News highlight of the week: Mauritius a top 5 most expensive countries in Africa

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Published on 2024-02-09 at 06:47 by Lila Chaleon*
This week in Mauritius brought news on several fronts: a concerning rise in public debt, Mauritius ranking among the top five most expensive African countries, the announcement of HSC results, and a coral bleaching alert in the south of the island.

Public debt surges

Public debt in Mauritius has surged by Rs 36.83 billion over the past year, crossing the Rs 500 billion mark and reaching 78.6% of GDP. Although the proportion of public sector debt relative to GDP has slightly decreased from 83.2% in December 2022 to 78.6% in December 2023, public sector net debt still stands at Rs 455.25 billion, or 69.9% of GDP. Notably, parastatals have contributed significantly to this debt, with a total exceeding Rs 30 billion.

Mauritius among top 5 most expensive African countries

Mauritius has earned a spot among the top five most expensive African countries in 2024, ranking 79th globally according to recent Numbeo data. Factors such as the island's reliance on imports, limited natural resources, and the impact of global economic fluctuations contribute to its relatively high cost of living. The Numbeo Cost of Living Index places Bermuda at the top, followed by Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

HSC results announced

The results of the HSC, the primary diploma awarded by Mauritian secondary schools, were announced this week. Brenda Thanacoody Soborun, Director of the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate, highlighted positive educational performance compared to 2019 results before the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the 7,528 candidates from the Republic of Mauritius, including 244 from Rodrigues, a total of 6,354 students passed, marking a commendable overall success rate. Notably, girls outperformed boys with a pass rate of 86.3%, while English and French saw high success rates of 94.4% and 96.3% respectively, though mathematics posed a challenge with a pass rate of 46.8%.

Coral bleaching alert

An environmental alarm has been raised by the NGO Eco-Sud, reporting thick mud covering the seabed in the southeast and accelerated coral bleaching in the Grand-Port and Pointe-d'Esny region. This is a direct consequence of tropical cyclones Belal and Candice. In a video posted on social networks, the NGO describes the accelerated bleaching of coral in the southern lagoons, attributed to increased sedimentation and turbidity resulting from the cyclones' heavy runoff. Eco-Sud is actively raising funds to finance legal action before the Privy Council, scheduled for March 5th, in defense of the environmental cause.