Mauritius - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Infrastructure in Mauritius is well-developed. Roads are maintained in very good condition, with 1,834 kilometers (1,139 miles) out of a total of 1,910 kilometers (1,186 miles) of roads being paved. As of the year 2000, the road system is sufficient to hold the country's traffic volume. Less than one-tenth of the population own cars. Meanwhile, several road projects have been planned such as the extension of the roadway from Nouvelle France to Plaine Magnien, the implementation of the South Eastern Highway Project, and the construction of bypasses in areas such as Flacqs, Goodlands, and Triolet. There are no railways in Mauritius. Public transport by bus is reliable and efficient, however.

The harbor of Port Louis was provided with extra capacity in the late 1990s and has been repositioned to handle high traffic and goods volume. The country operates an efficient freeport, which handles about R9 billion worth of trade per year. In volume terms, this is estimated at around 13,000 tons. Mauritius aims to become a major transshipment center, given its location between Africa, Asia, and Australia.

There are currently 5 airports, with 2 of them having paved runways. The main airlines flying to and from Mauritius are Air Mauritius (the national carrier), British Airways, Air France, and South African Airways.

The country has a modernized telecommunications infrastructure. This will be further upgraded with the forging of a partnership with French Telecom. The latter took up a 40 percent (R6.6 billion) shareholding in the local Mauritius Telecoms in the year 2000. This public-private partnership is the first step towards a full liberalization of the industry, in accordance with standards set out by the WTO reform plan of the sector by 2004.

Internet access is reasonably widespread. At present the country has only 6 Internet providers, and over 534 Internet hosts. Countrywide, Internet use is available to about 40,000 people.

Mauritius is a net importer of oil and petroleum. These imports are in refined form and come through the State Trading Corporation. Despite its lack of natural resources, Mauritius is adequately provided for in terms of electricity. About 25 percent of its electricity is derived

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Mauritius 75 368 226 N/A 53 24.5 87.1 4.56 55
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
South Africa 32 317 125 N/A 56 3.5 47.4 33.36 1,820
Zimbabwe 19 93 30 N/A 4 N/A 9.0 1.19 20
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

from hydro-electricity schemes, and the rest from a combination of diesel-powered thermal stations and burning bagasse (sugarcane residue). For its energy, the country is dependent on supplies afforded by the government parastatal called the Central Electricity Board. Electricity production in the late 1990s stood at 34 million kilowatt-hours.

The government is currently looking for substitutive methods of generating energy using woody bio-mass, ethanol from sugarcane, and solar, wind, and sea wave power. Elsewhere efforts are in progress in the development of a renewable fuel plant near Port Louis. Commercial energy is derived from electricity (10.5 percent), coal (5.4 percent) and oil-derived products (84.1 percent).

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