Mauritius the fastest wealth growing market in Africa

According to Andrew Amoils, the Head of Research at New World Wealth based in South Africa, Mauritius has strong fundamentals for wealth growth including: solid ownership rights, a free and independent media, a strong banking system, a growing stock market, low tax rates and a low level of government regulation in the local business sector.

At the end of 2015, there were approximately 3,200 US$ millionaires living in Mauritius, with combined wealth holdings of US$12 billion. 140 of these were multi-millionaires (each with wealth of US$10 million or more).

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Mauritius rates as one of the top five prime property locations in Sub Saharan Africa (along with Cape Town, Umhlanga, Plettenberg Bay and Sandton).

Population: 1.3 million.

GDP per capita (current prices): US$11,000.

Wealth per capita: US$21,700.

Total individual wealth held in country: US$28 billion.

Wealth performance: 160% growth since 2007.

2016 wealth growth forecast: 12%.

10 year wealth growth forecast: 130%.

Number of millionaires living in country: 3,200.

Number of multi-millionaires living in country: 140.

Main religions: Hinduism, Christianity.

Main sectors: Financial Services, Tourism, Real Estate.

Fastest growing sectors: Healthcare, Technology.

Prime property price: US$4,500 per square meter*

Prime property performance (US$ terms): 33% growth since 2007.

2016 property price growth forecast (US$ terms): 6%.

10 year property price growth forecast (US$ terms): 40%.

 *refers to the cost of a 200 meter luxury apartment or villa in prime part of the island.

The number of US$ millionaires living in Mauritius has increased by 340% since 2000, to reach 3,200 in 2015, and this number is expected to rise by another 130% over the next 10 years, reaching 7,400 by 2025, making it the fastest growing African market for millionaires over this period.

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Even more impressively, since the “so-called” peak before the financial crisis (the end of 2007), millionaire numbers in Mauritius have risen by 160%, which makes Mauritius one of the top five performing markets in the world over this period. Note: most countries worldwide have experienced negligible or negative millionaire growth since 2007.

The strong growth in millionaires in Mauritius has been driven by:

  • Strong economic growth.
  • Migration – a large number of wealthy individuals have moved there over the past decade, especially from France and Southern Africa. We estimate that 240 millionaires have moved there from South Africa alone since 2007.
  • It has become a major retirement destination.
  • Secure ownership rights. This is the most critical component of successful wealth creation globally. Ownership rights are very strong in Mauritius, which encourages locals and foreigners to invest in property and businesses in the country. Neighboring Zimbabwe offers a case in point as to what happens when ownership rights are stripped – once assets are taken away they tend to lose value as no one is willing to buy anything.
  • Low taxes which encourage business formation and appeal to retirees. Company and personal income tax rates are only 15%, with no inheritance or capital gains tax.
  • Automatic permanent residency if one buys a US$500,000+ home in the country.
  • A thriving and growing financial services sector, particularly in offshore banking, fund management and private banking.
  • Low level of government regulation in the business sector (when compared to nearby countries such as South Africa which has exchange controls, high taxes, big trade unions and hiring requirements).
  • Lifestyle – beaches, weather and scenery.
  • Low crime rate.
  • Ease of doing business in the country (Mauritius ranked 1st in Africa in the World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business Report).
  • Low jobless rate and low inflation rate.
  • It has a well-developed banking system and stock exchange. This encourages people to invest their money within the country and grow their wealth locally. It also ensures that any economic growth filters through to wealth creation.
  • Individuals living in Mauritius are free to invest overseas (with no exchange controls) – this encourages wealthy people to use the country as a business and investment hub.
  • It has a well-developed free media. This prevents government from getting away with wrong doing.
  • It is a convenient base for investing and doing business in Southern and East Africa.

Some additional factors that are encouraging wealthy people to move to the island include:

  • Good schools such as Northfields and International Preparatory School (IPS).
  • Access to first class food & produce – prime shopping centers, food lovers market.

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Port Louis

Port Louis is the capital and economic center of Mauritius. Major industries in the city include: financial services, transport, tourism and manufacturing. Emerging sectors there include: healthcare, media and technology.

Notably, Port Louis is expected to be the fastest growing African city for millionaires over the next 10 years.

Other notable findings:

  • Mauritius is the wealthiest country in Africa (on a wealth per capita basis). The average person living there is worth approximately US$21,700, which is well above 2nd placed South Africa (US$10,300).
  • Residential property constitutes around 22% of the wealth of an average millionaire living on the island.
  • In line with the rise of wealth on the island, there are several new luxury developments going up, many of which are golf estates.
  • Popular pastimes for millionaires in Mauritius include: equity investing, fishing, golf, surfing, scuba-diving, snorkeling and travelling to game reserves in nearby countries (such as South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and Botswana).
  • Popular luxury investments for millionaires in Mauritius include: private jets, yachts, luxury 4x4s and luxury watches.

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Notes and definitions:

  • “Wealth” refers to the net assets of a person. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equity, business interests) less any liabilities.
  • “Millionaires” refer to individuals with wealth of US$1 million or more.
  • “Multi-millionaires” refer to individuals with wealth of US$10 million or more.
  • For the purposes of this report, local millionaires and multi-millionaires include all individuals who are living or working in country, including expats.

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