Over the last two decades, the economy has undergone a major structural change with the successful development of export manufacturing. The main
objectives of the industrial policy have revolved around employment creation and the generation of foreign exchange. More emphasis is being laid on the qualitative rather than the quantitative aspect of job
creation. In this context, the thrust is on up-market products and the promotion of vertically integrated industries.
THE EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE (EPZ)
After independence of the country, it was decided to add a new dimension to the industrial structure by introducing and manufacturing for export. The
skill and capacity of Mauritian workers were called upon to respond to the challenge of producing for export.
The Export Processing Zone system was introduced. It was a Mauritian concept offering to export industries a very liberal system of bonded factories,
tailor-made to the conditions in Mauritius.
The EPZ proved to be a turning point in the economic history of the country and has attracted investors from Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Hong
Kong, Singapore, India, Taiwan, Pakistan, and other countries.
This success story can be largely attributed to the unique blend of advantages Mauritius offers to industrialists: duty free and quota free access to the
European market, a large pool of young people, well-educated, bilingual in English and French, with often a third language and easily adaptable to new and modern techniques of production, a well-developed
infrastructure, including a modern road network an excellent communication with the outside world.
The importance of the EPZ sector in the national economy is greatly reflected in its job creation capacity. At present, around 90,000 people are employed
in the sector, of whom two-thirds are women. Mauritian industry produces a variety of goods. It assembles watches, T.c sets and refrigerators, cuts and polishes diamonds, produces teddy bears, carnival masks,
spectacle frames, plastic products, leather goods, ship models, hand-made reproduction furniture, electronic components... etc. The biggest firms are engaged in the manufacture of textile products and particularly
woolen knitwear for which Mauritius ranks third among world exporters.
The industrial strategy is based on a policy of diversification which aims at encouraging investment in non-textile sectors with emphasis on up-market
products and those involving more sophisticated technology sectors of particular interest are leather, printing, jewellery, "haute couture", plastics, electronics, precision-engineering, toys,
export-oriented Informatics services. The textile sector which forms the backbone of the EPZ is being consolidated and vertical integration encouraged.
Efforts to diversify market outlets are being intensified and participation in trade fairs is more selective in orders to increase export
possibilities.The government is also giving particular attention to small-scale industries.