From Inter Press Service
Raja Venkat, a food vendor on the sidewalk of Immigration Square in the centre of Port Louis, the Mauritian capital, sits on his tricycle with a bag full of dhal puris – small, round, flat Indian bread stuffed with pulses – which he sells together with tomato sauce and bean curry.
“Come and taste my dhal puris, you’ll want more. Come, come,” he shouts.
Thousands of small businesses like this have sprung up in every town and village on the island since the government eased the procedures for obtaining a business permit a year ago.
“At times, I helped in masonry, in vegetable transportation or washing vehicles. I was available for any job, but most of the time I was unemployed,” Venkat tells IPS.
The unemployment rate stood at 8.6 percent at the end of 2012, according to figures obtained from Statistics Mauritius, the official organisation responsible for collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of statistical data. And the easing of procedures for obtaining a business permit has been aimed at reducing unemployment in this Indian Ocean island. Official figures from Statistics Mauritius indicate that the total number of business activities increased from 133,723 to 138,236 in 2012.
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