Core Market Segments
The healthcare sector in Mauritius has metamorphosed itself into an integrated cluster underpinned by a core group of high-value activities such as Medical Devices, Medical Tourism, Tele Medicine, Alternative Medicine and Wellness. A variety of global healthcare companies – among them Swiss companies like Novartis and Labatech-Pharma – have already either invested in multi-specialty and super-specialty centres of excellence to cater for the growing healthcare needs or export their products to Mauritius.
The demand for high-tech medical devices in Mauritius is highest in the following sub-sectors:
- Cancer Center Equipment
- ENT Hospital Equipment
- Medical Imaging (MRI, CT and X-Ray)
- Diagnostic Equipment
- Surgical Equipment
- Orthopedics and Implants Supplies
- Dialysis Equipment
- Laboratory Equipment
- Dental Surgery and dentofacial Orthopedics
- Healthcare IT Solutions
Further investments are needed urgently to deal with the increasing influx of medical tourists and to attract even more in further fields of treatment, one of the prime investment opportunities for Swiss Health care Experts and Medical Professionals.
Telemedicine offers patients outside Mauritius and healthcare providers in Mauritius options that were previously not available as it allows patients abroad to receive modern healthcare “made in Mauritius” without geographical limits, provided an internet connection and a smartphone are available. In its infant stage, distance diagnosis tools and sensor kits as well as supporting cloud-based software solutions will be in highest demand over the coming years, another good opportunity for Swiss technologies.
For almost three decades Mauritius prides itself for being open minded towards Alternative Medicines and the regulatory framework based on The Ayurvedic and Other Traditional Medicines Act even dates back to 1989. Also, and although Mauritius has long entered the group of “Welfare States”, Mauritians still rely on medical plants as a source of alternative medicine, which is also offered to visitors from outside the country.
The next “Trillion-Dollar-Industry” globally is the Health and Wellness market and already today the wellness industry in Mauritius is thriving, attracting locals and tourists alike to its many wellness centres and tranquil hotel spas. The main focus lies on beauty, anti-aging, fitness and weight loss and offers further growth and investment opportunities for Swiss hoteliers, health care providers and cosmetics manufacturers.
Market Value and Characteristics
The Healthcare Industry across Africa is currently witnessing a unique up-turn and it is estimated that as early as 2020 more than US$ 25bn medical technology assets will be required, prompting an unprecedented import boom in this sector.
Mauritius has only seven medical device manufacturers, employing a total of 600 employees with an annual production for the local market of US$ 15m (2015). But in 2018, Mauritius imported almost US$ 30m worth of medical equipment, providing 7 major public hospitals, 5 specialised public hospitals, 17 private multi-specialty clinics, 11 private specialized clinics and 29 medical laboratories with new technology.
Due to the preferential market access that Mauritius enjoys to Europe, leading foreign medical device manufacturers have begun to establish themselves in Mauritius. As an incentive to attract more companies, the Government announced in the 2016-2017 budget that materials used in the manufacture of medical devices will be exempt from customs duty. In the proposed 2017-2018 budget, the Government announced that new companies that manufacture medical devices will have an eight year tax holiday, and also proposed a rebate on air freight for companies exporting medical devices to Europe. Finally, to encourage growth in the medical devices industry in Mauritius, the proposed 2017-2018 budget states that the government will amend the Clinical Trials Act to allow testing of devices in Mauritius.
Beside the device sector, Swiss Exporters already account for more than 6% of all Pharmaceutical Exports to Mauritius totaling US$ 120m in 2017, another sector that currently sees above average growth tendencies.
Advice to Exporters
Mauritius is a “paradise” for Swiss exporters compared to so many other countries as the Mauritian Government has made it as easy as possible to engage in bilateral trade. The languages spoken cover English and French, hence no language barriers. The government tries to get involved as little as possible and leaves the field to private experts, who act as facilitators and agents on the Island.
Over and above, Mauritius also offers the opportunities to significantly save taxes when setting up an own Importer and Distributor due to favorable taxation and government incentives, but take note that Switzerland is one of the very few countries, which has not yet signed a Double Taxation Agreement with Mauritius, but an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Switzerland and Mauritius is in force since April 2000.
If you wish to know more about the opportunities in the health sector or wish to become active in Mauritius, please don't hesitate to contact our Senior Consultant Africa Suhail el Obeid.
14 – 15 October 2018 International Conference on Neurology and Health Care
22 – 23 January 2019 International Conference on Medical & Health Science
28 – 30 May 2019: Africa Health
Attend the largest gathering of healthcare professionals with us at the mini SWISS Pavilion at Africa Health 2019 and profit from a ready to use stand and clear identification by Swiss design.