Key Facts about Mauritius

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More than 3,000 people are stranded in Mauritius waters after the Indian Ocean Island nation stopped a ship belonging to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings from docking at its ports due to what it said was a health risk.

About Mauritius

  • It is an island country in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa.
  • Land:
    • It lies about 500 miles (800 km) east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
    • Its outlying territories are Rodrigues Island, situated about 340 miles (550 km) eastward, the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 250 miles (400 km) northeastward, and the Agalega Islands, 580 miles (930 km) northward from the main island. 
    • Mauritius also claims sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago (including Diego Garcia), some 1,250 miles (2,000 km) to the northeast, although this claim is disputed by Britain.
  • Relief:
    • It is volcanic in origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs.
    • The northern part is a plain that rises to a central plateau. The plateau is bordered by small mountains that may have formed the rim of an ancient volcano.
  • Climate: The climate is maritime subtropical, with fairly uniform temperatures throughout the year.
  • Capital: Port Louis
  • Languages: English, French, Mauritian Creole, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Chinese, Marathi.
  • Government:
    • Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968 as a Parliamentary Republic and has remained a stable democracy with regular free elections.
    • The chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. 
  • Mauritius is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
  • Population:
    • Approximately two-thirds of the population is of Indo-Pakistani origin, most of whom are descendants of indentured labourers brought to work in the sugar industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 
    • About one-fourth of the population is Creole (of mixed French and African descent), and there are small numbers of people of Chinese and Franco-Mauritian descent.
  • Religion: About half of the population is Hindu, about one-third is Christian.

Q1) What is the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)?

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is the largest regional economic organization in Africa, with 19 member states and a population of about 390 million. COMESA has a free trade area, with 19 member states, and launched a customs union in 2009.

Source: Mauritius Strands 3,000 as Norwegian Cruise Ship Denied Entry Over Potential 'Health Risk'