Why Mauritius

Overview of Mauritius

Strategically located at the crossroads of Africa and Asia and located in a convenient time zone of GMT+4, Mauritius also enjoys a state-of-the-art infrastructure and a well-developed network of internal and external communications through the SAFE and the LION international sub-marine fibre optic network passing through Mauritius providing fast and reliable internet connection to the world.

The planned BRICS submarine cable linking Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil and the United States will also pass through Mauritius.

Modern infrastructures and the new passenger terminal inaugurated at SSR International Airport will cater for a greater influx of visitors with flights from and to major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The population of Mauritius is made up by people of European, African, Indian and Chinese origin. This has resulted in a unique blend of races, cultures and religions coexisting in peace and creating a unique cultural identity.

Mauritius has a bilingual (English/French) and skilled workforce and a large pool of professionals who are contributing to the development of its economy.

Ever since it became independent in 1968, Mauritius has enjoyed social and political stability guaranteed by parliamentary democracy based on Westminster model and the country was ranked 1st in Africa in the Democracy Index and 3rd in the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2012.

All of these advantages have set Mauritius apart as being the most appealing country in Africa. 

History and Background

Mauritius became independent in 1968 and slowly moved from a small agricultural economy to the secondary sector through textile and tourism, and then to the services sector with the development of business process outsourcing, financial services and global business activities.

Over the past 30 years, Mauritius has gained international recognition as being a reputable jurisdiction for financial services and global business through adoption of international Best Business Practices which have been acknowledged by international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the World Bank (WB).

In the 'Ease of Doing Business' publication of the World Bank, Mauritius was ranked 20th out of 189 economies in 2013.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

The MOBAA Act (Mauritian Offshore Business Activities Act) was introduced in 1992. An Offshore Trust Act followed by an International Companies Act was also enacted in 1994 allowing for the creation of offshore entities that could be used for international business and investment activities by non-residents.

In 2001 the MOBAA Act was repealed and replaced by the Financial Services Development Act 2001 (FSD Act) under which the Financial Services Commission (FSC) was established to regulate the sector comprising a number of non-banking financial services such as global business activities, the insurance industry, leasing activities etc.

Alongside the FSD Act, a new Companies Act and Trust Act were passed by Parliament in 2001 completing the legislative integration of onshore and offshore business activities.

The legal framework was further improved and modernised through the Financial Services Act 2007 (FSA) repealing the FSD Act, and the Securities Act 2005 (SA) replacing the previous Stock Exchange Act 1988 was passed in 2007.

Through the current legislation and regulatory framework, a new conceptual approach to Global Business has been introduced.

The definition of Global Business has also been revised such that any Mauritian corporation conducting business outside Mauritius will qualify for a Global Business Licence.

The FSC has issued a number of regulations, rules and guidelines and the new licensing framework aims at reinforcing the FSC’s business-friendly approach to regulation by streamlining the licensing process within a well-defined and consolidated framework.

Regional Integration and Cooperation

Mauritius is a member of all the major African and regional organisations, such as the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) for trade and investment facilitation.

Double Taxation Agreements - (DTAs)

Mauritius was traditionally known as a jurisdiction of choice for cross-border investments into India, thanks to the Mauritius-India Tax Treaty. Mauritius has been the top investing country into India with more than USD 50 billion invested (representing approximately 43% of total inflows) over the last decade.

However the network of Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties or Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) is much wider with 39 tax treaties concluded so far, a number of DTAs awaiting ratification and some still being negotiated.

Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements - (IPPAs)

In addition, Mauritius has signed Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with a number of countries of the African continent. These bilateral agreements between countries aim at protecting and promoting the interests of investors in the country where the investment is being made.

Mauritius - A Stepping Stone Into Africa

With its unique features, Mauritius is regarded as a stepping stone for investments into and trading with Africa and has a crucial role to play in Africa’s development.

  • Identified as a favourable and tax efficient platform for African investments by the World Investment Report 2010.
  • Classified on the white list of the OECD reflecting an unblemished track record as an offshore centre of substance.
  • Recognized for its excellence and best practices in African business and acknowledged for its leading drive towards transforming the continent.
  • Ranked 1st out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Region in 2014 by the Index of Economic Freedom and 1st in the Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014
  • Ranked 1st in the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2013 and ranked 1st in Africa in the Forbes Survey of Best Countries for Business in 2013