Mau­ri­tius a boon for SA in­vestors

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - Sizwe Dlamini

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.

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