Thinking Africa? Think Mauritius

Mauritius is proving to be one of the most effective countries for multinationals seeking to access Africa’s rapidly growing urban and middle income population.

A study conducted by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission (FSC) shows that 58 percent of investments made by global business companies registered in Mauritius was destined for Africa.

“This means the experience that Mauritius has gained from supporting investment into India over the last 25 years is now being focussed on - and replicated for Africa,” says Graham Sheward, Managing Director of Cim Global Business, the leading fund administrator in Mauritius.

Mauritius positioning as a tried, tested and trusted jurisdiction from which to access Africa was re-enforced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth’s budgetary announcement of further measures to promote the global business sector and encourage multinational companies and fund/asset managers to set up their operations in Mauritius.

Businesses that register for a Global Headquarters Administration licence and establish their regional administration, procurement and accounting offices in Mauritius, will benefit from an eight year tax

holiday subject to satisfying certain substance and employment conditions.

“Not only will companies registering for these licenses receive an eight year tax holiday, but the new legislation will further enhance Mauritius standing as a regional financial and business centre, especially when it comes to accessing African opportunity,” says Graham.

Mauritius recent issue of a Global Legal Advisory Services licence allows international law firms which establish their regional offices and operations in Mauritius to benefit from a 5 year tax holiday. Also, Mauritius has introduced the legislative and regulatory framework for setting up the limited liability partnership structures which are typically preferred by law firms.

Furthermore, companies holding an Overseas Family Corporation licence, as well as a non-citizen investing a minimum of USD 25 million in Mauritius or a company wholly owned by a non-citizen investing not less USD 25 million in the company, will be provided with a five year tax holiday. This will allow international high net worth families, including those from Africa, to manage their wealth from Mauritius by setting-up their family offices in the Mauritius IFC.

According to the latest report issued by the New World Wealth Investment Review, Mauritius has the fastest growing wealth market on the African continent with 3,200 millionaires. The number of USD millionaires living in Mauritius has increased by 340 percent since 2000, to reach 3,200 in 2015 and the number is expected to rise by another 130 percent in the next 10 years, reaching 7,400 by 2025, making it the fastest growing African market for millionaires over this period.  The introduction of the Overseas Family Corporations licence will allow High Net Worth (HNW) families to manage their wealth from the Mauritius IFC and also provide a right framework for the IFC to tap into the growing opportunities which exist within the African continent.

“This new licence allows HNW families to manage their wealth from Mauritius and enhance Mauritius’ positioning as a stable and secure wealth management centre assisting the growing pool of African, regional and global wealth seeking new investment opportunities,” says Graham Sheward.

A five-year tax holiday will be granted to employees of certain licence holders managing an asset base of USD 100 million and issued with an Asset Manager Certificate, a Fund Manager Certificate or an Asset and Fund Manager Certificate. In order to benefit from this tax holiday, the officer to whom the Certificate is issued must be resident in Mauritius and manage a minimum asset base averaging USD 100 million over the last financial year. This is a move set to deepen Mauritius’ positioning as an African asset and fund management hub.

According to Graham Sheward, ‘The objective of these measures is to enhance high value advisory services within the IFC by encouraging the development of home-grown asset managers/fund managers over time. The Mauritius IFC is putting a lot of emphasis via these measures to grow its offering and compete with IFCs such as Singapore and Dubai.’

These new pieces of legislation enhance Mauritius’ position as the preferred platform for international companies and individuals to drive their African ambitions.

Date: 13th January 2017