This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that Mauritius is pursuing an ambitious strategy to foster inclusive growth and reach the high-income country milestone. Several structural challenges, notably, a shortage of suitably skilled workers, an aging population, and declining productivity and cost competitiveness confront Mauritius in meeting these goals. The discussions focused on preserving fiscal sustainability, regaining external competitiveness, and maintaining financial integrity and stability. Several steps have been undertaken to boost skill development, improve the business climate, and build innovation capacity. On the expenditure side, economic activity is expected to be spurred in the near term by public spending on infrastructure projects and sustained in the medium term as those projects and productivity-enhancing reforms improve private-sector competitiveness. It is recommended to pursue fiscal consolidation from the forthcoming budget FY2019/20 to build fiscal credibility and set public debt firmly on a declining path into the medium term.
Francisco Arizala, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides, and Mustafa Yenice
This paper examines the growth performance of sub-Saharan African countries since 1960 through the lens of growth turning points (accelerations and decelerations) and periods of sustained growth (growth spells). Growth accelerations are generally associated with improved external conditions, increased investment and trade openness, declines in inflation, better fiscal balances, and improvements in the institutional environment. Transitioning from growth accelerations to growth spells often requires additional efforts beyond what is needed to trigger an acceleration. Growth spells are sustained by fiscal policy that prevents excessive public debt accumulation, monetary policy geared toward low inflation, outward-oriented trade policies, and structural policies that reduce market distortions, as well as supportive external environment and improvements in democratic institutions. Overall, determinants of growth spells in sub-Saharan Africa are different from those in the rest of the emerging and developing countries.
Mauritius’ 2009 Article IV Consultation discusses economic developments and policies. Output growth has been slowed from 4.2 percent per year in 2008 to less than 2 percent in 2009, as key drivers of growth have been contracted. Mauritius’ growth prospects depend heavily on the global economy, especially the EU. Inflation has fallen to the low single digits as a result of lower global food and commodity prices and the slowdown of the domestic economy. The current account deficit has narrowed as lower imports have more than offset the contraction of external demand.
Applying commonly used vector autoregression (VAR) techniques, this paper investigates the transmission mechanism of monetary policy on output and prices for Mauritius, using data for 1999-2009. The results show that (i) an unexpected monetary policy tightening-an increase in the Bank of Mauritius policy interest rate-leads to a decline in prices and output but the effect on output is weaker; (ii) an unexpected decrease in the money supply or an unexpected increase in the nominal effective exchange rate result in a decrease in prices; and (iii) variations of the policy variables account for small a percentage of the fluctuations in output and prices. Taken together, these results suggest a rather weak monetary policy transmission mechanism. Finally, we find some differences in the transmission mechanism depending on whether core or headline consumer price index is used in the estimations.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the external competitiveness of Mauritius over the period 1980–2007, with particular attention to the most recent years. The paper estimates the equilibrium real exchange rate using the macroeconomic balance approach, the single-equation equilibrium exchange rate approach, and the capital-enhanced equilibrium exchange rate approach. A wealth of structural competitiveness indicators are also analyzed. The findings indicate that the real exchange rate at the end of 2007 was broadly in line with its equilibrium value.
Mauritius showed slow economic growth owing to the deteriorating external economic environment, particularly of the sugar and textile sectors. Executive Directors urged the authorities to develop a comprehensive economic strategy that combines structural reform measures and policies geared toward macroeconomic stability. They commended the financial sector reform and the implementation of Financial Sector Assessment Program recommendations, welcomed the financial sector monitoring and tax reforms plans and emphasized the need for strong exchange rate and monetary policies for securing external competitiveness.
This paper develops a new macrofinance model for small open economies, allowing the investigation of Mauritius's experience with 'inflation targeting lite' as described in Stone (2003). It finds that this monetary policy regime has been associated with a general reduction in inflation, principally through a reduction in inflation expectations. The credibility the Bank of Mauritius has established with its 'inflation targeting lite' regime has allowed it to shift from an emphasis on exchange rate targeting towards inflation targeting. By estimating a model in which the yield curve is modeled explicitly we are able to obtain estimates of inflation expectations.
Inflation targeting lite (ITL) countries float their exchange rate and announce an inflation target, but are not able to maintain the inflation target as the foremost policy objective. This paper identifies 19 emerging market countries as practitioners of ITL. They seem to focus mainly on bringing inflation into the single digits and maintaining financial stability. ITL can be viewed as a transitional regime aimed at buying time for the implementation of the structural reforms needed for a single credible nominal anchor. The important policy challenges for an ITL central bank include whether or not to precommit to a single anchor.