Investment climate in Mauritius
Mauritian economy grew by 3.6% in 2014, 3.7% in 2015 and is projected to grow by 3.8% in 2016 and 4.0% in 2017. Inflation stood at 1.3% in December 2015, and is projected to remain stable at about 3% in 2016 in the absence of any external shocks. The inflation is expected to remain within the 2.5-3.0% range in the short term. The government introduced an innovative urban development approach, consisting of 8 “Smart Cities” and 5 techno-parks, in an effort to boost sustainable economic growth and enhance the competitiveness of Mauritius. Mauritius was rated as the best performing economy in Africa and was ranked 46th out of 140 economies with the value score of 4.4 in the latest edition of the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report.
Why invest in Mauritius?
- Impressive track record, political stability and more than 3 decades of sustained economic growth
- Secure investment location with established rule of law
- Freest and most business-friendly country in Africa
- Peaceful, multiethnic with a unique lifestyle in a blend of cultures
- Flexible, bilingual (English/French) and skilled workforce
- Investment-friendly regulatory regime
- Open to foreign investors and talents
- Ocean State with one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world
- Preferential market access to Africa, Europe and the USA
- State-of-the-art infrastructure
- Convenient time zone (GMT +4)
Mauritius is a stable country governed on the principles of multiparty parliamentary democracy. The president is the head of state and the prime minister has full executive powers and heads the government. The legislative elections held in December 2014 were won by the Alliance Lepep, a coalition comprising the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), the Mauritian Social Democrat Party (PMSD) and the Liberation Movement. The coalition secured a comfortable parliamentary majority (now 53 out of 69 seats) with the MSM 86 –year –old founder, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, becoming prime minister.
The population of Mauritius is estimated at 1.295 million inhabitants in 2017 with estimated annual growth rate of 0.3%. The population of Mauritius was confirmed at 1.291 million during the census of 2012 census.
According index mundi Urban population (% of total) in Mauritius was 39.67 as of 2015 with a negative (-0.8%) annual rate of change based on the period from 2010 to 1015.
Doing business in Mauritius
The highlights of World Bank score of doing business in Mauritius are summarised as follows;
|Topics||World Bank 2017 Rank||World Bank 2016 Rank||Change in Rank|
|Starting a Business||48||43||
|Dealing with Construction Permits||33||32||
|Protecting Minority Investors||32||30||-2|
|Trading across Borders||74||74|
The government is the in process of creating more conducive environment for doing business.
In 2017 Moody’s credit rating for Mauritius was last set at Baa1 with stable outlook.
The government abolished foreign exchange controls in 1994 and therefore no approval is required for converting, transferring, or repatriating profits, dividends, or capital gains earned by a foreign investor in Mauritius. Funds associated with any form of investment can be freely converted into any world currency. The foreign exchange rate is market-determined with occasional intervention of Bank of Mauritius.
Arbitration and disputes
The Mauritian judiciary is independent and the legal system can generally handle all disputes arising from business transactions. Mauritius is a member of the International Court of Justice. Mauritius established a Commercial Court in 2009 to expedite the settlement of commercial disputes. Contracts are legally enforceable and binding on the parties signing the contracts. In July 2011, the Government of Mauritius, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the Mauritius International Arbitration Center (MIAC) established a new arbitration center in Mauritius, the LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Center. LCIA-MIAC offers all the services offered by the LCIA in the U.K. The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Arbitration and Mediation Center (MARC) is an internationally recognized institution for commercial dispute settlement.
Mauritius is a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and a signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act. Mauritius is also a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank.
Key development challenges
The country’s environmental circumstances place the country at great risk to climate change and rising water levels. It has also challenges of ensuring there is equal opportunity for all and addressing skill mismatches.
Mauritius ranks number 50 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries and scored 54 points out of 100 according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
Most visits to Mauritius are trouble free but one has to be aware that there is some risk of terrorism.
Unemployment and skilled labour
According to the Labour Force Survey average unemployment rate stood at 7.6% in September 2016 compared to 7.9% in December 2015. The male unemployment rate ranged about 5.0% -5.5% compared to the female rate about 10.9% -11.7% during the same period.
Attitude to Foreign Direct Investment
Mauritius government established the Board of Investment (BOI) that is responsible for promoting investment in Mauritius, and it provides assistance with occupation permits, licenses and clearances by coordinating with relevant local authorities among other things. The World Bank Doing Business report of 2016 ranks Mauritius first among African economies (32nd worldwide) in terms of overall ease of doing business. Mauritius remains committed to transparency and adherence to best practices as set by leading institutions including the OECD, IMF and other standards-setting bodies. OECD Global Forum recognizes Mauritius as a largely compliant jurisdiction.
Restrictions on Foreign investment
A non-citizen can only hold, purchase or acquire real property with Government of Mauritius approval under the Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act. Either the Prime Minister’s Office or the Board of Investment may grant approval. Generally the Government of Mauritius does not discriminate between local and foreign investment. However foreign involvement is restricted in some activities of television broadcasting, sugar production, and certain operations in the tourism sector. In television broadcasting, the Independent Broadcasting Authority will not grant a license to a foreign company or to a company more than 20% owned or controlled by foreign nationals. Similarly, in the sugar sector, no foreign investor is allowed to make an investment that would result in 15 percent or more of the voting capital of a Mauritian sugar company being held by foreign investors. Finally, in the tourism sector, there are certain conditions for investment by non-citizens in the following activities: (i) guesthouse/tourist accommodation, (ii) pleasure crafts, (iii) scuba diving, and (iv) tour operator business.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights.
Mauritian courts have the jurisdiction to hear intellectual property claims, both civil and criminal. Intellectual property rights have been strengthened by recent trade mark, patent, and industrial design laws, which are in line with international norms. Mauritius is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and party to the Paris and Bern conventions for the protection of industrial property and the Universal Copyright Convention.
Basalts from coral limestone and coral sand, polymetallic nodules that contain more than 15% of both iron and manganese and more than 0.35% cobalt and ocean beaches.
Information for investment climate has been summarized to include the following;
Development partners of Mauritius
Double Taxation Treaties in Mauritius
Exports of Mauritius
International Trade Agreements with Mauritius
Investment Authority of Mauritius
Investment guarantees in Mauritius
Investment incentives in Mauritius
Investment opportunities in Mauritius
Natural resources of Mauritius
Trading partners of Mauritius
Mauritius Shipping Status
Mauritius Stock Exchange
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