1. Mauritius has been described as having one of the richest technology ecosystems in Africa. Why is that?

Over the last decade, Mauritius has firmly established itself as a key location for global services delivery in Africa. The country's robust and reliable telecom infrastructure has been instrumental in driving the industry's growth, and making Mauritius an attractive place to invest in. The sector comprises of some 900 companies, employs more than 32,000 people, and hosts four of the world's leading ICT/BPO companies. It's considered a major pillar of the economy, having contributed 6.9% of the nation's total GDP in 2021.

Mauritius is connected to three international submarine networks: South Africa Far East [SAFE], Lower Indian Ocean Network [LION/LION2], and METISS, with three internet services providers. The country is set to be connected to a fourth submarine cable, T3, by the end of Q3 2023. In 2018, Mauritius became the first African country to be fully covered by fibre and boasts over 400 free wi-fi spots dotted around the island. Further to this, we have several technology parks that are equipped with all the infrastructure to cater for the needs of the sector. The country is also ranked first in Africa for its ease of doing business and is the first nation on the continent to introduce and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR].

The Mauritian jurisdiction offers the perfect ecosystem to tech companies eager to set up shop in the country, and we are hugely proud of the efforts we have made in accomplishing this goal.

  1. Are there any challenges that Mauritius currently faces that UK tech businesses should be aware of?

We are constantly on the lookout for talented individuals to join our exciting and thriving tech industry. However, finding the right people can be a challenge, not least because of the ongoing global skills shortage. To help tackle this issue, the Government of Mauritius has taken on several initiatives. For example foreign workers are eligible for an Occupation Permit that allows them to work and live in Mauritius for a period of 10 years, with an option to renew as needed. The minimum eligible monthly salary is MUR 30,000 [£535] for the ICT sector, so the vast majority of workers in this space could not only come to work in Mauritius, but also enjoy the excellent quality of living that the island offers.

Additionally, there's the Innovator Permit, which allows tech entrepreneurs to live and set up their businesses in Mauritius. It's worth noting that, under the Premium Visa, British citizens are the second largest population, comprising several digital nomads.

  1. Why should UK tech companies invest in Mauritius? What incentives are there to do so?

Mauritius has far more to offer than just immaculate golden beaches, breath-taking sights, and the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean. In addition to all this and much more, the island is a great place for UK tech companies to invest in.

For example, Mauritius gives firms access to one of the most innovative talent pools in the world and offers cost savings of around 60% to 70% on operating costs for outsourcing activities. The Government is firmly dedicated to positioning the country among the world's leading ICT nations and has an impressive track record of helping ICT activities and processes to thrive. The business environment has an excellent collaborative spirit, while the nation's legal framework aims to enable foreign investment, rather than obstruct it. These are just some of the many reasns why UK tech firms should be considering a move to Mauritius.

  1. Is the Mauritian government and private sector considering UK investors for partnership?

Mauritius is an open economy, and we are proud to welcome investors from every corner of the world. Our legal framework allows for 100% foreign ownership, so UK investors can stay firmly in control of their businesses. We already have a few British companies who operate in the local tech industry, including sdworx. Further to this, businesses like Ceridian and EbenGate have leveraged the Mauritian ecosystem for its global delivery, more specifically for the European and American markets. In the same vein, we're really excited by the prospect of new investment from the UK. With most foreign direct investment in Mauritius stemming from Europe and the UK, British investors remain hugely important to our national economy.

  1. Are there any technology industries that would receive a particularly warm welcome from Mauritius?

The country remains open to investment in the technology industry, while the Government of Mauritius is working hard to improve innovation net growth. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Blockchain and IoT have undoubtedly helped move Mauritius up the value addition. To advance this agenda, the EDB take pleasure in awarding Investment Certificates to those enterprises working in eligible new, innovative, and strategic sectors, including Digital Technology. Those companies who meet the eligibility criteria also benefit from a set of incentives that includes, among other things, an eight-year tax holiday.

  1. Earlier this month Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to your Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. Much of the discussion was regarding the strong and historic relationship between the UK and Mauritius, as close Commonwealth partners. Should this embolden UK plc to invest in Mauritius and how do you see the relationship developing between our two countries in the future?

As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the UK has long played a key role in the socio-economic development of Mauritius. Not only do many holidaymakers from Britain visit the island each year to soak up the sun, sights, and sand, the UK is one of Mauritius' largest markets for exports, particularly when it comes to textiles and fish products. Several years ago, Mauritius signed an Economic Partnership Agreement [EPA] with the UK, which came into force on 1st January 2021, strengthening the relationship between the two nations. The Mauritian parliament is even modelled on the Westminster model, and our highest court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This exemplifies just how well rooted and close our relationship is with our partners in the UK. We are confident that this relationship will only continue to strengthen with time, as further bilateral agreements on common themes are established, and more businesses from the UK discover what Mauritius' business environment has to offer.

For more information please visit: Economic Development Board of Mauritius (EDBM)