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Mauritius - Gateway to Africa

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean covering 1,900 km2, 2,000 km off the coast of the African continent. It enjoys close cultural, business and bilateral ties to many other African countries. Over the last few decades, Mauritius has grown into an attractive, secure and competitive location for cross-border investments and is regarded as a gateway for investments into and trading with Africa.

Mauritius has a crucial role to play in the development of Africa. Mauritius’ classification on the white list of the OECD reflects an immaculate track record as an offshore center and low-tax platform of substance. Mauritius is recognized for its excellence and best practices in African business and for its leading drive that is transforming the continent.

Doing Business in Mauritius

Due to rapid growth of Mauritius as a tax friendly environment for foreign capital and its position as a staging area for ventures into Africa and Asia and beyond, Mauritius has become the obvious choice for the establishment of holding companies, foundations, trusts and special purpose vehicles.

The rapid and balanced development of infrastructure and services over the last decade in Mauritius and a growing reputation as an international business center combined with a sound legal framework and fiscal policies and the regulatory and local infrastructure of a developed market have created a fertile environment for doing business.

Mauritius’ “Ease of Doing Business” is ranking no. 25 out of 185 countries, according to the Doing Business Report 2018 by the World Bank. The infographic shows how far better Mauritius is ranking in the various disciplines of Doing Business compared with the Africa average.

Mauritius - Doing Business Report 2018

Island of Freedom and Peace

Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom.

Economic freedom is a crucial component of liberty. It empowers people to work, produce, consume, own, trade, and invest according to their personal choices. Mauritius continues to be a regional leader in economic freedom, according to the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom provided by The Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal. With an overall score of 74.7 (out of max 100), Mauritius is ranking no. 21 (out of 180) in the world, and no. 1 in Africa, ahead of Germany (no. 26), Austria (no. 30), Japan (no. 40) and South Africa (no. 81).

Mauritius - Index of Economic Freedom

Mauritius is quite unique in the world of today, because the religions of Hinduism (48.5% of the population, according to the 2011 census), Christianity (32.7%), Islam (17.3%) and Buddhism (0.4%) coexist peacefully in a densely populated country.

History

Mauritius became independent in 1968 after it was possessed by the Portuguese (1505-1598), Dutch (1638 – 1710), the French (1715 – 1810) and the British (1810 – 1968). English and French are generally accepted as the official languages of Mauritius and as the languages of government administration, courts, and business. The population is multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual.

The main economic sectors are tourism, sugar, textiles, and financial services. In the future, the marine economy shall also be developed, as Mauritius has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world.

The climate is tropical and maritime in nature. The time zone is UTC+4.

Mauritius’ Legal System

The legal system of Mauritius is a hybrid system combining more particularly English common law and the French Napoleonic Code. Whilst the substantive law of obligations remains of French origin, the modern legislation in the fields of company, banking, finance and taxation have a very strong English flavor. The Act, under which companies and investment vehicles are registered, largely codifies English common law principles.

The regulatory regime is robust but flexible. The Mauritian authorities have been extremely prudent in adopting the best international law and regulations, by learning from how other jurisdictions have developed.

Mauritius is not only a treaty-based jurisdiction but combines the traditional advantages of an international financial center and provides access to several preferential trade agreements. The country is the only international financial services center being a member of all the major African regional organizations such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Indian Ocean Rim – Association Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

Mauritius has signed Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with 20 African member states.

There is no foreign exchange control in Mauritius.

Mauritius is a low-tax jurisdiction. The nation has concluded 43 tax treaties with other countries (as of March 2018) and is party to a series of treaties under negotiation. Please find more details on taxation in Mauritius here.