A Focus On Changing The Narrative Of How Africans Conduct Business
By Keseena Chengadu*
Over the last decade of working in the corporate world, I have witnessed the huge impact and advantages that international corporations and other multinational companies and conglomerates benefit by just using Mauritius as an ideal jurisdiction to springboard or expand their growth and operations from Europe to Africa and vice versa.
Being the perfect bridge between both markets, Mauritius offers a compliant and reliable platform for doing business, with an array of network agreements comprising several Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements with African and international states that gives global investors, traders, and private equity companies a preferential access to a number of key African markets and hundreds of millions of customers.
Mauritius being an African country is an equally competitive jurisdiction compared to several other International Financial Jurisdictions with even more added advantages comparatively. yet today, Africans have more of a tendency to set up their Operational HQ, fund structures, raise capital and personal or corporate bank accounts in other continent rather than use one of their own sister countries. It seems Pan-Africanism has become a romantic sentimental idea that we debate rather than actioning via patriotism.
In other words, how do we expect to grow Africa and make African companies appealing to the world if we don’t patronise, nurture or enable our own to expand into the world? The solutions to the mistreatment of Africans as second-class citizens are in the hands of Africans. We as Africans are responsible for creating an Africa that is politically stable, intellectually empowered and socioeconomically integrated, a stable continent that presents real growth opportunities. Once Africans start taking themselves seriously the world will follow.
Quite recently I had a business consultation with a client who wanted to expand his business operations into Africa but was hesitant on the recommendations of Mauritius simply because of its location being in Africa. Despite Mauritius ticking all the facts in the box as the best solution for his business needs, he still harboured a level of resentment from him because psychologically, he has been made to think it will look rather good on paper to use a jurisdiction that is EU standard- a typical legacy of psychological slavery.
Mauritius is a fully collaborative and responsible international financial centre that has taken significant steps to adhere to international best practices. It is a member of the Early Adopters Group committed to the early implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) on the automatic exchange of financial account information while the OECD Global Forum has rated Mauritius as a “Largely Compliant” jurisdiction – a rating which equals that obtained by developed economies such as the US, the UK and Germany. It was the first African country to sign up to an Intergovernmental Agreement with the US for the implementation of the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and has joined the OECD’s Inclusive Framework to implement the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations and the new initiative on exchange of beneficial ownership information.
Mauritius is a beacon of political, social and economic stability notably acclaimed for its business-friendly and investment-friendly jurisdiction, with sound legal and regulatory frameworks, and a transparent and internationally compliant jurisdiction.
The African market has always been undervalued or devalued across the world. So often I come across stakeholders paralyzed by fear and hesitant to use or do business in Africa!
The narratives remain the same.
*Keseena Chengadu is CEO & Co- Founder at Órama Corporate Services