The FinTech revolution is continuously gaining in momentum
In the midst of the digital revolution that is being experienced by the Financial Services sector in Mauritius and as an avant-garde jurisdiction, the country already possesses the right ecosystem to assist the global ambitions of FinTech companies. The use of mobile apps is embedded in the average Mauritian’s everyday life while the country already provides services such as digital insurance, mobile banking amongst others.
Several enterprises, particularly those aiming towards Africa, are already using Mauritius as a viable FinTech platform. For such institutions, with its facilitating business environment and its array of Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (IPPAs); Mauritius can be considered as a safe IFC that acts as a buffer between source jurisdictions and recipient African states. The stable business climate, well-established corporate governance culture in Mauritius, favourable time zone, excellent connectivity and highly-educated labour, mitigate the high-risk profile of certain African countries.
Furthermore, Mauritius offers advantages which provides an optimal internet connectivity and hosts a number of international IT companies as well as FinTech start-ups. Boasting a workforce of above 30,000 multilingual professionals working in the ICT sector, Mauritius can be used as a test-bed for experimenting FinTech products before disseminating them to the wider global market.
Building a FinTech hub
With a robust regulatory system and a vibrant Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) ecosystem, Mauritius is actively capitalising on path-breaking initiatives and opportunities to develop a FinTech hub as a new pillar for sustaining its future growth. Innovation-driven financial services are at the forefront of the objectives of Mauritius, notably the fostering of a dynamic financial system grounded with novel ways of doing business and managing finance.
Mauritius has accordingly implemented a wide spectrum of policies and measures, such as:
- Regulatory Sandbox License for promoters and stakeholders to conduct a business activity for which there exists no legal framework. The RSL will henceforth be issued by the Financial Services Commission and the Bank of Mauritius respectively, depending on the nature of the project.
- Mauritius has leapfrogged as one of the prominent jurisdictions in the world to issue Custodian Services Licence for Digital Assets.
- Digital Assets are duly recognised through the Financial Services (Custodian services (digital asset)) Rules 2019.
- The establishment of the FinTech and Innovation-Driven Financial Services Regulatory Committee has been instrumental to assist in developing the regulatory framework since 2018.
- Mauritius as an international financial centre and growing FinTech hub is among the first countries in the Eastern and Southern African region which is in the process of adopting a comprehensive legislation on virtual assets (VAs) and initial token offerings (ITOs) by way of the Virtual Asset and Initial Token Offerings Services Act 2021. The Act, which is yet to be proclaimed before coming into force, will regulate the new and developing business activities surrounding VAs and ITOs and makes provisions for, inter alia, managing, mitigating and preventing money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation risks associated with VA and ITO services.
- The FinTech revolution is continuously gaining in momentum with the introduction of new regulatory frameworks for peer to peer lending (which offers online and flexible alternative for prospective borrowers to have access to funding) and securities token offerings, and special guidance notes for the recognition of Digital Assets as a new asset class for sophisticated and expert investors.
- The Bank of Mauritius announced that it will introduce the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) very soon.
- The FSC also launched the Regulatory Framework on Crowdlending in November 2021
- Innovation labs will be set up by the Bank of Mauritius and Financial Services Commission respectively