Emerging Economic Sectors in Mauritius

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EMERGING ECONOMIC SECTORS IN MAURITIUS
INTRODUCTION1

LAND USE2

RENEWABLE ENERGY5

BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING (BPO)8

MARINE RESOURCES15

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY18

BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOMEDICAL19

CONCLUSION23

INTRODUCTION

In the recent years the Mauritian economy has seen a lot of diversification with the emergence of several new sectors to add to the traditional sectors that are Sugarcane Industry, Manufacturing and Tourism. The land that was covered with sugarcane is being converted to diverse uses. We are now exploring possibilities of producing energy locally with renewable sources as far as possible. Ebene was formally just a sugarcane field is seeing the emergence of new town where many foreign businesses have outsourced some of their operations, giving rise to very important BPO sector. Developments are coming that extract the full potential of our marine resources with the introduction of land based oceanic industry and other projects to make best use of our marine resources. Also diverse enterprises have emerged in the entertainment field. Mauritius is positioning itself as a medical hub with the arrival of medical institutions like the Apollo Hospital and other institution in the biotechnology and biomedical field. Theses few emerging sectors are detailed below.

LAND USE

Three quarter of the Blue planet is covered with water and the 6 billion people around the world live on the remaining land surface, which is approximately 140 million km².

For several decades, owing to the rising world population, our land resources are constantly under pressure to supply the increasing demand for the basic needs.

Our land resources are fragile and non-renewable. They include soil for agriculture; land cover for the environment and landscapes which are important for human habitat and wellbeing.

Since 1945, an estimated 1.2 billion hectares of land worldwide have been moderately or strongly degraded as a result of human activity, implying that its productivity has been significantly reduced. Human activities can produce a diverse range of both harmful and beneficial impacts on the quality of land. Agriculture is one example; whilst it can lead to soil erosion, salination of soils through irrigation, and nutrient depletion, on the other hand it may also act as a sink for greenhouse gases, and prevent flooding and landslides if good management practices are applied. The effects on the environment of land use are usually complex especially in a country like Mauritius where agricultural practices are confined to mono culture dominance: e.g. sugar cane.

Mauritius is a densely populated small island developing state with a limited high quality area of land (out of total area of 185,000 ha) suitable for effective development. This natural resource is therefore, under high pressure due to increasing demand for development by the various sectors of the economy. Mauritius is one of the most densely populated, agricultural islands in the world having 16% built-up space and growing at a rate of 1000 ha of residential space every year.

The island of Mauritius covers some 186 500 ha of land of which 43% or 84 000 ha is estimated to be under agriculture. Of this proportion, some 77 000 ha or 39% of total land mass is under sugar cane. Other significant land uses include forest and shrubs (estimated at 57 000 ha or 30%) and built development including roads and utilities (about 43 000 ha or 26%) (Source: National Development strategy, 2003) Management of land resources in Mauritius is presently at the cross-roads. Focus on the following policies; have been emphasized in the future land management strategies:

• Judicious use of land by avoiding incompatible land uses. • Awareness on self-regulating measures by different land demanding authorities • Well planned strategy on tourism development in light of limited eco-tourist landscape and...
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