Nice speech by Mr. Rameswurlall Basant Roi of Central Bank of Mauritius. It is on occasion of Bank of China opening a branch in the island country.
He says Mauritius was a regional finance hub in 17th century:
Mauritius has a very long history of banking. The oldest Mauritian bank is the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd, established in 1838. Quite a few banks were operational long before 1838. And Mauritius used to be a regional financial hub since as far back as the 17th century to the early decades of the 20th century. The Pound sterling, the Indian rupee, the US dollar, gold, silver and some Middle Eastern currencies were used as media of exchange. Mauritius had emerged as an important regional platform for payments and settlements between traders from the West, Africa, the Indian sub-Continent and East Asia. The construction of the Suez Canal and the two World Wars arrested the evolution of the financial hub.
After several decades, the platform was revived in 1989 with the hosting of our Offshore Banking Centre. Mauritius does have its historical roots in serving international finance. We don’t take this attribute and the aptitude of our jurisdiction lightly. I seize this opportunity to tell the people of China and the Chinese business community in Africa that we have no restriction whatsoever on capital flows since 1994. Business people bring capital in and take capital out of Mauritius freely – as long as anti-money laundering parameters set by the laws of the country are positively observed. This vitally important characteristic of our jurisdiction combined with a robust regulatory and supervisory framework for financial institutions makes of Mauritius a safe and credible financial hub.
It will be really interesting to read and figure this finance history. Much if it is obviously due to geography due to which the island must have played a key role in regional trade routes. The trade networks in turn would have made Mauritius a financial centre as well..