Impact of Covid-19 on Trade, FDI and Employment in Mauritius

Mauritius - 8 April 2021

Trade topics: Other

Executive Summary

Mauritius had its first three COVID-19 cases on 18 March 2020 and the island was under "sanitary" lockdown for two weeks. From 24 to 31 March, the country went under complete lockdown with only essential services being open. This lockdown was extended until 15 April, then again until 4 May and finally a third time on 1 June, with a gradual reopening of certain economic sectors starting from 15 May. The lockdown was lifted entirely on 15 June. Mauritius had a contamination rate below the WHO forecasts. The WHO predicted more than 20,000 cases and 1,139 deaths in the age group of over 60 years (WHO, 2020). At the end of May 2020, the island had recorded 332 coronavirus confirmed cases, all recovered, and 10 deaths. With less than 3% of the population infected, Mauritius is one of the few jurisdictions in the Indian Ocean which has been able to control the progress of the pandemic. Mauritius has been COVID-19 free with no local cases since 26 April 2020. The island had only one local case in November 2020.
However, at the time of writing, we are presently facing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with 198 additional local cases, totalling 829 cases as at 22 March 2021. Travel restrictions and sanitary measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government came up with major economic and social policies to assist businesses, employees in the private sector as well as informal workers. These strategies aimed to ensure that the island becomes more resilient to the crisis and protect businesses as well as workers. The impact of the pandemic has been felt and will continue to impact the different economic sectors in Mauritius.
This study has been conducted to probe into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade, investment and employment in Mauritius. The study breaks ground as it represents the first comprehensive examination of the impact of the pandemic on three important dimensions on which Mauritius is highly dependent namely, trade, investment and employment. The report is divided into three parts. The first consists of an assessment of the pandemic on employment across a sample of 300 firms operating in different sectors of Mauritius sampled over the period November 2020 to January 2021. The quantitative analysis was also supported by Focus Group Discussions with heads of associations across different economic sectors. The second part of the report probes into the impact of COVID-19 on trade (both exports and imports) in different goods and services while the third part of the report focusses on the FDI situation during the pandemic using both secondary data as well as a survey on 70 investors in different economic activities in Mauritius.

Author(s): V Tandrayen-Ragoobur, J De Melo, B Seetanah, S Fauzel, V Teeroovengadum, & Z Khan Jaffur