A Tiger Is Born Off Africa...And Its Claws May Get Sharper

The guard at Plaisance Airport stares silently at the tourist who has just asked: "Is Mauritius in Africa, or is it in Asia?" It's a tough question. Politically and geographically, this clump of rock in the Indian Ocean is part of Africa. Culturally, it's a muddle: Over 60% of the 1.1 million Mauritians are of Indian descent, and most islanders prefer to speak French or Creole over English, the official language. But economically, the island looks more like Asia, having undergone a "Mauritius Miracle" in the 1980s that pushed per capita income to $3,005 in 1995, among the highest in Africa.

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