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Securing Global Advantage: Top Investment Migration Options for Africa’s Wealthy

Amanda Smit

Amanda Smit

Amanda Smit is the Managing Partner at Henley & Partners South Africa and a member of the Investment Migration Council.

For Africa's high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), investment migration offers a powerful Plan B and expanded visa-free access. By acquiring a second citizenship or residency in a country with a stronger passport, African investors can unlock new opportunities, enhance global mobility, and secure their future.

From Portugal's Golden Residence Permit Program to Antigua and Barbuda's Citizenship by Investment Program, African HNWIs and UHNWIs are embracing these life-changing opportunities. As demand grows, we explore the top programs and uncover the transformative advantages they offer.

The power of a strong passport

For African investors, one of the most compelling reasons to explore investment migration options is the opportunity to acquire a stronger passport. Programs offered by Antigua and Barbuda, Greece, Grenada, Malta, Portugal, and Spain have become particularly attractive due to the enhanced global mobility they provide.

Digital composite of the earth with glowing lines connecting continents

South Africa and Nigeria were the 7th and 8th largest sources of applications processed by Henley & Partners globally in 2023, highlighting the growing demand for these programs among African HNWIs and UHNWIs.

The allure of a strong passport is clear when considering the global rankings of African passports. Even the highest-ranking African passport, that of Seychelles, offers visa-free access to just over 150 destinations out of a possible 226. For Moroccan passport holders, that number drops to approximately 70 destinations, while South Africans can access over 100.

By contrast, a Portuguese passport offers visa-free access to approximately 190 destinations, and a Spanish passport grants visa-free entry to over 190. The ability to unlock greater freedom of movement and access to key markets is a powerful motivator for African investors seeking to expand their horizons and seize new opportunities.

Expanding horizons in business, education, and healthcare

In addition to enhanced global mobility, investment migration programs offer wealthy Africans the chance to expand their business horizons and tap into new markets. Portugal's Golden Residence Permit Program has been a popular choice for African investors seeking to establish a presence in the European Union, with its favorable tax regime and path to citizenship after just five years of residence.

This program no longer offers a residential real estate route, but investors can still qualify through capital contributions to companies, investment funds, or research activities. Similarly, Spain's Residence by Investment Program and Greece's Golden Visa Program offer attractive options for those looking to invest in qualifying assets while gaining access to the European Union's vibrant business landscape. It’s worth noting that the Greece Golden Visa Program's minimum investment threshold was just increased to EUR 500,000.

For African entrepreneurs seeking to diversify their wealth and mitigate risk, citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean have also proved popular. Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia all offer citizenship options in exchange for a qualifying investment, granting investors visa-free access to over 140 destinations worldwide, including the UK, Europe's Schengen Area, and Singapore, within three to six months. These programs have consistently ranked among the top choices for African investors, with Antigua and Barbuda citizenship being the most enquired about program in 2023, followed by St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis.

For many affluent Africans, securing access to world-class education and healthcare for themselves and their families is a top priority. Investment migration programs offer a pathway to these essential services, with many host countries boasting renowned universities and cutting-edge medical facilities.

The UK's Innovator Founder Program, for example, grants investors and their families the right to live, work, and study in the UK, with access to the country's prestigious schools and universities. Similarly, Australia's Global Talent Independent Program provides a pathway to permanent residence and access to Australia's highly regarded education and healthcare systems.

The future of investment migration in Africa

As wealth continues to grow across Africa, particularly in key markets like Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Algeria, the demand for investment migration programs is set to rise. In 2024, these five countries are projected to be the top sources of enquiries from Africa for Henley & Partners, reflecting the increasing appetite among African HNWIs and UHNWIs for the benefits that these programs offer.

As the investment migration landscape evolves, it is crucial for African investors to stay informed about the latest opportunities and to work with trusted advisors who can guide them through the process. Henley & Partners, with its extensive expertise and global reach, has emerged as a go-to resource for wealthy African families seeking to navigate the complex world of investment migration.

In a time of increasing uncertainty and complexity, investment migration offers expanded opportunities for Africa's wealthy. By embracing the power of a strong passport and the chance to expand their horizons, African HNWIs and UHNWIs are taking control of their destinies and securing a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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Henley & Partners assists international clients in obtaining residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.


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