Delisting of Mauritius from EU list of high-risk third countries
We are delighted that the European Commission (“EU Commission”) - through Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner of Economy - has announced at a press conference on 22 December, 2021, that the AML/CFT list will be updated and Mauritius will be delisted from the list of High-Risk Third Countries.
While procedural, this decision would need to receive the approval of the European Parliament within one month, following which the delisting of Mauritius will be formalised through the updated list of High-Risk Third Countries to be issued by the EU Commission.
The announcement of the EU Commission follows the exit of Mauritius from the FATF grey list on 21 October 2021 following the significant progress made in addressing the strategic AML/CFT deficiencies identified earlier by the FATF.
This development further positions Mauritius itself as a jurisdiction of substance with a robust AML/CFT system levelled to the enhanced global requirements.
Mauritius reopens borders to travellers from South Africa and neighbouring countries
After nearly a month and a half long closure, the Mauritian Government has announced in a communique released on Thursday 6 January 2022 that the travel ban for visitors coming from the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia has been lifted.
The reopening is effective as from today, Friday 7 January 2022. As such, commercial passenger flights from South Africa and the neighbouring countries to Mauritius can resume.
With the health and safety of incoming travellers and the local population remaining a priority, concerned authorities are maintaining stringent Covid-19 travel protocols. Together with the ongoing roll out of booster doses for double vaccinated locals, we are confident that Mauritius remains a tourism destination that exudes secure travelling and high hospitality standards vis-à-vis international counterparts.
Mauritius: Africa’s Investment Hub
As Africa garners increasing amounts of interest from foreign investors, Mauritius provides the complete toolbox to help facilitate businesses with ambitions on the continent. Its dynamic and established business ecosystem is matched by its appetite for innovation and commitment to educating its populous, factors making Mauritius Africa's intravenous investment vessel of choice.
The latest statistics from the Financial Services Commission clearly demonstrates that Mauritius’ role as an International Finance Centre is becoming integral for entities wishing to invest in the African continent.
For the past 8 years, about 80% of the new corporate structures which Imara Trust (with its footprint in Africa) has been setting up and successfully administering, carry out business or hold investments in various African countries. We are very confident that Africa will keep on attracting international investments in the many years to come and that Mauritius will continue its journey to permanently establish itself as the IFC of choice for the region.
Regulatory Framework for Crowdfunding
The Financial Services (Crowdfunding) Rules 2021 has come into operation and sets out to establish a regulatory framework for this new form of financial access.
During the launch of the Regulatory Framework on Crowdfunding in November 2021, the minister of Financial Services and Good Governance highlighted in his keynote address that “Crowdfunding represents a valuable addition to the plethora of products which we have been introducing and will soon prove to be one of the strongest and one of the most popular components of our financial ecosystem”. He emphasised on the importance of helping SMEs to “get off the ground, grow and succeed” and added that “Crowdfunding will be supporting various agendas from Fintech to Blockchain, from Green to Blue, from Sustainability to the Environment. Through the Ministry and the FSC, we are focusing on those policies that will boost investor confidence and trust in our system”.
The Robotic and Artificial Intelligence Enabled Advisory Services license
The Government of Mauritius has introduced the Robotic and Artificial Intelligence Enable Advisory Services Licence (the “Licence”) to encourage organisations in Mauritius to put in place emerging technologies. The Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”) has issued the Financial Services (Robotic and Artificial Intelligence Enabled Advisory Services) Rules 2021 (the “Rules”).
As per the rules, the holder of the said licence will be entitled to provide digital and personalized advisory services (including discretionary and non-discretionary investment and portfolio management services) through a computer program and/or artificial intelligence enabled algorithms with limited human intervention.
Promulgation of DTAA between Mauritius and Germany
Further to the amendments brought to the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between Mauritius and Germany, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development is set to promulgate the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (Federal Republic of Germany) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. Having at core compliance with the Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting project recommendations, a Protocol was signed on 29 October 2021 to amend the DTAA between the two jurisdictions.
2021 Legatum Prosperity Index: Mauritius remains the most prosperous country in Africa
With nations charting their way in and out of an undisturbed pandemic, the latest Legatum Prosperity Index (the “Index"), released in October 2021, concluded once again on prosperity stalling across the World. The Index, which serves as a guide in assessing economic and social wellbeing across 167 nations, cites the ‘health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic’ as well as a weakening of the core features that underpin prosperity as reasons for this stagnation.
Mauritius ranked 45th worldwide (2020 rank: 44th ) and maintained the top spot in the Sub-Saharan region in the 2021 Index. Classifying in the top 50 for seven of the Index’s 12 pillars, the country has done exceptionally well across three areas, namely Governance, Social Capital and Investment Environment. It is also to be noted that despite the Sub-Saharan region being the least prosperous, it was the only other region – besides Eastern Europe – which recorded an improvement in 2021
Global Mobility Report Q4 2021: Mauritius maintains 2nd spot in Africa
Amid the travel industry struggling to rebound from the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, Henley and Partners came out with its latest Global Mobility report, where it delivered valuable insight on the latest trends for the last quarter of 2021. Although far from pre-pandemic levels, the steady rise of international flights is presenting a hopeful case for fast recovery.
At the 33rd position globally (1Q3: 31st ), Mauritius has retained its spot as having the second most travel friendly passport in Africa behind Seychelles (29th), providing visa-free/visa-on arrival access to 146 destinations.