Mauritius has benefited from substantial socio-economic development with significant economic growth in recent history. From its evolution from a mono-crop economy based on sugar in the early 1970's, the export-oriented industrialisation process started. The establishment of the Export Processing Zone Scheme encouraged the setting up of labour intensive export-oriented manufacturing enterprises and opened up the economy to benefit from preferential access to the European markets under the Lomé Convention.
The agricultural sector comprised predominantly sugar production, has been the back bone of the Mauritian economy for more than three centuries and despite diversification, it still remains an important industry. Around 98% of total sugar exports are directed to the European Union, but in terms of export earnings, total sugar exports now represent around 20% of total domestic exports compared to over 70% two decades ago.