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June 1, 2022

Mauritius Removal from FATF and EU Blacklist

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Over the years, Mauritius has successfully managed to build and maintain its image as an ideal social and economic state. It is no surprise numerous investors across the world have founded Mauritius as their investment haven.

Updated 24.12.21 and translated from FR to EN source Le Express (open a new window)

It is confirmed. As of yesterday, Mauritius is no longer on the European Union (EU) blacklist. The Mauritian jurisdiction was removed from the list on Wednesday evening
and the decision was announced at a press conference by Chief Tax Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. This
This followed the meeting of the College of EU Commissioners to review and revise the list of vulnerable countries.

After thorough deliberation, five countries were removed from the list, including Mauritius. The other four are: Bahamas, Botswana, Ghana and Iraq. On the other hand, nine others have been added. They are Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal and Sudan. This positive development comes almost two months to the day after Mauritius was removed from the FATF’s grey list on 21 October. Moreover, this decision was planned as that according to the FATF, Mauritius’ withdrawal from the EU blacklist was de facto automatic.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, we learn, was informed of this decision by the Mauritian Chancellery in Brussels on Wednesday. In addition, high-level talk between them will have been decisive.
However, at Government House, they prefer to take a cautious stance, as the decision must first be approved by the European Parliament and its Council. And must be submitted to the Council before it can be finally adopted. We learn from a Brussels source that this step is only part of a procedure whereby these institutions cannot in any way change or add to the text approved by the Commission
amend or add to the text approved by the Commission unless they have a qualified majority. But that is not the case, we are told.

These two bodies have one month to challenge the European Commission’s decision. After this period, the decision becomes effective.

The win against FATF blacklist

It is public knowledge that Mauritius was ‘blacklisted’ by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the European Union (EU). The FATF, popularly recognized by its French name, Groupe d’action financière, is an intergovernmental body established in the 1980s to develop policies to battle money laundering.

On 7 May 2020, Mauritius and 11 other nation-states were incorporated on a revised list of high-risk nations with ‘strategic drawbacks in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks’ (AML-CFT Framework).

When the FATF blacklists a state, it generally implies that the state has been placed under jurisdiction monitoring and has agreed to resolve the specified strategic drawbacks within acceded timespans.

After being included in the notorious ‘grey list,’ Mauritius wasted no time and effort to ensure the country was off that notorious list. The country had to periodically submit progress reports to the FATF, which it did. FATF representatives then scrutinize the reports and forward them for further discussion at a FATF Plenary session.

Thankfully, the plenary was pleased that all drawbacks had been remedied, and the country was duly withdrawn from the ‘grey list’. Currently, the country is successfully removed from the list of countries blacklisted by the FATF. It is indeed commendable that despite the covid-19 pandemic that hit all countries hard, Mauritius managed to remove itself from the list of blacklisted countries.

Mauritius’ Economic Relationship with Other Countries

Mauritius has successfully managed to mediate more than 8% of all Foreign Direct Investments into Africa. Managing such a feat goes a long way in showing how this jurisdiction is committed to remaining a significant commercial capital for trade, investment, and business structuring for both multinationals and high net worth people.

Mauritius is on a trajectory of attracting investments and becoming a competitive business hub for new markets. Testament to this is its solid bilateral economic relations with countries like Kenya.

Between Mauritius and Kenya exists a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) that serves as a promotional tool for foreign investment. This agreement allows tax exemptions to all Mauritius and Kenyan residents and stimulates international investments without much ambiguity.

Mauritius has for a long time been helping investors seeking a jurisdiction suitable for an ideal investment. Given the varied legal and technical facets, investors are generally advised on where and how to channel their investment.

Why would you invest in Mauritius?

For investors seeking to set up businesses in foreign countries, Mauritius is a country worth considering. The country has recently joined the list of high-income countries in Africa. It is worth noting that it reached this milestone despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the economy of most countries.

Mauritius is one of the many countries in Africa where it is easy for both locals and investors to do business.

On the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index rating, Mauritius economy is ranked highest for multiple valid reasons, including;

  • Ideal location
  • Favourable tax laws
  • Openness to foreign investment
  • Liberalization of the financial and banking sector

Mauritius has a very good tax regime that greatly favours investors, both locals and foreigners. Their most attractive tax benefits comprise of :

  • No inheritance,
  • No exchange control,
  • No wealth or gift tax; and
  • No capital gains tax

Furthermore, their Corporate tax is less than 16%. With the country’s overall tax treaty network being quite solid, it is easy to see why this country is a world-beater when it comes to attracting investors.

Wrapping it up

If you are a property investor, it is hard to argue that Mauritius is an ideal destination to invest in. Given its proximity to South Africa, many people are currently buying pieces of property and investing in the beautiful island.

The island is also a 4-hour flight to and from Johannesburg airport. Given that Johannesburg remains a major business hub, investors can easily travel to and from Mauritius and easily transact business.

If you are thinking about investing in Mauritius, it’s not too late to implement that idea. With the delisting from the UK grey list, Mauritius has never been a better place to invest. It is obvious that their commitment to remain a reputable business hub is something solid to rely on as an investor.

Steven Author of gostartbusiness

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