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Within the business world there have been a number of management fads such as:

  • MBO (Management By Objectives)
  • OMM (One-Minute Management)
  • MBWA (Management By Walking About)
  • TQM (Total Quality Management)
  • BPR (Business Process Re-engineering)
  • TBM (Team-Based Management)

With such a wide variety it is becoming very hard for business gurus and management consultants to come up with (and sell) new ones. Perhaps they should look to Mauritius where the Government has stumbled upon a novel one: MBFM (Management By Flavour of the Month). Consider the following policies that have been recently paraded:

  • Mauritius – Cyber Island
  • Mauritius – Sustainable Island
  • Mauritius – Two Million Tourists
  • Mauritius – Gateway to Africa
  • Mauritius – Duty-Free Shopping Paradise
  • Mauritius – Island City State

Now all of this would be mildly humorous if it did not have major implications for our future. Every time one of these novelties is introduced, vast resources are poured into it. The dream of a cyber island led to the creation of a new town at Ebene that is difficult to navigate by car, almost impossible to walk around and has simply become a relocation site for head offices that were once in Port Louis. The target of two million tourists led to the commissioning of an extremely expensive state-of-the-art airport terminal and a boom in hotel construction that has saturated the market and all but eliminated profitability.

The gateway to Africa led to the setting up of a Chinese colony at Riche Terre. Ironically, this is on terms not dissimilar to those under which the British took Hong Kong from China. The shopping paradise idea led to the construction of a string of shopping malls along our main highway. Who dares to imagine what kind of concrete jungle the city state could produce?

Many of these policies are contradictory. The recently resuscitated light railway is planned to pass through the existing urban centres from Port Louis to Curepipe. However, Ebene is not on this route and neither is the proposed new administrative town in Highlands. What about the out-of-town shopping malls that are designed to be reached by car? By giving the Chinese a colony, we have soured relations with India. Is it a coincidence that they are making Mauritius a less attractive route for investments into their country?

We are losing friends, losing territory, sacrificing the environment and racking up enormous debts. Mauritius desperately needs wise leadership with an integrated, long-term vision. How bad does the situation have to get before we do something about it?