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Mauritius – where Africa’s millionaires come to play

Mauritius is the fastest growing wealth market in Africa, according to a new report from the AfrAsia Bank.

Not only are Mauritians the continent’s wealthiest population – with per capita wealth of $25 700, more than double that of second-placed South Africa – but the island’s millionaire population is growing at a brisk pace. Over the past decade, the island has seen the number of local millionaires, defined as individuals with wealth of more than $1 million – soar by 230%.

Rapid growth in Mauritian millionaire population has been assisted by the island’s robust economic growth rate but also by the migration of a large number of wealthy individuals, particularly from France and Southern Africa, over the past decade. According to the report, an estimated 280 dollar millionaires have moved to the island from South Africa alone during the past 10 years.

Many of the ultra-wealthy individuals who have flocked to the island in recent years have been attracted by the exclusive real-estate offerings available on the island – which is currently ranked as one of the top five prime property locations in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Cape Town and Sandton.

A major drawcard for foreign investors has been the various property schemes which offer investors who purchase properties within approved developments permanent residency status – including residency for their immediate families.

But Mauritius’ appeal to wealthy individuals extends beyond the luxury lifestyle of beaches and golf courses, as the country has structured its economy to ensure that it is as attractive to investors as it is to tourists.

From a business perspective, the World Bank has ranked Mauritius as the top African country for doing business, while the World Economic Forum rates Mauritius as the most competitive market on the continent.

Secure ownership rights, which are the most critical component of wealth creation globally, are strong in Mauritius, encouraging both locals and foreigners to invest in property and businesses on the island.

The influx of wealthy individuals has resulted in a thriving financial services sector. With both company and personal income tax rates pegged at just 15%, with no capital gains or inheritance taxes, ensures that Mauritius appeals to both the wealthy as well as retirees.

In line with the rise of wealth on the island, there are several new luxury developments under construction – mainly in the Grand Baie and Tamarin areas.