Over the last couple of decades, Mauritius has diversified, moving from a mono-crop sugar industry to a multi-sectoral economy. After the emergence of financial services in the early 90s, fintech has become a key next pillar on which the authorities and key players are now focusing.
In its essence, Fintech is the technology applied to assist financial services and other firms in executing enhanced transactional operations. The industry has evolved from back-end data centres to comprehensive and innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, robotic process automation and cloud services.
One of the first moves towards enabling fintech development in Mauritius was the introduction of the Regulatory Sandbox Licence (RSL) in September 2018. The members of the RSL committee included the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the Bank of Mauritius (BoM), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the State Law Office (SLO), along with a host of top-tier international fintech consultants. The committee’s early role was to consider fintech business applications in the absence of a regulatory framework at the time.
Gradually, new regulations were put in place to encompass businesses operating in the fintech space. These included a raft of changes in 2019 such as the Custody of Digital Assets, a tightening of the definitions around Security Tokens, and the opening out of peer-to-peer lending. The FSC has also issued guidance notes on the recognition of digital assets – including cryptocurrencies – for investment by sophisticated and expert investors as well as a guidance note on Securities Token Offerings (STOs).
The RSL Committee meets on a regular basis to consider the growing request for licenses to operate within the jurisdiction. It aims at giving entrepreneurs the right to conduct their respective businesses for which the regulatory and legal frameworks are not yet in place in Mauritius. The licenses are issued for an initial period of one year to allow the promoters to develop the prototype and the regulatory framework to be developed.
Coupled with this robust regulatory framework, an overall business-friendly environment and its proximity to Africa, Mauritius has grown into an ideal platform to incubate fintech projects related to the continent. With the country fast becoming a knowledge hub for Africa, many African students arriving for higher education adds yet more credibility to the jurisdiction in this respect.
The Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub was also set up in late 2019, with the aim of bringing together local tech entrepreneurs and early-stage investors.
A number of companies, particularly those focused on Africa, have already adopted Mauritius as their fintech launchpad. These initiates include developing software for multi-currency platforms, building payment assistance solutions and publishing software for online games.
Mauritius’s reputation as a gateway for capital flows into Africa enables the country to facilitate and advocate a new wave of investment in the fintech space. As the only International Financial services centre and also a member of all the major African regional organisations, Mauritius has played an important role as a source of investment for low-income countries.
How AXYS can assist?
At AXYS, we are closely monitoring the evolution of fintech and we have already been involved in a few initiatives. We would be delighted to hear from about your fintech projects and discuss how we could potentially provide you with valuable support.
We are also able to provide you with assistance concerning your corporate structuring needs in Mauritius and Africa, as well as providing you with the required support with fundraising in line with your business objectives.