Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch – who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU – in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signals intelligence. Independence from the UK was attained in 1968. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.
Mauritius is located in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, 2,000 km off East Africa, only 11 hours flights from Europe and 3 hours flight from South Africa. It is well serviced by main airlines with over 40 international flights daily to major European, African and Asian cities.
Its time zone is a convenient +4 hours GMT. Business can be conducted with the Far East in the morning, Europe around mid-day and USA in late afternoon.
Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. FDI has grown tenfold over the past 10 years.
This remarkable achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure.
The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development.
Mauritius prides itself on being a really advantageous, safe and business friendly, location of unparalleled quality for the investors. The country has decades of positive track record in welcoming investors and is ranked 1st in Africa for governance (Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2009), 12th out of 179 countries and 1st in Africa on the index of Economic Freedom, 17th globally in the 2010 World Bank Doing Business Report and ranked 26th out of 167 counties on the Democracy Index 2008.
|Ease of Doing Business||World Bank||1st|
|Easiest Country for Trade||World Economic Forum||1st|
|Economic Freedom||Heritage Foundation||1st|
|Top Regional Reformer||World Bank||1st|
|Most Improved Investment climate||African Business Awards||1st|
|Best Governed Country in Africa||Harvard University||1st|
Over the past few years, the country has positioned itself as a trusted and secure international services centre for investment flows from major economic powers into the emerging markets of Asia and Africa and vice versa. It is recognised as a safe and trusted jurisdiction by the OECD and FATF. The financial services sector of Mauritius offers numerous return investment opportunities in:
Since the establishment of the first commercial bank in September 1838, Mauritius has progressed rapidly and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. World class banks such as HSBC , Standard Bank, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, to name a few, are established players in the banking industry. The Big 5 audit firms together with major chartered accountancy bodies are present in Mauritius ensuring adherence to best practices and standards.
As at date, Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities and 600 global investment funds, many aimed at commerce in India, Africa, and China. Mauritius is India’s largest investment partner, facilitating approximately 44% of the total FDI into India and is the preferred route for investors going to India. Recently, George Soros routed his investment to acquire 4% stake in Bombay Stock Exchange through Mauritius.
Mauritius offers an ideal platform for structuring of investment vehicles investing in Africa and Asia. Its extensive network of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with key countries provides competitive advantages to the jurisdiction.
Moreover, the country has preferential market access to the US (Under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act – AGOA) and Africa through its “Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa” (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) membership.
The Mauritian exchange market comprises 2 modern and fully electronic platforms – with over 90 listings and market capitalisation of over USD 4 billion. There is a third market which allows for commodities and derivatives trading in multi class assets.
The capital markets are open to both local and foreign investors, offering profitable and alternative prospects in blue chips commodities and derivatives.
Why invest in capital markets in Mauritius ?
Mauritius has a hybrid legal system based on English and French laws. The main sources of law are the Constitution, based on the Westminster model, private law, which is largely, based on the Napoleonic codes, public, commercial and administrative law, which are mainly Common law-based, case law and international treaties.
Mauritius has an independent judiciary guaranteed by the Constitution and is a member of the Commonwealth and “Association de la Francophonie”.
The highest court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the Queen in London.
Mauritius is a signatory member of the following major multilateral Conventions and Agreements, namely:
Mauritius is also a member of: