The number of millionaires on the offshore island of Mauritius has grown by 20% in the last year, making it the fastest growing wealth market in Africa, according to a study from intelligence firm New World Wealth.
The report, which details the performance of high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) in selected African countries between 2006 and 2016, placed Mauritius at the top in the continent for HNWIs, with a growth of 230%. HNWIs refer to individuals with wealth of $1 million or more.
The strong growth in millionaires in Mauritius has been driven by the relocation of large number of wealthy individuals over the past decade, especially from France and Southern Africa. Ownership rights are strong in Mauritius, which encourages locals and foreigners to invest in property and businesses in the country.
It is estimated that 280 millionaires have moved there from South Africa alone since 2006.
“Individuals living in Mauritius are free to invest overseas (with no exchange controls) – this encourages wealthy people to use the country as a business and investment hub,” the report said.
This has created a growing financial services sector, particularly in offshore banking, fund management and private banking, said AfrAsia, the Mauritius based bank that ordered the study.
The offshore tax jurisdiction also offers automatic permanent residency to individuals who buy a $500,000 home in the country and low taxes which appeals to wealthy individuals and retirees.
The trend is expected to continue over the next decade with analysts expecting to see an increase of millionaires by 130% in Mauritius, followed by Ethiopia and Rwanda at 100%.