Pierre Dinan (Speaker) and Dr Chris Alden (Chair)
Thursday 16 February 2012, 6.30-8pm. Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Mr Pierre Dinan, head of the LSE Mauritius Alumni Group and member of the Monetary Committee of the Bank of Mauritius, gave a detailed presentation on the components of Mauritius' success in bucking the trend of highly variable growth statistics on the African continent since independence. Mr Dinan emphasized the importance of the 'initial conditions' of Mauritius' maritime location, the country's particular experience of French and British colonial settlement and rule; its current ethnic diversity and population density, and agricultural land usage. Particular attention was paid to the external environment in the initial period after independence (preferential trade agreements with Britain and the EU; foreign exchange earnings; the technical and marketing know-how of the Indian and Chinese diaspora, and contribution of foreign specialists ). However, he placed the greater emphasis on internal political culture, structures and sound policy choices : these included strong democratic institutions; a successful demographic transition; currency devaluation and observance of IFI policy prescriptions under structural adjustment programmes. Successive Mauritian government success in stimulating domestic growth and economic diversification through a dual track approach of domestic liberalisation, and an Economic Protection Zone, was set against continuing challenges of labour productivity, the high cost of public sector expenditure, foreign direct investment inflating the property sector, and governance issues. The challenge for the Mauritian economy remains how and where to further this economic diversification through international trade. The debate ranges from ICT, the financial services sector, boosting tertiary education; the hospitality and property industry; seafood and fish farming; agricultural staple food production; development of the land economy in neighbouring Mozambique; land fill and the energy sector. The global financial crisis has been addressed by a stimulus package, but there are growing concerns of how long this is sustainable in the current climate.
To listen to the event podcast click here.
The lecture slides can be found here.
Pierre Dinan is an economic consultant and external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Mauritius
Dr Chris Alden is co-head of the LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building. London School of Economics. Map.