Mauritius, the Forgotten Son of Africa

23 October 2013

There seems to be a lot of focus on Africa in all the major industries from Financial Services to Power and Infrastructure. most international companies have good intentions in expanding their businesses to Africa.

With an estimated population of 1.2 million, Mauritius real GDP growth is expected to growth at a rate of just above 4% in the next coming 4 to 5 years, however, its economy will continue to struggle for momentum as sluggish European demand and an uncertain outlook for global growth weigh on the externally oriented economy.

Mauritius has one of Africa's most stable political systems and one of the most transparent business environments. It also stands out for its comparatively good infrastructure, low trade barriers and high levels of public education giving it Africa's top spot in the annual Global Competitiveness Report for 2013-14.

Despite it being a very attractive country, Mauritius relates equally to young professionals who would like to work and live in the country. It will take you 3 days to get a working permit in Mauritius which is then valid for 3 years, your only obligation is to produce a valid qualification in your respective field of study.

Opportunities exist for accountants, finance and marketing professionals, architects, investment bankers and risk managers, business consultants, IT and multi-media professionals amongst others.

What are some of the investment opportunities Mauritius Has?

Investment opportunities lie in the following industries: Agro-industries, Creative Industries, Financial Services, Healthcare and Medical, Travel Hospitality and Property Development, Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing, Knowledge, Logistics and Distribution Services, Manufacturing and Light Engineering, Renewable Energies and Environment, Seafood and Aquaculture.

  • The agricultural sector represents 4% of the national economy, The opportunities in this sector are: Seed production units, Technology based farming, Processing of Fruits and Vegetables and Intensive dairy farming
  • The creative industries will have a significant impact in transforming Mauritius into a more vibrant regional hub on top of enriching its artistic and cultural scene, investment opportunities are in: 2D/3D Animation, Gaming, 3D, Architectural Rendering, 3D animated Characters, Graphics &" Animation for TV, Music, Short Films & Commercial amongst other media sectors
  • Financial Services remains one of the most important contributors to the economy, representing 13% of GDP, investment opportunities are well spread amongst all sectors in the financial service i.e. Banking, Investment, Insurance and other financial services
  • Infrastructure contributes 11.9% of GDP, projects come to the fore and high-end luxurious developments flourish in the hospitality and property development, investment opportunities lie within the broader scope of real estate including malls and business parks

A look at Mauritius Infrastructure

Investment opportunities are driven by the attractiveness of the country. The Government is committed to endow Mauritius with a reliable, efficient and supportive infrastructure, to bring it at par with the best economies in developed countries. To this effect, government has already invested massively and has committed large sums of funds for the continuous upgrading of the overall infrastructure.

Simulations suggest that if all African countries were to catch up with Mauritius (the regional leader in infrastructure) per capita growth in the region could increase by 2.2%.

Road Connectivity

The island has an extensive network of roads including a multiple lane highway linking the airport, in the southeast, to the north. A number of new road infrastructure project are underway with a view to alleviate traffic jam at peak hours. Mauritius has 2,020 km of bitumen roads and a good road network. However, over the past ten years car ownership has doubled and the lorry fleet has increased by one-third, the result being that road congestion has become a serious obstacle to economic growth.

Rail Connectivity

There is no railway system in the country. Since 2000 the government has been considering a monorail network linking the major towns in order to ease traffic congestion on the main island, but no progress has yet been made.

Air transport

Mauritius has good air links with the rest of the world. The national airline, Air Mauritius, has extended its international air network over recent years by operating new routes to Africa, Europe and East-Asia and through the acquisition of six new aircraft.

Final remarks

Over the years Mauritius has built a strong reputation as a safe, reliable and secure jurisdiction with best practices in terms of transparency, good governance and ethics. It is rated among the first in Africa for its ease of doing business, economic freedom and good governance. Among other sectors, the Financial Services is increasingly being viewed as one of the major contributors to the Mauritian economy and to sustain its development as an International Financial Centre of Substance, Mauritius is continuously enhancing its range of financial products and moving towards the provision of higher end and value added services.

The fact that Mauritius has a strong track record as far as global investment is concerned where its financial platform is increasingly being used for investment in emerging countries is due to the conducive business environment in Mauritius. Continued efforts are being put to position Mauritius as a jurisdiction of choice for investment and conducting business.

Attractive fiscal regime include:

  • Tax free dividend
  • No capital gains tax
  • Free repatriation of profits, dividends and capital
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Global Business Companies Category 2 are tax-exempt
  • Global Business Companies Category 1 has maximum effective tax rate of 3%
  • Offshore Asset Protection, Ease of set up / operation, OECD White Listed Jurisdiction, Bilingual workforce with high level of expertise, Reliable

Mashudu Mulaudzi

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