James Meade, British recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, reported in 1961 that Mauritius faced a bleak future. The country was reliant on a single crop (sugar), subject to weather and price shocks, threatened by over-population, had no potential alternative job opportunities, was multi-ethnic, had large income inequalities, and had experienced political conflict. Land was scarce, there was very little technical expertise outside the sugar industry, capital was scarce, and the island was not geographically well positioned.

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