- September 15, 2023
- Posted by: Aurélie
- Category: Mauritius
Famous for its economic, political and social stability, as well as its business-friendly regulatory framework and transparency, Mauritius has been attracting many foreign investors over the past years. However, considering the island’s rainbow population, there are many cultural and social aspects you should be aware of when starting a business in Mauritius. Blue Azurite is here to enlighten you.
For a business to thrive in Mauritius, it is, of course, essential for investors to be compliant with all the relevant laws and regulations, including immigration requirements, taxation, business licensing, etc. But if you want to make an impact on the local population, it is equally important to be aware and respectful of local sensibilities.
Mauritius is known to be a melting pot of cultures, with influences from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe, among others. The population embodies a tapestry of languages, traditions and practices, making it a uniquely harmonious society. As a foreign investor, you are expected to respect the island’s multiculturalism for various reasons. For instance, this will help you gain credibility among the local community, thus helping you build long-term and lasting relationships. Understanding the local business dynamics will likely facilitate communication with your business’ local partners, as well as employees and customers. Embracing the island’s cultural diversity will, therefore, demonstrate your commitment to promoting ethical business practices. Another way to do that is by building a team that reflects diversity and inclusion within your business.
While English is the official business and administrative language, other languages, such as French and Creole, the national language, are widely spoken by the population. Most business transactions are conducted in English, but the other two languages are more widespread in everyday interactions, so making an effort to learn the local languages as a foreign investor will go a long way. Although you can be assisted by a translator when conducting business in Mauritius, knowing the language ensures clear and effective communication among teams and local partners. It also helps to build stronger relationships and establish rapport and trust with your customers.
Like in many countries, personal relationships play a significant role in the Mauritian business culture. When starting a business in Mauritius as a foreign investor, you should be open to networking and socializing beyond business hours. For instance, be ready to attend local networking events, as well as dinners, gatherings and festivals where you could be invited. This shows your commitment to integrating the local society as a foreign investor and, at the same time, helps you understand cultural nuances and practices you might come across when doing business in Mauritius. This way, you will recognize and address your partners’ and customers’ needs and aspirations.
Knowing the local business etiquette is another way to pave your way through the Mauritian business ecosystem. And it all starts with proper greetings – Mauritians appreciate formal greetings, such as Good morning or Good afternoon, followed by a firm handshake. Remember to address individuals, whether your business partners or customers, by their titles and surnames, for example, Mr., Mrs., or Dr. – reflecting professionalism in your interactions. Pay particular attention to the professional dress code, especially for business meetings, where both men and women wear formal business attire. Casual attire is more acceptable in informal settings, but you can also opt for business casual attire, depending on the context. Another crucial aspect of the Mauritian business culture is punctuality – you are expected to arrive a few minutes early for business meetings. However, business negotiations might be slower compared to what you are used to, so be patient.
Since Mauritius is home to a multicultural society, foreign investors should have religious sensitivity. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are the main religions in Mauritius, with various holidays, festivals and religious customs all year round, each with their own set of traditions and beliefs. Some examples are Maha Shivaratri or Diwali for Hindus, Easter or Christmas for Christians, Eid al-Fitr for Muslims, etc., so avoid scheduling meetings during these periods. Keep an eye on the local calendar to avoid inconveniences for your partners, employees and customers. As a foreign investor, you might sometimes be invited to attend such events, so pay attention to any dress codes or guidelines that might be conveyed to you. You should also consider extending greetings to your collaborators and customers during these periods, which shows respect and acknowledgment of their traditions.
Mauritians are a highly family-oriented society, which might be different from what you are used to. It’s therefore important for a foreign investor to give sufficient consideration to work-life balance. For example, Mauritian workers are entitled to a certain number of paid annual and sick leave besides official public holidays throughout the year. While some business sectors still operate on public holidays, many workers also prefer to take time off to spend with their loved ones. Mauritians also prioritize social and family commitments, and this may sometimes reflect in the scheduling or rescheduling of business meetings or other events. Foreign investors are, therefore, expected to be flexible in their approach. Moreover, it’s not the norm to engage in business discussions and email beyond typical office hours unless specifically mentioned.
Understanding these different aspects of the Mauritian society is essential when conducting market research. This will help you better understand consumer preferences and business trends and adapt your strategy to succeed in this diverse and dynamic marketplace. Blue Azurite is here to guide you throughout the entire process of engaging in a new business venture in Mauritius. Our team of experts will provide you with all the necessary information, from setting up your business project to understanding the subtleties of doing business in Mauritius. Get in touch with us now.