- Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam expects the national economy to boom this year, following the positive trends in 2006, where the unemployment rate started dropping for the first time in 16 years. In particular the tourism and IT sectors are expected to create thousands of new jobs in Mauritius in 2007.
The Prime Minister in his televised New Year's speech expressed great satisfaction with the "economic revival" noted in Mauritius last year and said that all necessary investments had been made to secure even faster development in 2007. Last year's "recovery" came after several year of poor economic performance for the island state, which is Africa's richest and most developed nation.
PM Ramgoolam noted with satisfaction the fall in the rate of unemployment. "In 2005, 2,500 new jobs were created and last year 7,200," he said. For the first time in 16 years, the rate of unemployment has begun to fall, the Mauritian Prime Minister observed.
The Port Louis-based Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday was able to confirm Mr Ramgoolam's positive summary of last year's economic trends. "Based on data collected for the third quarter of 2006 and trends for past years, it is expected that the unemployment rate for the year 2006 will be 9.4 percent, down from 9.6 percent in 2005," the CSO said in a statement released yesterday.
According to the third quarter data released by the CSO, the number of unemployed in Mauritius now stands at 52,800. The national statistics agency relates this to the strong economic growth experienced in Mauritius last year, preliminarily set at 4.6 percent, and up from 2.5 percent in 2005.
Both PM Ramgoolam and the CSO agree that economic and employment prospects for 2007 are even better, due to the nation's successful economic reforms and bids for foreign investments. Foreign direct investment last year reached Rupees 3.4 billion (euro 79 million), according to Mr Ramgoolam, who added that "these encouraging signs show that foreign investors are regaining confidence in Mauritius."
These foreign investments and further ones foreseen for 2007 were bound to have a positive impact on employment, PM Ramgoolam held in his speech. In particular, 2007 would be an exceptional year for the tourism industry, he held, adding that "some 3 000 new jobs are expected to be created with tourism projects already approved."
He also made mention of the creation of thousands of new jobs in the IT sector. "In 2007, Mauritius will be a huge construction site where job opportunities will be available in several sectors," the Prime Minister promised citizens. Rising unemployment has been seen a major societal evil during the last decade in the otherwise rich nation.
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