(Last updated: 1 Sep 2012)
Mauritians are more formal than Australians, especially in the public sector. First names should be avoided on first contact (unless you have corresponded in the past). Handshakes are freely used and are the standard form of greeting, although in certain orthodox circles this may not be practised with women.
Titles can be generally disregarded without offence, but it is preferable to use them (in abbreviated form) in correspondence. Where someone has more than one name (eg. Peter Chan Sui Ko), he is usually addressed as Mr Chan Sui Ko or Mr Chan.
Exchanging business cards is common practice, therefore have plenty with you.
Exchanging gifts is not normally practised in business; however, corporate gifts may be exchanged at Christmas time.
Mauritians prefer to be provided with brochures and CIF price lists.
Be punctual for a meeting although it may happen that your client/contact is some minutes late. If you are running late, however, do phone and advise that you will be late for your meeting.
Dinners and lunches with local representatives and customers help develop networks.
Business suits are generally recommended for business meetings but long sleeve shirt and tie are acceptable within many private companies.
Government purchases over a set threshold value are effected through the Central Procurement Unit and this process can be lengthy at times. In the case of the business community (private/corporate) this is not the case as they are free to shop around for the best deal.
Banking and finance
The Mauritian financial system comprises an array of institutions including well-established commercial banks, insurance companies and a number of non-bank financial intermediaries.
The Mauritian banking sector comprises 20 banks – eight local banks, seven locally incorporated subsidiaries of foreign banks and five foreign bank branches – licensed by the Bank of Mauritius to carry out banking business in Mauritius. Internationally active banks from some of the world’s biggest international and most reputable banking groups are present in Mauritius.
The latest development was in March 2011, when the Bank of Mauritius issued the first licence to a new entrant on the banking scene, for conducting Islamic banking business in the island.
Besides traditional banking facilities, banks also offer card-based payment services such as credit and debit cards, provide Internet banking and phone-banking facilities. Specialised services such as fund administration, custodial services, trusteeship, international portfolio management, investment banking, private client activities, treasury and specialised finance are also offered by banks.
Some of the banks specialise in corporate and investment banking and are mainly engaged in global business and financial activities. Prior to December 2004, such banks were required to obtain a separate license and there were restrictions on using the domestic currency and operating in the domestic banking environment. The separate licensing requirements for banks engaged in ‘domestic’ and ‘offshore’ banking activities were removed by the Banking Act, which came into effect in November 2004.
The non-bank financial sector includes institutions involved in insurance and pensions, capital market operations, Leasing and credit finance as well as global business activities.
Links and resources
Government, business and trade
Bank of Mauritius – http://bom.intnet.mu
Board of Investment – www.investmauritius.com
Central Statistics Office – www.gov.mu/portal/site/cso
Financial Services Comission – www.fscmauritius.org
Government of Mauritius – www.gov.mu
Mauritius Chamber of Commerce & Industry – www.mcci.org
Mauritius Freeport Portal – www.efreeport.com
Ministry of Finance & Economic Development – www.gov.mu/portal/site/MOFSite
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Cooperation – www.gov.mu/portal/site/mfasite
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius – www.stockexchangeofmauritius.com
News and media
There are several daily newspapers on the island (mainly in French). A list of publications and access to online periodicals are available. A select few are in English, but are unfortunately not available on the Internet. Local dailies are:
Le Mauricien – www.lemauricien.com/mauricien
L'Express – www.lexpress.mu
Le Matinal – www.lematinal.com
Weekly and monthly publications are also available.
Please note: this list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only.