For the past few years Mauritius has been implementing a plan to become a hub for African Fintech. Much of this is provided by the stable regulatory and financial environment that has been forged over the last couple of decades. This includes the bilateral treaties for tax, reciprocity and protection of investments, as well as the bilingual, educated workforce that has developed in the financial services sector. However, external expertise in FinTech has been sought for many years to make sure that Mauritius is ahead of the curve. Mauritius has set up the fantastic Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub, the innovative Regulatory Sandbox Licence, has accepted digital assets (necessarily including cryptocurrency) as assets and even allows STOs. It still has some way to go and banking here is still a problem for anything too entwined with cryptocurrency.
Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub
The Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) has been set up with assistance from the Mauritius government and Economic Development Board to bring some substance to the environment needed to promote Mauritius on this front. This hub brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, government agencies and corporates, as well as working with other African Fintech Hubs to allow financial service providers and Fintech companies to work together to create products in a safe, innovative and nurturing environment. They were even giving free office space for those wanting it!
Regulatory Sandbox Licence
The Regulatory Sandbox Licence was created to enable innovative businesses to exist where there is no current legal or regulatory framework. It is run in Mauritius through the Economic Development Board, and allows companies to start, in a well-defined and controlled manner allowing the authorities to understand it and either work to draft new legislation or find another way to keep innovation alive. This is predominantly aimed at Fintech projects but ultimately it is open to any RegTech, PropTech, EdTech etc.
The Digital Custodian Licence
The Custodian Services (Digital Asset) Licence was enabled in 2019 to create a licence for those who want to store digital assets on another’s behalf. The Financial Services (Custodian Services (Digital Assets)) Rules 2019 came into operation in March 2019. Most of us are familiar with the role of a Custodian and this simply allows the licencee to offer the facility to hold digital assets. In a September 2018 Guidance Note the FSC has recognised digital assets as an asset class for sophisticated and expert investors.
Security Token Offerings
Since digital assets are deemed Securities, it follows that a Security Token Offering is regulated in Mauritius by the Securities Act. Thanks to Guidance Notes issued by the FSC, Securities Token Offerings and Security Token Trading Systems are both permitted and provided for and this is another string to the bow for FinTech in Mauritius.
There have been substantial innovation incentives for FinTech in Mauritius, from an 8 year tax holiday in the latest budget for IP created here, to an amendment to the investor Permit, whereby innovator investors have less onerous conditions to get residence here and set up. Recent legal changes include a licensing framework for the custody of digital assets. Wherever there are no regulations in place for a particular type of FinTech activity, there is the Regulatory Sandbox Licence (RSL), which allows those operating to have a licence and jurisdiction whilst the laws and regulations catch up.
TBI can be used by those looking to come over for many facets of this. We can help to bring together Fintech-savvy service providers for each of the services that you will likely need. From Management companies to get a GBC licence, to law firms to advise, occupation and residency permits to apply for, we would be your local business partners to guide you on the way, avoiding the pitfalls that many encounter. Our partners can even help you find a villa to live, schools for your children and help embed you in the diverse community here.
Please get in touch to find out more.