For several decades, Mauritius has demonstrated stable growth rates, which allowed the country to move from monocultural agriculture to an economy with a high degree of diversification.
The industrial, financial and tourism sectors are actively developing on the island. Despite the fact that after the 2008 crisis, the growth rate decreased slightly, reforms in the above-mentioned industries allowed Mauritius to become one of the African countries with the highest indicators of income and GDP in PPP per capita.
Thus, in 2019, according to the World Bank classification, Mauritius became one of two countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region whose income level was assessed as high (the Seychelles occupies the first place). However, in 2020, Mauritius lost this status due to the extremely severe consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the country's economy. Nevertheless, it is expected that Mauritius will once again become one of the high-income countries, provided that the pace of development remains stable and transformations in the field of social equality and poverty reduction continue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant damage to the country's economy. Despite the fact that the Government managed to cope with the main challenges in the health sector, as evidenced by the relatively low number of infections and an active vaccination campaign, the real GDP index decreased by 14.6%, which marked the first large-scale recession in Mauritius since 1980. Such a significant reduction in the economy was the result of the introduction of restrictions on tourism around the world, the income from which is one of the main components of the country's GDP. In 2021 moderate growth resumed at the level of 3.5%, the main driver of which was the recovery of the industrial sector, while restrictions in the tourism sector persisted until the full opening of the border in October 2021, which subsequently allowed Mauritius to demonstrate high economic growth rates in 2022 at the level of 8.3% due to the effect of a low base in the service sector.
Real GDP growth is expected to be moderate in the medium term. In particular, according to the IMF forecast, the economy will grow by 4.6% in 2023, while the African Development Bank (AfDB) predicts a higher figure of 5.0%. The tourism sector will remain the main driver, but growth rates may be affected by a number of significant risks, including a global economic slowdown, especially in European countries, which are the main trading partners of Mauritius, as well as growing inflationary pressures. In this regard, the forecast of Oxford Economics is significantly lower than the expectations of the IMF and AfDB — 3.2% in 2023, followed by a slowdown to 2.9% in 2024.
GDP by PPP per capita of Mauritius in 2022 amounted to 26.9 thousand US dollars, and by 2028, according to IMF forecasts, it will reach 38.2 thousand US dollars, demonstrating an average annual growth rate of 5.6% in 2023-2028.
Inflationary pressures increased significantly in 2022 due to rising food and energy prices. According to the IMF, inflation was 10.8%, which is the highest rate in the country since 1991. As a result, the Central Bank of Mauritius tightened monetary policy, raising the interest rate level by 265 bps to 4.5%. According to forecasts, in 2023, inflationary pressure will decrease and amount, according to the IMF, to 9.5%, while Oxford Economics expects a faster rate of inflation reduction to 7.1%, and AfDB — to 7.0%.
In the medium term, inflationary pressure is expected to further decrease towards the target of 3.0%, which will allow the Central Bank of Mauritius to begin implementing a more lenient monetary policy as early as 2024.