Mauritius Commercial Bank upgrades banking licence in Dubai

The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), the oldest and largest banking institution in Mauritius, has upgraded its presence in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from a representative office to a branch and has been licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to provide ‘advising and arranging’ services.

MCB’s strengthened presence in UAE follows its conviction that strong mutually beneficial partnerships can be forged between Mauritius and the UAE, building on valuable synergies between the DIFC and Mauritius IFC. Although geographically distant, both IFCs have Africa as their focal point.

The UAE has 20 Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) in force with African countries, while Mauritius has 16. Combined they now cover more than 60% of African countries. With Mauritius being only one of the two investment-grade rated countries in Africa by Moody’s Investors Service, it aims to become a strategic partner to companies domiciled in the DIFC that are seeking to extend their reach into Africa.

MCB opened a representative office in the DIFC in 2019. “We are upgrading our presence in the DIFC from a representative office to a branch with a DFSA/Category 4 license, which demonstrates our commitment to UAE and MENA-based clients and our interest in contributing to further trade and investment flows between this region and Africa,” said MCB Chief Executive Officer Alain Law Min.

“We wish to leverage the strong network and commercial clout of Dubai as a business hub and its synergies with the Mauritius IFC, in order to broaden MCB’s international footprint. Our ambition is to play a central role in opening up the financial opportunities of the Africa-Gulf corridor, for the benefit of our customers”.

This expansion of the MCB’s scope to the Middle Eastern is aligned with its mandate to further facilitate transactions to and from Africa. Since 2014, MCB has expanded its activities across the African continent and developed strong expertise and appetite for doing business in Africa and the related risks.

Now present in the entire COMESA (Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa) region and with its increased involvement in the Western African market, MCB has developed a strong network of African and international banking and financial institutions. The bank is rated Baa3 by Moody’s and is one of the few banking institutions with such an investment grade across Africa, testifying its stability, solid liquidity and capitalisation.

Relying on its experience and existing portfolio of clients, MCB said it can serve as a reliable partner for local and regional banks and private actors to deploy their development in Africa. Its DIFC Office partners with corporate and institutional clients in the UAE, KSA, Qatar and Egypt that have trading activities with the Sub-Saharan African region, develop projects or make corporate investments in Africa. MCB also partners with external asset managers in the UAE and beyond offering private banking and wealth management services from the DIFC.

The DFSA is the independent regulatory authority for all activities related to financial and ancillary services in Dubai. An Authorised Firm is in Category 4 if its licence authorises it to carry on one or more of the financial services of Arranging Deals in Investments and Advising on Financial Products.

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