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Mauritius is the first jurisdiction to issue Digital Assets Custody Service Licences as from March 2019

The Mauritius International Financial Centre (the “Mauritius IFC”) is positioning itself as the FinTech hub, in and for, Africa.

The Fintech and Innovation-driven Financial Services Regulatory Committee was set up in February 2018, under the chairmanship of Lord Meghnad Desai. This Committee is committed to making Mauritius a regional hub of sound repute in the field of Fintech and to this end, has pursued discussions to build an open and transparent regulatory regime for Fintech in Mauritius. Consequently, in September 2018, Mauritius recognized digital assets, as defined by the FATF Report on Virtual Currencies of June 2014, including cryptocurrencies, as an asset class for investment by sophisticated and expert investors.

The Financial Services Commission (“FSC”), the integrated regulator for non-banking financial services and global business sectors, which is highly supportive of Fintech-related initiatives came up with a consultation paper in November 2018 that sought the feedback from the stakeholders on the proposed regulatory framework for the licensing of digital assets custodian services. This regulatory framework, which will be effective as from 1 March 2019, positions the Mauritius IFC as the first jurisdiction to offer a regulated landscape for the custody of digital assets.

Commenting on this revolutionary regulatory framework, the Prime Minister stated “In revolutionizing the global FinTech ecosystem through this regulatory framework for the custody of Digital Assets, my Government reiterates its commitment to accelerating the country’s move to an age of digitally-enabled economic growth. As an African country, we look forward to fostering further innovation and bringing more prosperity to the region.”

According to New World Wealth, the Mauritius IFC has been the fastest growing financial centre in Africa. FinTech will undoubtedly contribute to further grow the Mauritius IFC by offering value-added activities in addition to unearthing and tapping into exciting opportunities to further enhance our attractiveness and competitiveness, as a jurisdiction of choice for Fintech related activities. The Digital Assets segment is reflective of the technological innovations taking place worldwide and Mauritius is at pace with these latest advancements in the Fintech ecosystem. This new segment will attract more Fintech activities to Mauritius and help develop and expand such activities in the region.