This year the island nation of Mauritius celebrated its 50th year of independence. Over the past half-century, a people with roots in India, Africa, Europe and China have built a strikingly strong democracy as one nation living in harmony with 37 years of uninterrupted economic growth.
In that time Mauritius has moved from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy, based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. Known as the “Mauritian Miracle”, Mauritius embraced economic freedom and liberalised its economy, recognising that this was the best route to future prosperity.
According to the Index of Economic Freedom, Mauritius is now ranked as having the eighth freest economy in the world, and the highest score in investment freedom. In recent years, information and communication technology, seafood, hospitality and property development, healthcare, renewable energy, and education and training have emerged as important sectors, attracting substantial investment from both local and foreign investors.
The Mauritian government continues to position Mauritius as a sound, reliable and predictable international jurisdiction for global business. On 15 November, Mauritius received the highest international rating on tax transparency from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In its latest group of 10 peer review reports, the OECD assessed Mauritius, Ireland and Norway to be fully ‘compliant’ in meeting all the international requirements in respect of harmful tax practices. They finished ahead of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Germany and Qatar, which were all only rated as ‘largely compliant’.
Mauritius therefore remains committed to uphold its adherence to international norms and best practices but it is also still looking ahead. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has recently embarked on setting up an enabling framework for Fintech on the island.
Following the issue of a Guidance Note on the Recognition of Digital Assets as an asset-class for investment by sophisticated and expert investors in September, the FSC is now establishing the regulatory framework in relation to a new Custodian Services (Digital Asset) Licence, which will enable the holder to provide safe-keeping services in relation to digital assets.
According to the announcement, Mauritius aims to establish regulation for custodian services for digital assets in order to enable users of crypto custodian services to have a due level of safety. More news on this in the coming months as the story develops.
Mauritius has built a solid reputation of being a jurisdiction of substance internationally. Supported by its legislative framework and financial services infrastructure, Mauritius offers an ideal platform for investments around the globe, with a focus on Africa and Asia. For any further information on Mauritius, please contact Nico van Zyl.