successively a French and a British Colony during the period 1715-1968. Prior to
the French settlers there has been the Dutch, Portuguese, Arabs and Malays who
never wished to colonize or were unsuccessful in colonizing the island. Arabs
and Malays visited Mauritius during the 10th century while the Portuguese landed
in the 16th century. The Dutch set foot on the island in 1638 and the island was
named in honor of Prince Maurice de Nassau. The Dutch settlement lasted only 25
years and the Dutch abandoned the Island in 1710 after 2 unsuccessful attempts
The island was renamed
Ile de France under the French rule, starting in 1715. Under the impetus of the
French Governor Mahé de Labourdonnais boat construction spurred and the merchant
fleet grew to a substantial size.
The island saw a further
improvement in the number of merchant fleet under the British who captured the
island in 1810 and renamed it Mauritius. The island was declared a British
colony four years later by the Treaty of Paris and remained under British rule
until 1968 when the island became independent. In 1992 Mauritius was declared a
Republic and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nation.
Both the French and
British influence are still prevalent in Mauritius today. Besides the English
and French languages which are widely used, the Code Napoleon forms an important
part of our legal system but with strong overlap of English Law modified by
local enactments. This situation has over the years, created a hybrid system of
law derived from both French and English sources. Commercial Law, Company Law,
Criminal procedure and the Law of evidence are almost exclusively English, while
the Code Civil, the Code de Procédure Civile and the Code de Commerce follow
French Laws with some changes brought over time to suit local conditions. We
have also inherited a Westminster type of Government, a Constitution, a Civil
Service and a British type of education system.
Mauritius is no more a sugar producing island only. Due to diversification of
the economy, the island entered into a new phase of its development. There has
been a shift from a-one-crop industry i.e. sugarcane to textiles, tourism,
agriculture, offshore business activities and shortly to an IT development
centre which will become the sixth pillar of the economy.
Mauritius is also very
committed to the achievement of sustainable and equitable development which
represents a challenge especially where half of the countries in the African
continent rank among the least developed and poorest on earth. We are favourable
to the promotion of the region as a single destination for investment, through
well established regional organisations.
Among the other notable
measures initiated by Mauritius are the signature of multilateral and bilateral
trade agreements, Promotion of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreements to promote
trade and investment through the removal of double taxation on the same income,
provision of lower tax rates on certain incomes and last but not least providing
certainty to business regarding their tax liabilities and the introduction of
Regional Development Certificates to promote lucrative development
Development of the country as a seafood
The seafood hub initiative aims at
developing Mauritius into a platform for the storage, processing, and
distribution of fresh, chilled, and frozen raw or processed seafood. There is
significant potential for value added activities, including canning, sashimi,
dressing, loining, sorting, grading, cleaning, packing, filleting and blast
freezing, to name just a few.
The extra services associated with the
seafood hub would be re-inforced to make Mauritius even more attractive as a
calling port for fishing vessels.