Integrating innovation into its growth strategy is a natural step for Mauritius to achieve its development goals towards a high-income economy. It is with this in mind that the government has announced the Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL) as a strategy to position Mauritius in the league of countries that allow developers and entrepreneurs to engage in innovative and high value activities.
With the emergence of concepts such as Industry 4.0, digital currency, high-end healthcare services and the multi-billion dollar Internet of Things, governments around the world are actively engaged in creating the right environment through strategic practices to capitalize on innovation-driven growth opportunities. Often, however, the major obstacle to overcome remains the lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework to facilitate these innovative projects. As a result, the RSL provides an opportunity for an investor to carry out a business activity for which there is neither legal framework nor adequate provision under existing legislation in Mauritius. The RSL will thus be issued by the Board of Investment to eligible companies, which wish to invest in innovative projects according to an agreed set of conditions for a defined period.
Regulatory Sandbox License : the new Investment Hub
Considered as the logical center for investments in Asia and Africa, Mauritius is now positioning itself as the innovation center of the Indian Ocean thanks to the introduction of this Regulatory Sandbox License. This was launched in 2016 following amendments to the Investment Promotion Act 2000. With the introduction of RSL, Mauritius has put itself on a par with countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia, which are already implementing the concept.
The RSL will thus accelerate strategic investments in innovative projects in the absence of a formal licensing framework. The implementation of RSL is multiple in intent :
- It will provide a platform to attract and test innovative projects;
- It will provide a ” safety space ” in which companies can experiment with innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms, while ensuring that consumers are protected from potential risks;
- It will encourage greater competition for the benefit of consumers while acting as a catalyst leading to the emergence of innovative services and products.
Apply for RSL
The application for an RSL must be made to the Board of Investment (BOI), which is responsible for administering the new scheme. Applications and relevant supporting documents must be submitted electronically to BOI through its online portal RSL. BOI will then review the application in consultation with stakeholders and assess the risks involved. Viable projects that represent a minimum potential for harm will be approved and the applicant will receive a list of safeguards, conditions and recommendations. Thus, any investor who has an innovative project for which there is no legal framework, nor adequate legal provisions, but who is certain that his project will materialize, can submit a duly completed application for the granting of an RSL. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the innovative nature of their project at local, regional or international level.
The OIO will monitor any business activity for which an SLR has been issued on an ongoing basis, while ensuring that the licensee complies with the terms and conditions of the licence. As a result, the OIO may design a monitoring mechanism, in collaboration with other public sector agencies, as it deems appropriate. In addition, an RSL holder must submit regular reports to the BOI.
The applicant for an RSL will need to submit an application with a business plan and other relevant documents on firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the application is approved, the applicant will have to submit the original documents to the Board of Investment to obtain an RSL.
For more information on the procedures for obtaining an RSL, please call the BOI at (+ 230) 203 38 00.