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Key findings
  • Mauritians are more likely to see their country as going in the wrong direction (50%) than in the right direction (44%).
  • Economic issues and crime/security are the most important problems that Mauritians want their government to address.
  • Mauritians are divided in their assessments of the country’s economic condition, 43% good vs. 38% bad, a slight improvement from perceptions in 2014.
  • A majority (56%) of citizens describe their personal living conditions as “fairly good” or “very good,” while 23% say they are fairly/very bad. Views on the country’s and their personal economic conditions are somewhat more positive among rural residents and among the best- and least-educated.
  • A majority of Mauritians expect the country’s economy to get better (23%) or at least hold steady (35%) over the coming year, but one in three (35%) think things will get “worse” or “much worse.”

In a stable political environment since independence in 1968, Mauritius transformed itself from a low-income country dependent on sugar into an upper-middle-income country with growing wealth creation from financial services, tourism, and other service sectors (World Bank, 2017). But consistently strong economic growth in the 1990s and 2000s has slowed in recent years, reflected in a drop in gross domestic product growth from almost 8% in 2000 to 3.8% in 2016, fueling intense debate about whether Mauritius is caught in the “middle-income trap” (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015; Financial Times, 2016).

Results of the latest Afrobarometer survey show a very mixed public outlook on life in Mauritius. Although more citizens than in 2014 describe their living conditions and their country’s economy as good, substantial proportions see the country as “going in the wrong direction” and economic conditions as bad and likely to get worse.

While economic issues dominate the list of Mauritians’ foremost concerns, they also see crime as a priority problem. Survey findings suggest that citizens feel somewhat less safe in their homes and neighbourhoods than they did in 2014, but that experience of crime remains low.

L. Amédée Darga

L. Amédée Darga is the Afrobarometer national investigator in Mauritius.