The Role of Foreign Direct Investment in the Development of Mauritius: The Marginalization of the Creole Community
Abstract: The success of Mauritius has often been mentioned as a lesson for African countries to learn from involving a decreased inequality gap, improved living standards and full democracy in Africa, which is unique for the continent. The liberalization of its policies has resulted in openness to trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to attain increased investment from abroad and a rapid economic growth. Particularly, the close ties between Mauritius and India as large bilateral FDI and trade partners have led to a great impact on the Mauritian economy. However, many articles about the positive results in Mauritius have disregarded the fact that a significant minority group, the Creole community, is largely marginalized despite the advantages of economic development. The thesis focuses on answering what the outcome of FDI as a development strategy has been for the Creole community, and why. The second largest economic sector in Mauritius is the textile sector, where mostly the Creoles of the local population work. This would lead to the assumption that the local workers would experience improvements in their lives in line with economic development. A sub question arises from this: have the Creole textile workers in Mauritius experienced any changes in their living situations, and if not, why? To address the research questions, the thesis is based on theories of poverty reduction strategies and FDI as a development tool, as well as data collection via a method of triangulation using participant observation, semi-structured interviews and photography. The thesis focuses on the situations and perspectives of the Creole community, leading to the findings that the recent development trend since independence has not necessarily improved the living standards of the Creole community as it has for the Hindu community. The reason is primarily a Hindu, i.e. Indo-Mauritian government, collaborating with India and favoring the Hindu community as well as an unrestricted and cheap foreign labor importation, competing with the Creole textile workers.
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