We have traditionally viewed an ageing population as economically challenging; however, it also opens up many unexpected possibilities. Elderly people need unique products and services, and this creates a market that could contribute to a stimulating industry. So, contrary to common perceptions, people of retirement age present new potential – potential known as the ‘silver economy’. Mauritius is one country that has acknowledged the economic value that elderly people bring – and has something of value to offer them in return.
Mauritius is famous for its crystalline waters, unspoiled beaches, untouched flora, rugged mountains and breathtaking views, but it has so much more to offer than beautiful scenery. In the country’s 2021/2022 National Budget, the Government of Mauritius made provision to enhance the importance of the silver economy segment as a prime economic pillar aiming to attract 50 000 non-citizen retirees to the country to spend their golden years on this beautiful island.
Mauritius is 2 040 square kilometres in size and is home to 1.3 million inhabitants from diverse origins and heritage. There is a wide variety of cuisine which would entice the most fanatic of food lovers, and the kaleidoscope of cultures is a perfect backdrop for the relaxed, peaceful lifestyle. And as the older generation is becoming a powerful economic force, the Mauritian Government is making it super-attractive for retirees to invest in and live on the island.
According to Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, there are around 962 million people over the age of 60 in the world today — more than twice as many as there were in 1980. By 2050, that number will more than double again to nearly 2.1 billion.
Bearing this in mind, the silver economy market segment has unique needs and requirements that industry must cater for. By addressing the needs of older people, companies can build a new market for their products and services while creating social value, thus boosting their own bottom lines while improving quality of life for people as they age.
The property market in Mauritius continues to attract buyers locally and from abroad. Property insights group, The Knight Frank’s ‘The Africa Report 2022/23’, calls Mauritius the “world’s most exciting continent”, and trends for 2023 point to the ongoing attraction for property investors.
Mauritius is offering three main cost-effective routes for non-citizens aged 50 years and above to live in Mauritius and fulfil their dreams as retirees:
- A 10-year Retired Residence Permit: With a monthly expenditure of 1 500 USD, a non-citizen and his/her dependants can live in Mauritius for 10 years, and this permit is renewable.
- Residency by Acquisition: Non-citizen retirees can buy a house, villa or apartment in a Property Development Scheme for senior living at no minimum price. The scheme caters for retired non-citizen adults aged 50-plus who want to live independently in a peer environment. It provides facilities for recreation and socialising, including a clubhouse, health club or gym, and more. Retired non-citizens can also buy a residential property under the conventional Property Development Scheme or Smart City Scheme for a minimum of USD 375 000.
- Premium Visa Scheme: Citizens from over 110 countries can live in Mauritius as long-stay tourists, retirees or professionals, with their families, to reside or work remotely from Mauritius. It allows foreign nationals to stay in Mauritius for a period exceeding six months up to one year with an option to renew.
In the latest ranking published by Le Figaro, Mauritius was recognised as the fourth best country in the world to retire and has been acknowledged as one of the safest countries for digital nomads in 2022 by KAYAK’s Work from Wherever Index. With its global connectivity, innovative and state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, diversified economy, dynamic business regime, political stability, and a safe environment, Mauritius is well-positioned to be a destination of choice to retire.
Healthcare is a primary focus for older people, and Mauritius offers an advanced healthcare system, including a vast choice of medical and emergency health facilities, including public and private hospitals.
Mauritius prides itself on political and social stability. It has a reputation for being a peaceful nation with low crime rates. Civil unrest is uncommon, and the country is recognised as secure and safe. International accolades such as the Global Peace Index 2021, World Happiness Report 2021, and the Mo Ibrahim Index on Good Governance have ranked Mauritius first in Africa for its commitment towards safety, happiness and good governance principles for the wellbeing of its citizens.
A significant benefit is that Mauritius does not tax wealth, inheritance, dividends or capital gains. The taxation regime is progressive from 10 to 15%. Income derived by a retired person or spouse or common-law partner outside of Mauritius for the past five years is exempted from income tax. In addition, Mauritian trusts and foundations offer several advantages for asset protection, tax planning and the preservation of wealth. For retirees looking for a conducive environment with regard to estate planning when considering a country to retire, Mauritius offers the ideal solution for the continuation of wealth.