Island Lecture Series – May 2017: “The Economic Success of Mauritius” with Ouma Cuniah

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge
Island Studies May Lecture: The Economic Success of Mauritius
with Ouma Cuniah

The May Island Studies Lecture was Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Mauritius native and now Prince Edward Islander, Ms Ouma Cuniah, speaking about the economic success of her home island, Mauritius.

Nobel prize-winning economist James Meade famously predicted a dismal future for Mauritius when he wrote in 1961, “It is going to be a great achievement if (the country) can find productive employment for its population without a serious reduction in the existing standard of living… (The) outlook for peaceful development is weak.”

And yet, nearly 50 years post-independence, on the Global Peace Index Mauritius ranked No. 1 as the most peaceful country in Sub-Saharan Africa and 23rd globally. The country also ranked first in Africa on the Word Economic Freedom Index 2016 and is in the fifth position internationally – tying with Canada, Georgia, Ireland, and UAE.

Mauritius, an island of 1,852 km², is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The island was successively colonized by the Dutch, the French, and the British. It became independent in 1968. With a population of nearly 1.3 million, the country derives its identity from a strong fabric of multiculturalism, multilingualism, and African, Asian, and European ethnicities.


Ouma Cuniah talked about the drivers behind the economic development of the country and draw comparisons and parallels with other islands sharing similar history, and with Prince Edward Island.

Ouma has been working at UPEI since July 2015. She holds a master’s degree in Commerce, and as a Chartered Certified Accountant has worked closely with the corporate sector in Mauritius and other neighbouring islands for nearly two decades.


This was the final lecture for the academic year. Watch for another lecture about islands – near and far – starting in October. For more information, please contact Laurie at or (902) 894-2881.


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