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Mauritius, an East African island, many only know for its tropical beaches, but now the island state also wants to become a paradise for blockchain companies.

Since its independence as a former Dutch, French and British colony, the island state has offered one of the most successful economies in the region and has become a hub for technology and financial services. Now Mauritius is turning to the Blockchain to use it as another competitive advantage and bring more innovation to the island.

“We are working to take our economy to the next level and these kinds of technologies are very important in our approach,” said Atma Narasiah, head of the Technology, Innovation and Services Department of the Mauritian Investment Authority.

He also said:

“The blockchain is a technology on which we will focus to build competencies and ensure that it spills over into other sectors of the economy and government.

The island state has established financial services and a well-functioning information and communication technology industry. So attracting investors and companies from the blockchain and financial sector is the next logical step. “The blockchain is one of the technologies we want to advance. We see here an opportunity to overtake others,” Narasiah said.

An invitation

In its attempt to become the hub for the blockchain in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has published an open tender for companies through a Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL).

The RSL allows companies to operate in financial, medical and communications areas, even though there is no legal framework in these areas. “We have received innovative proposals for projects over the years, but have not been able to approve them due to the lack of a legal framework. We have a very good legal system, but with the speed with which technology evolves, the guidelines have not been able to keep up. That’s why we came up with the idea of the Regulatory Sandbox License in order to be able to carry out these projects anyway,” Narasiah described the situation.

The RSL is similar to similar approaches from Australia, Singapore and the UK and generally offers all companies a chance to apply. Since the RLS came into force in November 2016, 11 new project proposals have been submitted, all of them revolving around FinTech. To be accepted as a project, applicants must demonstrate that the project will be innovative and beneficial to the Mauritian economy and is not legally possible in the country of origin.

The expectations of the RSL are that the new projects will help to promote domestic and international trade and eventually lead to networking with other node states of the blockchain.

Why should Blockchain investors think about an institution in Mauritius?

Narasiah points to the strong business and leadership environment that has been internationally recognized as one of the strongest in the sub-Saharan region.

According to the World Bank, Mauritius has one of the best economic climates in the region and ranks 49th (out of 190 countries worldwide). For the calculation, the World Bank takes into account factors such as investor protection, the payment of taxpayers’ money, the possibility of starting a business, enforceability of contracts and other factors.

The World Economic Forum also noted that Mauritius has the most competitive economy and infrastructure in Africa, with highly skilled workers. Narasiah also underscored the state’s efforts to expand its communications infrastructure through free Wi-Fi on the island.

Transitions to other markets

Its stability and geographical location make Mauritius a popular place for financial services providers to venture into a new market on the African continent. There are currently many countries in Africa that have a low density of banks, providing an ideal breeding ground for the business sector.

“Mauritius is a country that many African governments emulate,” said Narasiah.