Term of Award

Spring 2001

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Political Science

Committee Chair

Debra Sabia

Committee Member 1

Saba Jallow

Committee Member 2

Sudha Ratan

Abstract

Off the eastern coast of Africa lies an island nation called Mauritius that has within the last two decades, demonstrated remarkable economic growth. In fact, many scholars, politicians, and economists refer to Mauritius as the "Miracle in the Indian Ocean," and a "success story" (Meldrum, 1998) . After Mauritius received its independence from Great Britain in 1968, the government maintained the British parliamentary system. This means that ever since Mauritius' independence, a democratic western form of rule has been in place and every transition that has occurred has been a smooth one. It appears that the stability of Mauritius' government has contributed tremendously to the economic success that the country continues to enjoy today. For instance, the government has determinedly pursued free-market economics, which in turn has brought rapid economic growth, high employment, and increasing incomes. This is remarkable considering the lack of similar stability and growth experienced by many of Mauritius' neighbors.

Free-market enterprise has been credited for Mauritius' economic successes but how else might we understand the country's success story? This thesis will examine other variables that might provide a fuller understanding of Mauritius' achievements. These variables include: (1) governmental/political institutions; (2) periods of conflict and/or upheaval; (3) religion, as it has affected culture and education; and (4) the influence of foreign aid. To better understand Mauritius' success story, we will compare and contrast Mauritius' experience with that of Comoros (a neighboring island) which shares both similarities and dissimilarities with Mauritius.

Comoros, like Mauritius, was colonized by European powers. Unlike Mauritius, however, Comoros was a former French (not British) colony. The two nations have different traditions and religions. Comoros has only about half the population (about 600,000 people) as Mauritius does and the ethnic make-up of the population is also different. Located in the Indian Ocean, both Mauritius and Comoros face the same natural vulnerabilities as well as geographic isolation, and both island-nations enjoy economic and trade benefits with the international community.

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