Mauritius to become Africa’s Luxembourg with financial promotion agency for Africa
Mauritius’ Financial Services and Good Governance minister Roshi Bhadain (left) spoke of the launch of a financial promotion agency in Mauritius and noted that a department of the agency will be dedicated especially to the African continent with the target of increasing Mauritius presence in Africa, such as Luxembourg is for Europe (Image: File Photo/AfricaMoney)
The Mauritian Branch of the International Financial association (IFA) organised an event on Friday, 6 March 2015, at the Bar Council, where Mauritius’ Financial Services and Good Governance minister announced the launch of a financial promotion agency in Mauritius with a department dedicated to the African continent.
The Minister of Financial Services & Good Governance, Roshi Bhadain; the technical adviser to the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Mustupha Mosafeer, and the Managing Director of AXIS Fiduciary Ltd, Assad Abdullatif, served as distinguished speakers during the event.
Roshi Bhadain spoke of the launch of a financial promotion agency in Mauritius and noted that a department of the agency will be dedicated especially to the African continent with the target of increasing Mauritius presence in Africa, such as Luxembourg is for Europe.
He also congratulated the IFA for their initiative and highlighted that his ministry will support organisations that promote good governance, and also disclosed his vision to make Mauritius an International Financial Center. He noted that the government will put in due effort to facilitate processes to develop this sector and lay it open to new avenues.
Mustupha Mosafeer spoke of the challenges of the new peer review methodologies, highlighted that there are 29 members of which Mauritius forms part, and where debates are carried out to draft a review report.
According to Mustupha Mosafeer, after clearing the challenges of the methodologies of examination by peers, Mauritius has emerged as a country that is ‘largely complaint’ with OECD’s stringent guidelines for tax transparent jurisdictions, during both processes of examination. This process includes two phases — where the first one examines the legal and administrative framework for information exchange and phase two is about technical application.
The third important element of the process is the availability of, the access to and the exchange of, information. Mauritius is becoming a member of the Global Forum of the OECD and is seeking to crackdown on financial swindlers and tax evaders alike.
Concerning peer examination for Mauritius, Mustupha Mosafeer supported that an examination combining phases 1 and 2 began in June, 2010, and had ranked Mauritius as being ‘Largely Compliant’ in November, 2013, which was maintained during the second phase review in May, 2014.
“International cooperation will continue to strengthen with the phase 3 examination and the automatic exchange of the information in another stage,” he stated. This examination will begin in the second half of 2016.
The speaker also highlighted the implementation of the Global Forum on tax transparency and the exchange of the information for fiscal purposes follows upon a call of the forum G20 of the OECD on the tax system. The purpose of the forum is to promote the exchange of information through a robust and complete follow-up.
The implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is going to entail other challenges for efficient exchange of information.
It may be noted that Mauritius signed in October 2014 the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of information until 2018. Besides, he highlighted that the exchange of the information is a priority for the fiscal authorities.
Assad Abdullatif discussed on the theme “Opportunities and Challenges: The role Mauritius can play.”
He drew attention to the fact that Africa dominates the list of top 20 fastest growing economies in the world, has been described as an economic lion of the 21st century and opportunities are rife in almost all areas of the economy including Agriculture, Tourism, Mining, Infrastructure, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) and financial services.
Another interesting fact he shared is that the African continent has lot of millionaires and billionaires, with Nigeria contributing the richest man of the continent, Aliko Dangote, whose wealth is more than USD 22 billion.
Above all, he stressed that in answer to ‘Where does Mauritius fit in?’, the answer is that Mauritius offers a reputed financial centre, sound banking environment, dynamic stock exchange, taxation benefit and ideal location. Mauritius has 14 Double taxation treaties with African countries besides which Mauritius enjoys both cultural and geographical proximity with Africa.
Finally, he elaborated that there are presence of challenges, which are mainly investment protection, legal and fiscal uncertainty and fund repatriation. Thus, the structuring of cross border investments thus requires careful consideration of the most appropriate investment vehicle to structure the investment together with the choice of the most favorable jurisdiction to invest from.
- By Gunga Wazna