Country Feature: Mauritius

Country Feature: Mauritius

Message of Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, CSK, Chairman of the Economic Development Board of Mauritius

Dear Readers,

It is an immense pleasure for the Economic Development Board of Mauritius (EDB) to associate itself with MASSA-MASSCORP, an eminent organization nurturing investment and trade relations between Mauritius and Malaysia for more than two decades.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1987, Mauritius and Malaysia have always maintained excellent diplomatic and cultural ties. This is attested by the DTAA between the two countries that came into force in 1993. Additionally, Malaysia is one of the major tertiary education hubs for several hundreds of Mauritian students. Besides, Mauritius and Malaysia both possess the same intrinsic human values of liberty, social support, democracy and economic prosperity.

Mauritius as a destination for trade and investment                         

The EDB’s role is to promote Mauritius as an attractive investment and business centre, a competitive export platform as well as an International Financial Centre (IFC). Furthermore, the EDB also acts as the leading institution responsible for country branding for investment promotion and facilitate both inward and outward investment and ensure a conducive business environment for doing business which guarantees predictability, certainty and security.

Over the years, Mauritius has established itself as a secured, trusted and cost effective International Financial jurisdiction, ideal to act as an intermediary platform for structuring financing across Africa. To that end, the Government of Mauritius has spared no effort to maintain our rank as the leading African country in terms of the ease of doing business environment.

Despite the current economic situation, the EDB has been facilitating more than 200 local and foreign investment projects to the tune of USD 6 billion. Furthermore, considering the global economic uncertainty, whereby trade and investment in traditional markets are becoming more challenging, the EDB set up an office in Singapore in November 2019 to spearhead market development initiatives in the ASEAN region and reduce our economic dependency on Europe. The Look East Strategy of Mauritius is the general reference for our market development initiatives in Japan, China and Singapore and servicing Malaysia through the Singapore office.

The advantages that Mauritius offers are many.

On the investment side, there is a wide range of business opportunities for investors in established sectors like real estate and hospitality, ICT/BPO, manufacturing, agriculture, freeport and financial services or emerging sectors like renewable energy, pharma and biotechnology. This forms part of a well anchored diversification strategy to usher in a new era of development and accelerate the transition of Mauritius into an innovation-driven economy. Several incentives have been put in place to enable the development of the aforementioned sectors.

The Mauritius International Financial Centre

Mauritius is a beacon of political, social and economic stability. With its wide network of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs), Mauritius is also home to leading arbitral institutions such as the Mauritius International Arbitration Centre, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and the MCCI Arbitration and Mediation Centre (MARC). Strategically located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, Mauritius is the dispute resolution platform for Africa. 

These have helped Mauritius forge a reputation as a safe, trusted, and competitive financial centre supported by robust institutional arrangements and good governance. This is evident in the growing relevance of the Mauritius International Financial Centre (MIFC), serving as a conduit for driving investment to Africa. As at end June 2022, there were 966 global funds incorporated in Mauritius including private equity funds. Moreover, the value of outward investment structured through global business companies from Mauritius to Africa amounted to more than USD 42 billion as at end June 2021.

According to a report by Capital Economics, USD 82 billion of foreign investment is mediated through Mauritius into mainland Africa. It is on the OECD’s whitelist of jurisdictions that have substantially implemented internationally agreed tax standards and have also been adhering to compliance regulations and is one of only two countries in Africa with an investment grade with regards to Moody’s credit score rating.

Over the years, successive Governments have adopted bold policies to develop new economic pillars, foster a conducive business environment and establish good governance practices, thus laying the foundations for attracting higher levels of foreign investment. These measures have contributed to positioning the country as the number one destination for doing business in Africa, and Mauritius is set among the top 13 performers on the World Bank Doing Business Index. In addition, Mauritius also fares well on several international indices such as the Global Competitiveness Report, Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance and Economic Freedom Index, to name a few. 

There is a well-established connection with Malaysia as well. As of June 2021, investment from Malaysia to Mauritius via the Global Business sector amounted to USD 4,770 million through 101 Global Business Companies. Outwards investment from Mauritius to Malaysia was to the tune of USD 2,699 million through 65 Global Business Companies.  

The Mauritius Africa Strategy

The coming into operation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Mauritius-China FTA on 1st January 2021 and the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) on 1st April 2021 coupled with a myriad of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements provide Mauritius with preferential access to almost 75% of the world market. Malaysian businesses can leverage on this.

Mauritius, therefore, plays a strategic role on the premise of its strategic location as it serves as a bridge between the Southern and Eastern parts of Africa on the one side and Asia on the other. Mauritius is therefore ideally positioned to be the business platform linking Asia to Africa.

Residence Permit – Work, Live and Play 

Mauritius also welcomes potential investors, professionals, and digital nomads to carry out business or work remotely with the Premium Travel Visa, which allows an extended stay of six to 12 months. In addition, through the Occupation Permit and Permanent Residence Permit (PRP) regimes, investors and professionals can settle in Mauritius for a period of up to 20 years,

With the shift in the economic gravity from West to East, Mauritius is well positioned to be the bridge linking Asia and Africa.  Malaysia can thus leverage on the geographic position of Mauritius to expand its business operations in Africa.

Mauritius: A Thriving Economic Powerhouse

Mauritius: Your Preferred Business Destination

MASSA extends its appreciation to the Mauritius High Commission and Economic Development Board of Mauritius for this Country Feature.