Mauritius - Economic sectors

The importance of agriculture in the Mauritian economy has been declining over the past 3 decades. Agriculture made up 16 percent of GDP in 1970, declining to 12 percent in 1980, and finally to 9 percent in 1998. This reflects the decreasing dependence of Mauritius on sugar. Furthermore, the share of the labor force in agriculture is much smaller now than it was twenty years ago—29 percent of males and 30 percent of females worked in the sector in 1980, while only 15 percent of males and 13 percent of females did so in 1998. The industry is plagued by excess labor demand. According to reports by the Mauritius Cooperative Agricultural Federation, the reasons are that young unemployed people are not eager to work in the fields, and the population is aging.

Industry comprised 33 percent of GDP in 1998, up from 26 percent in 1980. More significantly, 25 percent of GDP came from manufacturing in 1998, compared

with 15 percent in 1980. Much of this growth can be attributed to the expansion of the Export Processing Zone sector. The percentage of the male labor force working in industry has increased significantly, from 19 percent (1980) to 39 percent (1992-97). The increase has not been so large for females, however—40 percent in 1980 to 43 percent over the period 1992-97. This may in part reflect a diversification away from the textile industry, which tends to employ more females, towards more hightech industries such as information technology.

Services made up 62 percent of GDP in 1980, but declined to 58 percent in 1998. The proportion of men working in the service sector has not changed much—46 percent in 1992-97, down from 47 percent in 1980. More females are now working in the service sector, however— 45 percent in 1992-97, compared with 31 percent in 1980.

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