AfriAsia Bank limited, a financial bank based in Mauritius, is offering its services to African markets as an alternative to London as an international financial centre.
“Mauritius is an African country and has tailored [business] for the African market, for instance the double taxation agreements that they have with 14 African countries,” Colin Grieve, chief representative officer of Afriasia Bank South Africa, told CNBC Africa.
The decision has been influenced by the economic freedom which has been taking place on the Island in the last decade. This has led to an improvement in GDP growth rate of 4.1 per cent in 2014 compared to 3.7 per cent in 2013.
“The emergence of the South paradigm has led to trade between Africa and Asia. South African companies are buying into the African growth story, and are realising [they] should be looking at other financial centres closer to home,” said Grieve.
The international corporate community has embraced the free economic regulations of Mauritius. According to the Ease of Doing Business Index 2013, the World Economic Forum ranked Mauritius as the number one country in Africa to conduct business practise.
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AfriAsia Bank limited have acquired licensing from the South African Reserve Bank to establish a financial boutique in Johannesburg and have expanded to Cape Town. The South African establishment aims to create better financial relations between South African business and Mauritian trade markets.
Mauritius is geographical placed on the south east side of Africa allowing convenient logistics for African, Asian and European entities to trade utilising Mauritian port facilities.
(READ MORE:Mauritius-Africa trade routes must be developed)
Successful South African corporates such as Shoprite, MTN and Pam Golding Properties already have a footprint in Mauritius and Grieve foresee improvement in relations between the two countries.
“Mauritius is a member of COMESA [which includes] 19 African countries. The South African corporates are with the best when it comes to business. Some of the largest listed JSE companies have treasury operations in Mauritius, [and] yes, business is booming,” said Grieve.
BY THANDO MATUTU