16 April 2019

Mauritius: Why Holiday Island Mauritius Is Out-Investing SA, and What We Need to Do About It

opinion

Mauritius is small, isolated, but when it comes to a David versus Goliath sling-match, this island-nation with 1.4-million people is seriously kicking SA's butt. How should SA rectify the balance?

Let's start with the obvious. Mauritius is NOT South Africa. It doesn't have the vast emptiness of the Karoo, the towering mountains of the Drakensberg or the heart-aching beauty of the Western Cape. It also doesn't have in the earth beneath the ground the largest unmined trove of metals, minerals and other precious stuff in the whole wide world.

Mauritius is small, very small. And very isolated, or that's how it sometimes feels, but when it comes to a David versus Goliath sling-match, this island-nation with 1.4-million people is seriously kicking our butt. Big time.

Over the last 20 to 30 years, as a result of very deliberate and focused long-term economic strategies, this piece of volcanic rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean, has transformed itself from a sugar-producing former British/French/Dutch-colony to a mini-Singapore through expansion into tourism, construction, trade and financial services, leaving its large neighbour to the south well and truly behind in all the metrics that matter.

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