Mauritius is Africa’s wealthiest country per capita, followed by South Africa

Mauritius is the wealthiest country in Africa on a wealth per capita basis, according to a new report commissioned by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank in conjunction with wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth.

Mauritius had about 1.6 million inhabitants in 2020, compared to 59.31 million in South Africa. The average wealth per capita in Mauritius is US$30,000 per person, while South Africa was in second place with US$11,000.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Total private wealth held in Africa amounts to approximately USD2 trillion as at December 2020.
  • The ‘Big 5’ wealth markets in Africa are: South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Kenya – together these five countries account for over 50% of Africa’s total wealth. South Africa is home to over twice as many millionaires (HNWIs) as any other African country, whilst Egypt has the most billionaires on the continent.
  • Mauritius remains the wealthiest country in Africa with wealth of capita exceeding USD30,000 per person. The island was officially classified as a high-income country by the World Bank in July 2020.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on Africa resulting in a decrease of about 9% in private wealth and HNWI levels in 2020. This drop was driven by salary cuts and job losses in the travel, hospitality, manufacturing and real estate sectors, closure of local businesses, weakening of the residential property market and rising household debt.
  • Total private wealth held in Africa is expected to rise by 30% reaching USD2.6 trillion by 2030. This growth will be driven by strong growth in the billionaire and centi-millionaire’s segments in fast growing economies such as Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.

The report expects wealth growth of 80% in Mauritius up to 2030. This will make it one of the five fastest-growing high-income markets in the world over this period, along with Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Malta.

Apart from a large number of high net-worth individuals (wealth of USD1 million or more) moving to Mauritius over the past decade, the growing economy has enabled more locals to move into this wealth category. Mauritius is now home to around 4,400 HNWIs, compared to 2,500 HNWIs a decade ago. The report expects that by 2030 Mauritius could have more than 7,800 HNWIs.

Reasons for Mauritius ranking top in Africa proposed in the report include ‘ease of doing business’. Mauritius, it said, ranks first in Africa and 13th worldwide in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report. The World Bank officially classified Mauritius as a high-income country in July 2020.

Another possible reason is low taxes, including no inheritance tax or capital gains tax, making the island attractive to retirees. Safety is also one of the key drivers of wealth growth in Mauritius. It is rated as the safest country in Africa, along with Namibia and Botswana.

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