The World Bank issued last week the Mauritius Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) aimed at analysing the country’s most critical constraints and opportunities in accelerating progress towards the goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.
The SCD identifies a number of important social and economic challenges facing the country and proposes a prioritisation based on relevance, impact and timeline needed to help Mauritius successfully pursue its development ambition of reaching high-income status in the next five years.
According to the key findings of the SCD, Mauritius needs, in the short term, to accelerate economic growth and employment by unlocking sector-specific constraints to boost domestic investments and employment generation; improving trade facilitation to increase potential for export of services, such as ICT and tourism, and to absorb job losses in traditional sectors; and improving the quality and quantity of the skilled workforce.
In the medium to long term, it further suggests that the country could work on building a more competitive economy centered on higher valued-added sectors, through innovation policies and labour market institutions; improving governance in utility companies by establishing sustainable tariffs, and increasing investments to sustain quality of services; and investing in the quality of education in general.
In a statement, the World Bank Country Director for Mauritius, Mr Mark Lundell, expressed satisfaction with regards to the findings of the SCD which he qualified as an important milestone for Mauritius. These findings, he said, will eventually serve for the preparation of the institution’s upcoming operational plan for the next six years, called the Country Partnership Framework.
For his part, the World Bank Senior Economist and lead author of the SCD, Mr Rafael Munoz, underlined that Mauritius is at a crucial juncture in its economic trajectory while adding that the country needs a new growth model that is knowledge-intensive and supported by strengthened skills. The right inputs for this transformation, he added, include adequate skills, improved infrastructure, and increased investment and know-how. These need to be combined with a conducive environment that provides adequate incentives in terms of labour market institutions, innovation policies, sustainable infrastructure, and public services, he concluded.