Uneven Paths of Development
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Uneven Paths of Development

Innovation and Learning in Asia and Africa

Banji Oyelaren-Oyeyinka and Rajah Rasiah

This book focuses on what can be learned from the complex processes of industrial, technological and organizational change in the sectoral system of information hardware (IH). The IH innovation system is deliberately chosen to illustrate how sectors act as seeds of economic progress. Detailed firm-level studies were carried out in seven countries, three in Africa (Nigeria, Mauritius and South Africa) and four in Asia (China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia).
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Chapter 5: Making a Difficult Transition in Mauritius

Banji Oyelaren-Oyeyinka and Rajah Rasiah

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5. 5.1 Making a difficult transition in Mauritius INTRODUCTION Mauritius has recorded impressive economic growth since 1980. Its outwardoriented strategies have transformed this small agricultural island into a significant exporter of manufactured goods within a very short period of time. With a gross national product (GNP) per capita of Rs140 856 (US$5030) in 2004, Mauritius is categorized as an upper-middle-income economy. The two sectors that have boosted the manufacturing performance of the Mauritian economy are the sugar milling and the clothing sectors. However, the textile sector is now in decline, which means that new sectors have to be promoted. Equally, the sugar sector is facing serious constraints. This follows the recent pressures from the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the European Union (EU) to reduce sugar prices. Ultimately the EU had to agree to reduce Africa, Caribbean and Pacific’s (ACP) guaranteed sugar price gradually between 2006 and 2009 by 36 per cent with an immediate drop of 5 per cent in 2006. At this reduced price level, it will be very difficult for Mauritius to compete on the world market for sugar, as the production cost will be much higher than the market price. A restructuring programme by the government of Mauritius is in place to mechanize the sugar industry. Mauritius is strategically located off the far east coast of Madagascar and has a rich history, which has shaped the country’s economic path. Once an important stopover on the Spice Route, it is has transformed...

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