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The measures announced in the Budget 2023-2024 to improve the ease of doing business, review the attractiveness of financial services product and remove barriers for investors, with a view to ensuring that Mauritius remain ahead of the curve as a serious International Financial Centre, were the main highlights of the speech of the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, today, at the InterContinental Mauritius Resort in Balaclava.

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The Prime Minister was participating in the launch of AFEXtree, the capital raising platform of AFRINEX Limited, as well as the listing ceremony on AFRINEX Securities List of USD 500 million sustainable Bond due 2034 of Earthnest and of USD 1.5 billion Bond due 2034 of Xpertnest. It is recalled that AFRINEX is a pan-African Exchange, launched on 25 October 2021. Its Exchange and Clearing House are regulated by the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius.

The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; the High Commissioner of the Republic of India, Mrs K. Nandini Singla; the top management of AFRINEX; and other personalities were present too.

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The Prime Minister stressed that Mauritius International Financial Centre had seen growing expectations in terms of the number of players, product offerings and the volume of activities so much so that the Financial Services sector is currently the second largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.

The recent initiatives taken by Government in the Budget to further strengthen the sector were also listed out by Mr Jugnauth. These include the increase from 80% to 95% of the partial exemption granted in respect of interest earned by collective investment scheme or a closed-end fund established in Mauritius, leading to the effective corporate tax on interest income amounting to .75 % instead of 3%; and amendments to the Securities Act to enhance the attractiveness of Mauritius, among others.

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Moreover, in order to promote the green bond market and investment in renewable projects, he recalled the exemption from tax application on interest income derived from sustainable project, and the exemption from tax on interest income derived from bond, debentures and sukuks issued by an overseas entity to finance renewable energy projects approved by the Director General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority.

Regarding the new capital platform of AFRINEX and its latest listings, the Prime Minister deemed them timely for the country and stakeholders. He affirmed that the new products and services are essential to reaffirm the position of the Mauritius jurisdiction. “The initiative will further succeed in leveraging Mauritius as an attractive jurisdiction for issuers seeking to raise capital and for companies seeking a listing in Mauritius,” he said.

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Furthermore, Mr Jugnauth expressed his pride that AFRINEX chose Mauritius as its base location, thus bearing testimony of the trust that investors have in the jurisdiction. According to him, since its launch in October 2021, AFRINEX has evoked significant interest in both Mauritius and on the international market because of its unique value propositions of offering robust listing routes, extending trading hours, expanding multiple time zones and its state-of-the art technology platform.

The Prime Minister also averred that AFRINEX has met its primary objective of positioning itself in the region and has further consolidated the image of Mauritius International Financial Centre as one of substance. AFRINEX could play a pivotal role in paving the India-Africa corridor, while offering the stability, certainty and predictability of the Mauritius International Financial Centre to potential investors wanting to make sure that their investments were protected, he added.