Over-development in Mauritius

Development policy

Development policy

The very liberal economic policy coupled with a very particular functioning of the political apparatus as well as an unequal access to financial resources, create a breeding ground for a rather uncontrolled development purely based on building.

The administrative power does not propose nor apply any coherent and sustainable master-plan for development and urbanization while the framework on the socio-economic, legal and ecological levels contribute to the deprecation of the island-state’s natural capital. The administration is closer to a business facilitator than a regulator, with the result that it is the whole country which adapts around the development projects proposed by influential politicians, foreign promoters as well as major owners seeking to raise the values of their lands.

The most flagrant example is to have proposed, in 2017, the installation of fish-farms, along the coast and inside lagoons, as one of the pillars of economic development, while maintaining as main tourism-promotion, the « sea, sand & sun » concept. Knowing that the direct contribution to GDP of the tourism industry is approximately 6 % (20 % direct + indirect) and represents 35 % of exports, the introduction of such an obviously conflicting business activity depicts the incoherence of government policies.

Similarly, while benefiting from UNDP/GEF programme “Mainstreaming biodiversity into the management of the coastal zone in the Republic of Mauritius”, the authorities are granting permits to almost all development projects along the coast, including hotels in previously identified “Environmentally Sensitive Areas” (ESA’s).

Dismantling the few judicial structures that could act as guardrails against the irresponsible development of a concrete jungle, since August 2020, the Mauritian citizens have no-more rights to contest any real-estate project, may it be a residential house or a huge industrial or commercial project. Real-estate is by the way the sole pillar on which the 2020 budget relied. This ensemble of governmental policies is directly increasing the potential threats to the sustainability of coastal zones.

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