Why Mauritius Is the Best Country to Do Business in Africa
In this article, you are going to find out why Mauritius is the best country to do business in Africa.
In a world that is more connected now than ever, entrepreneurs are looking beyond their own backyards for business opportunities and growth. Companies all over the world have increasingly taken advantage of government reforms and internet tools to expand sales, diversify customer bases, counter-seasonal fluctuations, and mitigate risk by reducing dependence on a single market. With tax incentives and low barriers to entry, the risk to set up shop abroad could be much lower than you think.
One country in Africa that has set the pace in the ease of doing business is Mauritius. Mauritius moved seven places to 13th out of 190 countries according to the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2020. The country remains 1st in Africa. Amidst a fast-changing global landscape, Mauritius has consistently transformed its business environment and improved its Ease of Doing Business ranking over recent years, from 49th in 2016 to 13th in 2019. This consolidates the country’s ongoing efforts to make Mauritius the leader in business facilitation in Africa and to be among the most business-friendly countries in the world.
So what makes Mauritius better than every other country in Africa for doing business? You will find out in this article.
- Social and political stability
This is the number one concern of any investor before anything else and Mauritius provides this amply. The country has a strong and stable democracy and is one of Africa’s most democratic. The island nation is also Africa’s most peaceful with a peace index of 1.51 and the 21st most peaceful country in the world. That is music to the ears of investors looking for where to do business.
- A healthy 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 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.
- Availability of skilled workers
Mauritius has a smart brand of fine professionals, most of who qualified from internationally recognized institutions and world-class professional bodies. This includes chartered accountants, financial analysts, corporate lawyers, tax specialists, business consultants, IT engineers and architects. Recently too, the Government of Mauritius enacted legislation encouraging young foreign professionals to set up in the country. The country also has one of Africa’s highest adult literacy rates at 91%.
- Ease of setting up business and paying taxes
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. The country with no exchange control and Mauritius also has signed non-double taxation agreements with 33 countries.
Mauritius has a well-developed network of infrastructure across the country. The country has an extensive and well-maintained road infrastructure, a modern and efficient port capable of berthing vessels up to 100 meters. The country also has a web of sea links and direct air connections with several cities around the world. Other infrastructures include high band fibre cable connectivity, a reliable fixed and mobile telephone network, express courier service providers and freight forwarders, fully serviced business and industrial parks, a free port, well equipped and comfortable offices. 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, the government has already invested massively and has committed large sums of funds for the continuous upgrading of the overall infrastructure.
- A bilingual workforce
Mauritius has one of the highest adult literacy rates in Africa and 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. What better asset for a new company than a highly skilled workforce who are young and bilingual?
- Financial hub
Mauritius is recognized 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.
- 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 piece of legislation has been designed to cater to 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.
At this point, are you already thinking of moving to Mauritius to start a business? What are your thoughts about the Mauritian economy? Please share them in the comment section. If you enjoyed this piece, kindly share it. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa, now is a good time to do so. Until next time, remember that YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS.