Amanda Smit is the Managing Partner at Henley & Partners South Africa.
As our latest Africa Wealth Report reveals, Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing markets and the total private wealth currently held on the continent is over USD 2 trillion and is expected to rise by 38% over the next decade. The ascent of new wealth economies, along with megacities and the diversification of wealth-creating sources are just some of the exciting trends that are driving the generation and flow of capital across the continent. Residence and citizenship planning is one of the optimal ways to protect your family and your assets, and more and more African investors are using the mechanism of investment migration for preserving their newfound wealth.
Henley & Partners has seen unprecedented enquiries regarding alternative residence and/or additional citizenship over the past few years from investors and wealthy families across the globe, including an increasing number of African nationals, and interest is constantly rising. In the six months to the end of June 2022, we had already received 63% of the enquiries received in the entire 2021 year from affluent citizens of African countries.
South Africa and Nigeria are in the top 10 countries globally in terms of both enquiries and applications in 2022, and other African countries generating high levels of enquiries and applications are Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Uganda.
The top five programs that African nationals are enquiring about in 2022 are the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program, the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program, the Canada Start-Up Visa Program, the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program, and the UK Innovator Program. European destinations such as Malta, Montenegro, Spain, and Greece are also popular to secure either residence rights or citizenship through investment.
The appeal of investment migration for affluent families is truly universal due to the many benefits, ranging from domicile diversification to global mobility enhancement, accessing world-class education and healthcare, or having a plan B in times of turmoil. No matter where you were born, or where you currently reside, wealthy investors can futureproof themselves and their families for whatever might lie ahead through residence and citizenship by investment.
There are shifts in the key metrics of the past. Many companies are adopting hybrid and remote work arrangements, real estate markets are fluctuating, health security has risen to the fore as has climate resilience due to the frequent devastation caused by climate change. Corporate tax arbitrage is subject to increasing scrutiny, and the proposed new global minimum tax will impact on the appeal of some jurisdictions currently considered to be advantageous.
As the post-pandemic era commences, African entrepreneurs and investors face new choices about where best to locate their families as well as their headquarters, production, and workforces. Investment migration provides a channel for building a portfolio of multiple complementary residences and citizenship options to enable you to take advantage of opportunities, as well as hedge against the volatility and risks that the new world order might bring.