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Mauritius is a small island economy in the Indian Ocean with a population of 1.3 million people and a per capita income of US$ 8,385 in 2011. Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has made impressive economic and social achievements and is outperforming most other countries in the region. With an average growth rate of around 6% over the past three decades, general living standards of the population have improved significantly. The country is well on track to meet all but one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
As a small island, Mauritius faces constraints due to its limited natural resource base as well as isolation from main markets. In order to enable high-value added growth, Mauritius urgently needs to redress its macro-economic fundamentals, the education and training system and the business enabling environment. The response strategy of the European Commission under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), outlined in the Country Strategy Paper for Mauritius (2008-2013) , supports the Government's economic reform programme and seeks to contribute to the sustainable economic development of the country. The Country Strategy Paper has been prepared in close consultation with the World Bank as part of the agenda to facilitate the coordination and harmonisation of donor approaches.
The EC supports the Government’s macroeconomic reform programme through general budget support. The purpose of the reform programme is to move Mauritius to a higher level of growth through restructuring its key economic sectors and improving its export performance and fiscal management while ensuring adequate social accompanying measures. Special attention will be given to the objective of poverty reduction, particularly with a view of ensuring equitable access to social services as well as reducing the unemployment rate. In addition, the EC prioritises projects benefiting the most deprived areas and poorest segments of the population of Mauritius as well as Rodrigues.
The multi-annual indicative programme for Mauritius under the 10th EDF amounts to €75.69 million to address all these priorities, of which more than €63 million is channeled through budget support. In addition Mauritius benefits from an allocation of approximately €280 million from the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol countries (AMSP) in the period 2006-2013.
EC interventions in Mauritius also take account of cross-cutting issues, in particular trade facilitation, sustainable development, energy, gender equality and social issues as well as research and innovation, fighting against piracy and human rights.
Since 2008 the 10th EDF Country Strategy Paper is under implementation. The focus of the EU development cooperation is on supporting the economic and social reform programme of the Government of Mauritius through the general budget support instrument. This assistance is complemented by a support programme to non-state actors, and technical assistance for the implementation of the economic reform programme. Over the past years the priority sectors in which key results have been achieved in the EU-Mauritius cooperation are sugar reform, education, energy, socio-economic empowerment, wastewater and sustainable development, public finance management and fight against piracy.
The Country Strategy Paper for Mauritius (2002-2007) focussed on the environment and more specifically on the treatment and disposal of waste water. 85% of the funds for Mauritius under the 9th EDF were allocated to this sector and delivered via sector budget support.
The EC has been a key player in assisting the Government to implement waste water treatment infrastructure. The Government’s National Sewerage Plan, aimed at connecting 50% of the population by 2012, has mobilised the support of the EC and its other development partners for a projected investment of €320 million. The EC participated with €20.8 million under the 8th EDF for the water treatment plant of St Martin and sewer connections of low-income housing. Its 9th EDF contribution amounted to €28 million in budget support and €1.8 million in backup technical assistance.
For further details on projects and programmes in Mauritius funded from the European Development Fund (EDF) and the general budget of the EU, please visit the project's section of the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Mauritius.
Other sources of information
More information on EU relations with Mauritius is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Mauritius, which is also responsible for co-operation activities in the country.