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Citizenship-by-investment programs are on the rise in Africa

A growing number of African nations are looking to attract high-net-worth individuals by offering residence and citizenship through investment programs

By Seth Onyango, bird story agency

African economies looking to attract fresh investments are turning to innovative programs that offer residence and dual citizenship opportunities to investors with deep pockets.

Migration investment programs allow people to purchase citizenship or residency in exchange for an investment in a country.

Namibia and Henley & Partners, the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, have unveiled a Residence by Investment Program to attract foreign investment and boost the country’s economic growth.

Foreigners seeking Namibian residency must purchase real estate valued at least $316,000 at President’s Links Estate.

The estate on the Bay of Whales offers access to a pristine coastal area famous for its high-quality seafood and stunning vistas. It also boasts eco-friendly modern homes, villas, and world-class amenities.

“It provides many opportunities for international investors seeking a foothold and growth on the African continent, including tax incentives, syndicate financing, and a one-stop bureau service for international companies,” H&P said.

Investment migration programs

Europe holds the crown for investment migration programs in 2023, with H&P placing Europe at the top of it ‘s latest index for residence and citizenship programs.

Although Africa’s residence by investment market is relatively new, a few states are joining the fray.

Foreign investors in the Mauritius Residence by Investment Program must purchase luxury real estate valued at a minimum of $375,000 from six eligible real estate projects.

Mauritius offers six real estate projects: Integrated Resort, Real Estate, Property Development, Invest Hotel, Smart City, and Ground +2 Apartment. Each project provides specific benefits and requirements that focus on promoting sustainable development and attracting investment.

Mauritius’ neighbor in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles, offers permanent residence (a “golden visa”) and citizenship to high-net-worth investors, depending on the investment amount.

Interested investors need to fork out at least $1 million to be eligible for Seychelles’ citizenship by investment program.

African residence by investment programs

South Africa’s residence by investment program, the Financial Independent Permit (permanent residence), grants wealthy individuals the ability to work, study, or manage their own business in the country and requires a minimum net worth of $820,000 and typically takes eight months to process.

In Egypt, investors can obtain a passport by investing a minimum of $250,000 with the option to invest $500,000 or more.

The program officially commenced on Mar. 14, 2020, and in April 2021, the Egyptian government established a dedicated department to review and process investors’ applications.

Kenya is also at an advanced stage of introducing citizenship by investment. In 2021, the country’s Investment Authority (KenInvest) disclosed that the move had faced little opposition.

Uganda, too, is keen on attracting foreign investment and is in the process of planning a citizenship-by-investment program to enhance FDI and provide opportunities for economic growth in the country, while neighboring Rwanda now offers a special economic zone program that grants investors tax holidays, exemptions, and other benefits in exchange for investments in specific priority sectors.

In June 2021, the government of Zanzibar announced that investors who bought real estate in the country can now obtain a residence permit, which will eventually pave the way for citizenship investment.

In 2022, the Ethiopian government announced its plan to issue 5-year visas for foreign managers and shareholders and 3-year visas for executives and directors. These visas cost $1,000 for the 5-year visa and $750 for the 3-year visa.

Residence by investment programs has the potential to be a game-changer for African economies, providing a much-needed injection of foreign capital and promoting sustainable economic growth.



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