Mauritius a boon for SA investors
SOUTH Africans are increasingly looking to Mauritius as the country changes its image as a holiday destination into an emerging investment destination.
Sovereign Group, an independent corporate and trust service provider, said this week that Mauritius had wooed dozens of investors with attractive tax regimes, a stable economy and low barriers to entry for businesses and individuals.
Sovereign Trust SA director Richard Neal said apart from being the highest ranked economy in sub-Saharan Africa on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, Mauritius was attracting a growing number of South African investors through sheer geographical proximity and the ability to “follow their money”.
“For many South Africans, though, it’s not just a relatively safe way to move into the world of offshore investing, but an increasingly attractive backup plan for people who are worried about the current levels of political and economic instability in South Africa,” said Neal.
During the 2010-to-2015 period, the cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) from Africa to Mauritius stood at $563 million (R7.4 billion), of which 89 percent came from South Africa, according to a report by the Mauritius Board of Investment.
The Sovereign Group said the sharp rise in Mauritius’s wealth had been primarily due to the country’s strong economic growth and a stable government as well as its ability to draw wealthy individuals to do business and live there.
South Africans had long been among the leading foreign purchasers of residential property in Mauritius, according to statistics by the Mauritian Board of Investments, largely to take advantage of the various residency programmes offered by that country.
Nico van Zyl, director at Sovereign Trust Mauritius, said recent amendments to rules around foreign ownership of property – which means that foreigners can buy commercial property, as well as certain residential properties – had added to the popularity of the country as an investment destination.