Many wealthy South Africans are opting for the island life in Mauritius as the island emerges not only as a hub for international capital, but an attractive lifestyle destination that offers financial and tax security.
"Mauritius is more than just a ‘jurisdiction of choice'. It's a country where people can live comfortably, raise their children in a safe environment, retire, invest and do real business. This is what really sets Mauritius apart from other offshore jurisdictions," Vidish Jugurnauth, a director at Sovereign Trust (Mauritius) Limited told Business Tech.
Coreen van der Merwe, managing director of Sovereign Trust, said growing numbers of South Africans are looking at Mauritius as a ‘Plan B', instead of more traditional emigration destinations like Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Mauritius offers one of the most progressive investment environments in the world"
"Mauritius offers one of the most progressive investment environments in the world. Setting up a business there is quick and easy, and there's already a sizeable community of South African expats, making it familiar and easily accessible," said Van der Merwe.
The island is fast-paced in its overall growth, seeking to expand its outreach globally and trying to keep up with global trends such as financial technology and blockchain.
Jonty Leon, tax attorney at Tax Consulting SA, added that Mauritius is just "a hop-skip-and-a-jump" from South Africa. This makes it still accessible to the "home of the heart", but it gives South Africans the benefit of being outside SA's monetary area for exchange control and tax purposes.
South Africans have long been among the leading foreign purchasers of residential property in Mauritius, according to statistics by the Mauritian Board of Investments. Occupation and residence permits are freely available to foreigners wishing to work, invest, live or retire in Mauritius.
"Ownership rights are very strong in Mauritius, which encourages locals and foreigners to invest in property and businesses in the country," said Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth. Other incentives include low taxes (company and personal income tax rates are only 15%), no inheritance or capital gains tax and a low level of government regulation in the local business sector. The island has a skilled and bilingual (English/French) workforce and boasts a peaceful, multicultural environment.
Mauritius' financial services sector has grown rapidly in the past 20 years, to the point where it now positions itself as the gateway to Africa.