BENEFITS OF INVESTING

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL STABILITY

A melting point of the world's oldest civilisations, Mauritius is a rare example of social peace and unity in a multi-cultural society. The population boasts origins from the European and African continents, as well as from India and China. With such a cosmopolitan legacy, no wonder their hospitality is legendary. Mauritius is also a safe place to live, Mauritians being naturally well-inclined and of a peaceful nature. All Mauritians enjoy freedom of expression and of religion.

There is freedom of the press with the presence of dozens of dailies and weeklies.

Mauritius has also enjoyed enduring political stability ever since its early days as an independent nation born in 1968. The Government is democratically elected every 5 years. The Constitution is based on the Westminster Parliamentary model.

Their successive governments have all shown strong and sustained commitment to a market-driven economy where free enterprise can flourish and foreign investment prospers.

The present government is set to take the country into yet another leap into its future. That of a global island, an emerging economic powerhouse in the region.

OPEN ECONOMY

The Mauritian economy is one of the fastest growing in sub-Saharan Africa. In just three decades, the country has moved from a mono-crop sugar-dominated economy to a sophisticated and diversified services oriented one. The tertiary sector currently accounts for 70% of GDP, a fair indication of their impressive track record.

While traditional growth sectors like tourism and manufacturing continue to be strong, many other opportunities have arisen in emerging sectors with the potential to become tomorrow's economic pillars of a regional powerhouse. This rapid transition to a mature economy, one of just two in Africa to have graduated to middle-income status, comes as a promising result of sound economic management, coupled with a vision to succeed shared between the government, the business community and civil society at large.

Mauritius has been endowed with a natural gift for business ever since it was a major trading post for the renowned French Compagnie des Indes two centuries ago. Further still, in the years 1600, it was referred to as the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean. The entrepreneurial spirit lives on. The business community is active and the government is instrumental in making things happen. Today, any foreign investor can settle hassle-free in Mauritius and be operational in just 3 days. Add to this one of the world's most generous tax regimes, where personal and corporate tax are harmonized at a low 15%, and where dividends are tax free. A country with no exchange control. A country where export-oriented operators enjoy duty-free privilege for their inputs and equipment. And Mauritius also has signed non-double taxation agreements with a considerable number of countries, and is signatory to a number of Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.

Mauritian traditional investors are also very receptive to partnering with their international counterparts. An increasing number of joint ventures are being witnessed today in the traditionally strong sectors, as well as in a growing number of innovation-driven emerging sectors.

The Government has ensured doing business in and from Mauritius is both easy and smooth, and complies with best practices in terms of transparency, good governance and ethics. Mauritius has enacted anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislation, while the business framework itself has been made simpler. Commercial law in Mauritius is a combination of the English Common Law and the French Code Napoléon.

Companies setting up in Mauritius fall under the provisions of the Companies Act 2001.

The Business Facilitation Act 2006 has further simplified the operational framework for doing business in Mauritius.

Foreign nationals are allowed to work and/or live in Mauritius under three distinct and simply laid down schemes:

INFRASTRUCTURE

The Government is committed to endow Mauritius with a reliable, efficient and supportive infrastructure, at par with the best available in developed countries. To this effect, government has already invested massively and has committed large sums of funds for the continuous upgrading of the overall infrastructure.

The island has an extensive network of roads, including a multiple lane highway linking the airport in the southeast to the north. A number of new road infrastructure projects are underway with a view to alleviate traffic jams at peak hours.

The entire island is connected with electricity (stable power) and water supply for agricultural, industrial and household consumption. Industries can thus be located anywhere on the island.

Mauritius has a well-developed digital network infrastructure and offers excellent telecommunication facilities namely ADSL, ISDN, high bandwidth international leased lines and high-speed Internet access. The SAT3/WASC/SAFE (South Africa Far East) submarine fibre-optic cable links Mauritius to Europe via South Africa, and to Asia via India and Malaysia thus placing the island on the information superhighway.

The airport and the harbor are equipped to meet the full needs of both passenger and cargo traffic. Mauritius has regular air and sea connections with the rest of the world, with the major airlines and shipping companies servicing the island. A new airport terminal was built and was fully operational at the end of 2011.

Fully serviced industrial buildings, industrial parks and IT habitats are available for plug and play type activities. All required utilities in terms of water, electricity and telecommunications are delivered to the doorstep.

Moreover, industrialists interested in building their own factory space, can lease industrial land on a long term basis from the State Land Development Company (SLDC), at very concessionary rates.

The Ebene Cybercity, the cornerstone of Mauritius, the Cyberisland, is a new generation business park with state-of-the-art telecommunication facilities and modern office space, spread over 64 hectares.

BILINGUAL WORKFORCE

Mauritius also has a smart brand of fine professionals, most of who qualified from internationally recognized institutions and/or world class professional bodies: chartered accountants, financial analysts, corporate lawyers, tax specialists, business consultants, IT engineers, architects. Recently too, the Government of Mauritius enacted legislation encouraging young foreign professionals to set up in the country.

Benefitting from a convenient time zone that makes same-day transactions possible from US, through Europe and Middle-East up to Australasia, Mauritius is strongly emerging as a major international business platform in this region of the world.

Mauritius has the highest adult literacy rate of the whole of Africa. Mauritius is now reaping the benefits of a strong commitment to free education for all initiated in the late 70's. This highly disciplined and educated workforce is also equally fluent in English and French, while many also speak a third international language: Hindi, Mandarin, Urdu and a host of European languages. The workforce is young, 29.2% being aged less than 30 and business spirited, innovative thinking and open to the world.

BUSINESS & FINANCIAL HUB

Mauritius is a strategic business centre situated in the Indian Ocean at the cross road between Asia, Africa and Australia. It is one of the most open and financially sound economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The success of the Mauritian economy is largely a result of its political and socio-economic stability, coupled with good governance and a pro-investment climate.

Mauritius is recognised as being an excellent place for doing business. The country's adoption of international best business practices and sustainable development policies, has been acknowledged by international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) and the World Bank (WB).

The island is fully open to foreign capital, talents and ideas. Ranked 1st in the 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance and 1st in Sub-Saharan Africa and 28th globally in the World Bank Doing Business Report 2015, Mauritius is the springboard for investment and doing business in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

As a business and financial hub, Mauritius offers the following advantages:

ACCESS TO MARKETS

While endowed with a small, but increasingly affluent local population, Mauritius has secured preferential access to markets worth several hundreds of millions of consumers. With the EU, through the Cotonou agreement; with the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act; with Eastern and Southern Africa, through the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and SADC (Southern African Development Community).

Mauritian traditional investors are also very receptive to partnering with their international counterparts. An increasing number of joint ventures are being witnessed today, in the traditionally strong sectors as well as in a growing number of innovation-driven emerging sectors.

CONDUCIVE LABOUR LAWS

Employment rights and obligations in Mauritius are now governed by the new Employment Right Act 2008. This relatively new piece of legislation has been designed to cater for the needs of the modern employment environment in Mauritius, which now embodies a substantial percentage of foreign workers at all levels of the work stratum.