Mauritius: A Glimmer of African Freedom
Without a doubt, the nation of Mauritius is the freest country that you've never heard of — indeed, it is the freest country in all of Africa.
Located far off the east coast of Africa, just east of Madagascar, Mauritius is an island that rests on the west side of the Indian Ocean.
With a population of about 1.3 million people living on a little more than 2,000 square kilometers, Mauritius's citizens enjoy a temperate climate, beautiful scenery, and a life in one of Africa's least corrupt countries, according to Transparency International. Most of Mauritius's citizens work primarily in sugar, tourism, textiles, and the growing financial sector. Nobel laureate and writerJ.M.G. Le Clézio even calls Mauritius home.
Arab and Malay sailors first happened upon Mauritius in the 10th century, but it was not until the 16th century that the West found it. First settled by the Dutch, the French took control of the island in 1715, and the British took control in 1810.
Finally, Mauritius gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 and grew into what it has become today — a model of freedom for the continent of Africa.
The burgeoning economy of Mauritius stands out by being ranked 12th by the Heritage Foundation on their 2011 Index of Economic Freedom — just below Chile and just above Luxembourg. The index ranks nations based on freedom in categories such as business, taxes, money, finance, and labor.
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