Appleby is an elite offshore law firm that operates 10 offices around the globe. We spoke with Malcolm Moller, Managing Partner of Appleby Mauritius, to learn about the benefits of the Mauritius jurisdiction.
As a highly renowned offshore legal specialist, how would you assess the unique advantages of the Mauritius jurisdiction?
Mauritius is an offshore centre of substance and is recognized by leading financial institutions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), and the International Financial Services Board (IFSB). Mauritius is a well-positioned platform for investment and doing business in Africa, Middle East and Asia and is also internationally recognised for its governance framework, ease of doing business and investor-friendly environment. It is ranked first in Africa for political and economic stability with solid governance institutions. Mauritius is a worldwide reference for political stability and sovereign state with its constitution modelled on the British parliamentary system with the highest court of appeal being the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.
What kind of legal environment does Mauritius provide for international investors?
Mauritius is the most liberalized country on the African continent and the most user-friendly for business; it is a peaceful, multi-ethnic country and it offers a unique lifestyle in a mixture of cultures. It has a qualified bi-lingual (French and English) workforce working within a favourable social and regulatory regime. Mauritius is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and a member of the International Court of Justice. Investment security is ensured through international commitments. There is no exchange control in Mauritius, the free movement of capital is the rule; there are no taxes on dividends, capital gains or on wealth; there are no taxes on inheritance rights for direct descendants – profits and dividends are repatriable without any restrictions.
How would you rate Mauritius’ competitiveness as Africa’s IFC?
There are several benefits of using Mauritius for legal work in Africa, from commercial factors (bilingualism and hybrid legal system, as well as factors to reduce risk such as investment promotion and protection agreements) to fiscal considerations (such as the range of double taxation avoidance treaties).
What have been the major changes that have affected Mauritius’ economic and business environment over the last few years, and how has the country responded?
The amendments to the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between Mauritius and India will obviously have an impact on the flow of investment into India from Mauritius but Mauritius is robust and it reacts quickly and positively to change. There are still opportunities and advantages of using Mauritius for other types of investors. For example, the bilateral investment protection treaties with 20+ countries around the world are still attractive to equity investors and private equity funds in particular. The risk of these investments is considered to be lowered by virtue of the fact that these funds can attract investors from anywhere in the world and they will not be exposed to the Indian compliance regime.