A haven for investments into markets

Mauritius’s financial markets are gaining recognition as a safe haven and launch pad for investments into Africa and Asia. Good regulation, flexibility and low taxation have helped make its offshore sector – known locally as ‘global business’ – internationally competitive, and this year the innovative Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) has started listing offshore companies and global funds with new listings rules.

In the global rankings, Mauritius is top-rated for ease of doing business and economic freedom, and yet cooperates fully with international initiatives against money laundering and international regulators, including those in banking, securities markets and insurance.

The first offshore listing on SEM in March 2012 was Evisa Investments, a holding company whose primary investment is Cannon Assurance, incorporated in Kenya since 1967. In June, Rockcastle Global Real Estate started trading after raising funds to invest in listed and unlisted real estate securities and properties worldwide. SEM chief executive Sunil Benimadhu says 12 funds have been listed, investing into sustainable equity, real estate and other opportunities in Africa and elsewhere.

As a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges, one of three African exchanges to attain this standard, SEM is moving fast to become a multi-product exchange with international focus. It pledges speedy handling of listing applications and low listing fees that help it compete with the exchanges in Luxembourg, Ireland and Bermuda. Of its future plans, Benimadhu says, “We aim to move up the value chain of products into global funds, global business companies, exchange-traded funds, Africa-focused niche products, derivatives and government securities.”


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