of the country, an off-the-beaten-track gem usually lies nearby.

If you’re looking for buzz, nightlife and plenty of excursions, the tourism hub Grand Baie, or little “St Trop”, in the north is likely to be just the ticket. It has the greatest concentration of hotels, beaches, restaurants and entertainment, and activities ranging from diving to parasailing. For a change of pace, look to nearby, quieter Cap Malheureux, the uninhabited northern islands, or head inland for a stroll through the lovely Pamplemousses Gardens.

The island’s bustling capital, Port Louis, is arguably the “real” Mauritius, with historic buildings and the island’s oldest market squeezed in alongside modern shopping complexes and offices. There are just two hotels here, so few visitors stay overnight, but the slew of restaurants and street-food vendors at lunchtime make it an attractive day-trip.

The east coast is traditionally the island’s most glamorous, with arguably the best white-sand beaches near the villages of Belle Mare and Trou d’Eau Douce. To the south, Lion Mountain overlooks historic Vieux Grand Port, where the French and British once battled for control of the island. Today this coast is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts, while outdoor and eco-adventures can be found inland in the Bambous Mountains or along Grande Rivière Sud Est (GRSE).

By contrast, the rustic south gives a taste of times gone by. From the ancient Dutch capital of Mahébourg to the sleepy fishing village of Baie du Cap, this stretch of coastline is Mauritius’s least developed, with a scattering of hip hotels, unusual rock formations and island-hopping trips that compensate for the lack of good swimming beaches. This is also one of the best places to see Mauritian wildlife, either on a snorkeling trip in the pristine Blue Bay Marine Park or on Île aux Aigrettes, where you can encounter giant Aldabra tortoises and the pink pigeon.

Young families tend to enjoy the calm, shallow beaches of the west coast, particularly around Flic en Flac and Wolmar, where there are plenty of activities and sights nearby. This part of the country has a large Creole community, and as you head south you’ll feel a noted Creole presence around Rivière Noire and Le Morne village. On the island’s southwestern tip, the exclusive Le Morne Peninsula is known for its luxurious hotels and perfect kitesurfing conditions – a contrast to the iconic Le Morne Brabant mountain, one of the island’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a poignant reminder of its slave history.

Central Mauritius has a different flavour again. The towns sprawling across the central plateau have little appeal beyond their shops, but explore further and you’ll find hiking opportunities in the lofty Moka Mountains and canyoning at Tamarin Falls. To the southwest is the island’s unmissable nature reserve, Black River Gorges National Park, where hiking trails introduce you to a range of endemic flora and fauna.

Those looking to get away from it all need to head to beautiful Rodrigues, Mauritius’s tiny sister island. Under 20km long and with just one real town, its laidback atmosphere and Creole-style hospitality make for a relaxing break. The island is an off-the-beaten-track paradise for trekkers and the diving is superb, too, with three dive centres offering packages for everyone from beginners to pros.

Mauritius makes play for future with US base on Diego Garcia

COLOMBO -- When Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth joined other government leaders to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, his message touched on the diplomatic storm brewing over Diego Garcia. The island hosts a secretive U.S. military base in a stretch of the Indian Ocean that lies within the archipelagic country's waters but is administered by Britain.

Mauritius, Jugnauth said this month, was prepared to renew an offer it had made to President Donald Trump's administration: a long-term lease of Diego Garcia for its continued use "as a military base by American authorities."

The proposal was a reminder to Washington that Mauritius is sticking to its diplomatic blueprint to reclaim Diego Garcia. The 30-square-kilometer island with a complicated colonial history is the largest in the Chagos Archipelago and provides a significant toehold for the U.S. to base aircraft and warships that have been deployed for maneuvers across the Indian Ocean.

In 2019, the International Court of Justice, the U.N.'s highest court, affirmed in an advisory that the Chagos Archipelago is part of Mauritian territory. The same year, the U.N. General Assembly echoed the court's view in a sweeping vote.

The strategic significance of Diego Garcia to the U.S. has not been lost on Mauritius, which spans over 2,000 square kilometers in the heart of the Indian Ocean. "We are aware of the importance that the U.S. attaches to the base in Diego Garcia," Jagdish Koonjul, the Mauritian ambassador to the U.N., told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview. "We do appreciate the fact that the base has been used essentially to protect the oil routes and to ensure security in the Indo-Pacific region."

The Mauritian offer of a 99-year-lease to the U.S. has bipartisan political consensus in the country of over 1.2 million people. "It is supported not only at the government level but by all political parties in Mauritius," said Koonjul. "There is a national consensus that we are not going to force the Americans to leave the Chagos Archipelago or the island of Diego Garcia, where they have got the base."

Jagdish Koonjul, the Mauritian ambassador to the United Nations.

Seasoned geopolitical analysts are following the diplomatic moves over Diego Garcia, given the shifting tides of U.S. strategic planning focused on the Indo-Pacific region under Washington's Free and Open Indo-Pacific plan. Along with the so-called Quad -- a U.S., India, Japan and Australia security grouping -- it is aimed at countering China's expanding influence across the Indian Ocean.

The Diego Garcia base, which is cut off from media scrutiny, is one of the 800 military facilities the U.S. maintains beyond its borders, the most of any country. It was from this base -- dubbed an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" -- that U.S. military planes flew on bombing raids during the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq.

The Diego Garcia dispute is rooted in twin legacies of colonization and the Cold War and one that dating back to the 1960s connects Mauritius with Britain. The U.S. government has reportedly taken advantage of that relationship to avoid dealing directly with the government in Port Louis, the Mauritian capital.

Line handlers from U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia's Port Operations Department heave line while mooring the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia to a pier on Sept. 25. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

As Britain was winding down its colonial era during that decade, it decided to grant independence to Mauritius, which it had ruled since the early 19th century. But at the final hour, London split off the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius to form a special geographic entity, the British Indian Ocean Territory, before expelling islanders, known as Chagossians, living in the Chagos Archipelago.

In 1966, at the height of the Cold War, the British handed over Diego Garcia on a 50-year lease to the U.S. for a military base. The agreement was further extended unilaterally by London in 2016 for American use until 2036.

Mauritius finally turned to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to resolve the long simmering sovereignty dispute. In February last year, the court delivered an advisory bolstering Mauritius' argument that its decolonization process from Britain was incomplete because of London's continued claims over the Chagos Archipelago. Three months later, the U.N. General Assembly echoed the court's view through a 116-6 vote favoring Mauritius. That 2019 U.N. resolution said that Britain should have handed over the Chagos islands to Mauritius by November of that year.

"What the court found was that the U.K. had illegally occupied the Chagos Archipelago. and it had to withdraw its administration from the Chagos Archipelago," said Koonjul, reflecting on the year that has lapsed since the U.N. resolution for Britain to give up its hold on the Chagos islands. "Some countries, including the U.K., and to a lesser extent the U.S., feel this is an advisory opinion, and therefore it is not binding."

Mauritius flatly dismisses that interpretation. The offer of the Diego Garcia base to the U.S. under the 99-year lease is its strategy to assert ownership and deal directly with Washington rather than London. "Our offer is better than what the British have offered," asserted Koonjul. "Come 2036, it would be illegal and unlawful for the U.K. to continue giving that lease to the Americans."

London has said control over the BIOT is not in doubt as it "has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814," according to a statement issued last November by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, minister of state for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. "Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the U.K. does not recognize its claim."

Still, Mauritius is determined to keep the issue on the U.N. agenda in a bid to further isolate the U.K. and spotlight Washington's position regarding contested territory in the South China Sea -- where it is challenging China's claims and beefed up military presence by pushing to uphold rules-based freedom of navigation for international ships.

"If they want to exercise soft-power in the South China Sea, then they have to correct this contradiction," said Koonjul. "I presume that under the Biden government rule of law will have a different meaning than the one the U.S. has now."

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Demographics Of Mauritius

As of December 2016, the Republic of Mauritius had a population of about 1.2 million people. The population is ethnically diverse, and consists of people of Indians, Chinese, African, and European ancestry, among others. The 2011 census placed Hinduism as the most widespread religion with 51.9% of the population conforming. Christianity comes in second at 31.4%. About 15.3% of the population is Muslim, while Buddhist and non-religious citizens accounted for 0.4% and 0.7% respectively. Education in Mauritius is free which resulted in an adult literacy of 89.8% by 2011. In 2014, life expectancy in Mauritius stood at 75.17 years.

Opposition determined

Mauritian opposition members say they will continue to protest the government’s “lack of transparency” over the project, and the fact that the Mauritian government has exempted the project from any Environmental license process (EIA clearances).

Worries for India also come from the fact that it was just such protests, that began on a very small level in the Seychelles, that led to their plans for a coast guard facility on the Assumption Islands being shelved, after President Danny Faure saying he lacked the parliamentary strength to ratify it. The setback, according to speculation, may have been chalked up to China’s heavy investment in the Seychelles, which allowed it to lean on the Seychellois government.

A similar situation was believed to have led to former Maldivian President Yameen’s decision to cancel the loan of two Indian military helicopters and the visas of about 28 naval personnel, although after his defeat in elections, the decision may have been stayed.

“India needs to project itself as a credible and long term partner in a more persuasive manner, than what has been the experience in recent years,” Commodore (Retd) Uday Bhaskar of the Society for Policy Studies told The Hindu. “Islands in the Indian Ocean Region have acquired distinctive strategic relevance and India will have to step up its appeal and comfort index, more so since it is pitted against China’s deep pockets.”

The Agalega islands, with land of only about 25 square kilometres is now in the crosshairs of similar concerns, although most officials aware of developments believe India’s “softer” methods will ensure the success of the project. With two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, a third of world’s bulk cargo and about half of all container traffic traversing through the Indian Ocean waters that surround nations like Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Maldives at stake, it is easy to see that India’s claims of primacy in the Indian Ocean Region will face more such challenges.

1. Sri Lanka

A typical beach in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a sovereign state in the Indian Ocean. The country is part of the region of South Asia. The island nation shares its maritime boundaries with Maldives and India. The former lies to the country’s southwest and the latter to the northwest of the country. Sri Lanka has been inhabited for about 125,000 years. The geographical position of Sri Lanka and the country’s deep harbors have always attracted explorers and world powers with political and economic ambitions to Sri Lanka since the time of the Silk Road trade route until the Second World War. The Sinhalese are the major ethnic group of Sri Lanka. Tamils, Malays, Kaffirs, Burghers are some of the minority ethnic groups in the country. Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in South Asia in terms of the ranking on the Human Development Index.

Moving to Mauritius

Situated over 3.200 kilometers from the African coast, in the Indian Ocean, the island of Mauritius is an attractive choice for expats looking for a career move to this region. Mauritius has a population of 1.3 million people and covers an area of 2,040 square kilometers. It is a democratic republic, with the president as head of state and an elected government led by the prime minister.

Mauritius has tremendous cultural diversity, largely due to its complex history. In the 16th century, it become a port of call for the Portuguese, and was later colonized by the Dutch, the French, and finally the British. The country became independent on 12th March 1968.

During the 19th century, people came from countries such as India, Africa, Madagascar and China to work in Mauritius, so it is to be expected that a wide range of religious festivals should be celebrated in the country today, including the Chinese New Year, the Cavadee Festival, Diwali, and Christmas.

The official language in Mauritius is English and you can expect all contracts and formal documents to be in the English language. However, the languages that are more widely spoken by locals are French and Mauritian Creole, with the latter consisting of a blend of French and English together with words from African and Indian languages. The majority of local newspapers are published in French and TV programs are primarily French. If you don’t already speak French you could choose to register with one of the many language schools in Mauritius offering French courses for adults, or if you prefer to learn at home, seek a recommendation for a private tutor.

Mauritius also has several dependencies the island of Rodrigues to the east, Agalega’s two islands lying north of Mauritius, and due east of the mainland the archipelago of St Brandon. The Islets of Mauritius around the coast of the mainland are a series of 49 tiny uninhabited islands, some of which are now employed as specialist nature reserves.

The Climate in Mauritius

Located close to the tropic of Capricorn, Mauritius enjoys a warm climate all year round. Winter daytime temperatures (between May and October) usually range from 20-26°C, while in the summer (November to April) the temperatures may rise to 32°C. Rainfall varies considerably by region, with the East experiencing significantly more rainfall than the West or North. Rainfall is highest between December and April, reaching on average 125mm per month during this period in the West, and over 253mm per month in the East. September tends to be the driest month, with an average rainfall of approximately 12mm in the West and 70mm in the East. Throughout the year, humidity is over 80%.

Mauritius is prone to storms caused by cyclones, which are more likely to occur between September and May. Expatriates moving to Mauritius should familiarize themselves with local guidelines, which will help them be prepared in the event of a cyclone. Residents are also advised to keep tree branches trimmed to avoid damage to property, and to keep properties well maintained so that they can best withstand any cyclones. There is a warning system in place to communicate any storm forecasts. Residents are also encouraged to keep an emergency kit in their home at all times in order to be prepared for any cyclone activity. While it is rare for the center of the cyclone to pass directly over Mauritius – on average only once every five years –distant cyclones can still affect the island, with between 3-5 cyclonic storms per year. Occasionally, schools may be closed and travel disrupted if storms cause flooding.

Visas for Mauritius

A visa is not necessary for most foreigners to gain entry to Mauritius, although for visitors from a small number of countries this is not the case and a visa must be obtained prior to travel. Foreign nationals wishing to work in Mauritius will require a residence permit and a work permit, though. You should apply to the Passport and Immigration Office for a residence permit, while applications for an occupation permit are processed by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment. Your employer may apply for a work permit on your behalf. An occupation permit is distinct from a work permit and has subcategories for investors, sponsored professionals, and the self-employed.

After three years of residing in Mauritius, foreign nationals may be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit. However, don’t be misguided by the name, as the permit is valid for a fixed period of 10 years, and after that time the holder needs to apply for another permit.

If you plan to stay in Mauritius for a long period, you may wish to invest in property on the island. Until recent years, non-citizens were not allowed to purchase property in Mauritius, but the Board of Investment has introduced changes and has established schemes that can make the acquisition of Mauritian real estate seem particularly attractive to foreign nationals. The Integrated Resort Scheme creates luxury developments with prices in excess of 500,000 USD and the owner and close family are automatically awarded residency status when the purchase is made. Another key benefit is the rate of tax set at 15% for both income and corporation tax. Resorts aim to combine luxury real estate with leisure and retail facilities and in some cases a school within the development.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Driving change within the Exchange space in Africa

SEM's Listing Executive Committee has approved the listing by way of Private Placement of up to MUR 2 Billion Notes to be issued under the MUR 10 Billion Multi-Currency Note Programme of MCB Group Ltd. The first day of trading is scheduled for 30 June 2021.

This is a call for proposal to hire a Programme Manager to coordinate the activities of the SADC Green Bond Programme. The Programme will build on existing momentum that led to issuances of green bonds in South Africa, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius to roll out a regional programme across 16 SADC member countries. The invitation to tender is attached herewith.

The clarifications requested (dated and pdf-attached herewith) are in connection with t he Specific Procurement Notice (SPN), for the supply and installation of SEM’s Automated Trading System with related cost of licensing and maintenance.

This Invitation for Bids follows the General Procurement Notice (GPN) for the supply and installation of SEM’s Automated Trading System with related cost of licensing and maintenance, that appeared in UNDB online P-MU-H00-004 of 30 Nov 2020 on-line as well as on the websites of SEM and ADB.

Launched in 2015, SEMSI provides a robust measure of listed companies on the SEM, against a set of internationally aligned and locally relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. SEMSI's eligibility criteria, based on GRI G4 Guidelines, are aligned with international ESG and sustainability issues, while also taking local imperatives into account.

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