Recent studies about the impact of China’s rise on the economies of sub-Saharan Africa generally find that the resource-rich countries of the region will gain, while those that compete with China in export markets will invariably lose. Mauritius, with no exploitable natural resources and facing acute Chinese competition in its traditional markets, is a most likely candidate to suffer China’s onslaught.
However, this paper argues that China’s economic rise can benefit Mauritius. Analysing the impact of China through the channels of trade, aid, and investment, the study shows that preference erosion, and not China’s emergence, is to blame for the drastic loss of jobs in the clothing industry.This industry has nonetheless proved to be resilient. Exports are back on a rising trend. On the other hand, Chinese aid to finance construction and infrastructure has been a welcome relief, even when it has been tied to the use of Chinese labour and inputs.
The most significant benefits of China’s engagement are likely to occur in investment as China strategically uses Mauritius as a platform to penetrate the African market.