Mauritius, An International Financial Hub

Mauritius is an international financial hub of excellence and is regarded as the number one jurisdiction for business opportunities and investments into the African continent and India. The jurisdiction combines the traditional advantages of an offshore financial centre (no or low tax) with the distinct advantages of an extensive network of double taxation treaties (DTAs) and Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements (IPPAs), along with a safe, peaceful and stable environment, with the possibility to gain Permanent Residency if some investment criteria are met.

An attractive and thriving place for business

Mauritius has the most enabling and appealing business environment in the sub-Saharan African region. Politically stable and fully secured, the island is gradually transforming itself into a hub and an international jurisdiction of choice for investors in search of security, transparent regulation and high value-addition. The country is a diverse and multicultural nation of 1.3 million people, offering a range of investment opportunities in different sectors.

Investment Opportunities

Investment opportunities exist in the following sectors such as Financial Services, Fintech Education, Artificial Intelligence (AI), ICT-BPO, Healthcare, Smart Cities, Pharmaceuticals, Hospitality & Property Development, Freeport & Logistics, Manufacturing, Ocean Economy, Renewable Energy, Seafood, Film Industry, Aquaculture and Agro-Industry amongst others.

Objective of Government

A key objective of the government is to boost growth with a view to graduating Mauritius to the league of high-income countries while fostering a more inclusive  nation – backed by better sharing of income and wealth. The government has stressed its intention to further enhance business facilitation and position Mauritius as a regional platform for trade and investment, notably towards Africa.  The Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019 has been passed recently in that regard.

Ease of Doing Business

The World Bank 2020 Doing Business Survey already ranks Mauritius 1st in Africa and 13th in the world (out of 190 countries) for ease of doing business.  Mauritius has over the years, consolidated its leadership position in Sub Saharan Africa. This acknowledgement by the World Bank confirms that Mauritius remains a competitive and attractive jurisdiction for the international investor community.

Politics, Law & Government

With peace, rule of law and political stability, Mauritius is the safe and ideal jurisdiction to route and ringfence investments into Africa. There are no foreign exchange controls and no restrictions to repatriate profits or funds back home anytime. There are also a number of Double Taxation Treaties (DTAs) that Mauritius has signed with some 46 countries so far to shield investors from double taxation.

Investment Protection

The Constitution of Mauritius also guarantees the protection against expropriation of private property. In addition, there are bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements (IPPAs) signed with some 29 countries, including South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, China, France etc. The IPPAs guarantee foreign investment to and from Mauritius with respect to expropriation and social unrest in Contracting States. They also provide arrangements for settlement of disputes between investors and the Contracting States.

Public Infrastructure

Mauritius has a sophisticated, transparent and well-regulated international financial centre with a conducive ecosystem offering a complete range of financial products such as treasury management centres, global funds, protected cell companies, captives, family offices and trusts. To encourage new activities, the Government has introduced tax holidays for setting up regional headquarters, investment banking, and fund management, amongst others.

Incentives to foreign Investors

To further facilitate investment in Mauritius and attract foreign investors, the government portal has been revamped: company formation, tax and social security payments and other applications are now made online to a single agency (the MRA). The Fast-track Committee is still there to expedite the processing of permits for all big impact projects.  Government has also reaffirmed its commitment to upgrading the infrastructure set-up, spanning road, airport, sea port, utilities and general social facilities.

Residence/Occupational Permit

Foreign nationals wishing to work, live or retire in Mauritius may explore various avenues either through the Occupation Permit, the Residence Permit or the Permanent Residence Permit. Furthermore, the investment criteria for foreign investors to be eligible to apply for a Residence/Occupation Permit as Investor have been relaxed. For Innovative start-ups and Research & Development in hi-tech sectors, no minimum investment is required to get a Residence Permit. ‘In principle’ application/approval is now possible before making the big jump.