Mauritius touted as Singapore of Africa
MAURITIUS is becoming increasingly important in the structuring of Australian METS business into Africa. Liquidity is increasing in Mauritius because of an inflow of cash from Africa . . .
PERTH — Australian resources and investment entities looking for opportunities to gain a foothold across the African continent have been urged to use the small island state of Mauritius, off Africa’s east coast, as their gateway.
Speaking at the Paydirt 2018 Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, Sanjiv Bhasin, Chief Executive of AfrAsia Bank, said Mauritius was unusual in the combination of financial, taxation, investment and political regimes it could offer international investment communities wanting to expand, or to tap into Africa’s exploration, project development and mining opportunities.
He pointed to Mauritius’ simple tax jurisdiction, its access to 44 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs), and a network of Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) which offered full investment protection in key African nations.
Bhasin said the IPPAs guaranteed Mauritian investment in regard to expropriation and social unrest in contracting states, while also providing arrangements for settlement of disputes between investors and contracting states.
“That is the sort of investment comfort Australian miners and explorers are looking for in joint venture and other commercial partnerships covering African resources projects,” he said.
Bhasin also urged Australia’s resources players to utilise what he called “Mauritius’ efficient investment structures pertaining to Africa”.
“This includes multi-currency capital raisings in every form, from debt to equity, backed by an OECD-compliant jurisdiction and regional arbitration centre,” he said.
“The Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) also offers the potential for a dual Mauritian-Australian Stock Exchange listing, and that has appeal.”
Addressing the same conference at a break-out session, Kareena Neisius, Vice President of the newly-formed Australian Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius, emphasised the importance of Mauritius as a hub for Africa for Australian State Government trade representatives.