Namibia courts affluent global retirees, high net worth investors as Africa's golden visas gain ground 🇳🇦

Namibia courts affluent global retirees, high net worth investors as Africa's golden visas gain ground 🇳🇦

Namibia spruces up its citizenship-by-investment scheme with a retirement package to entice wealthy foreign seniors seeking a slice of African luxury, other African countries are also eyeing the "golden visa" market.

Seth Onyango, bird story agency

Until recently, foreigners seeking Namibian residency through the country's residency-for-investment scheme famously had to purchase real estate at President's Links Estate. 

Thanks to increased demand, units in that estate will now set buyers back around US$365,000, The luxury estate, on the Bay of Whales, advertises attractions that are now being touted by similar schemes across Africa: access to a pristine coastal area famous for its high-quality seafood and stunning vistas as well as eco-friendly modern homes, villas, and world-class amenities.

A new, special concession for retirees aged over 60, however, has seen Namibia's entry point for foreigners lowered to US$300,000.

The new offering for retirees is part of a broader Residence by Investment program the government is using to turbocharge economic growth.

In its latest update, investment consultancy Henley & Partners highlights the "Namibian government is actively seeking foreign investment to boost the country’s economic growth and diversify the economy." 

"It provides many opportunities for international investors seeking a foothold and growth on the African continent, including tax incentives, financing, and a one-stop bureau service for international companies."

Namibia's foray into the golden visa market points to a larger trend across Africa. 

Other nations on the continent are beginning to recognize the value of attracting foreign investment through retirement and residency programs. 

Although Africa's residence by investment market is relatively new, few states are joining the fray.

Foreign investors in the Mauritius Residence by Investment Program must purchase luxury real estate valued at a minimum of US$375,000 from six eligible real estate projects. 

Mauritius offers six real estate projects: Integrated Resort, Real Estate, Property Development, Invest Hotel, Smart City, and Ground +2 Apartment. Each project provides specific benefits and requirements that focus on promoting sustainable development and attracting investment.

Mauritius' neighbour in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles, offers permanent residence (a "golden visa") and citizenship to high-net-worth investors, depending on the investment amount. 

Interested investors need to fork out at least US$1 million to be eligible for Seychelles' citizenship by investment program.

South Africa's residence by investment scheme, the Financial Independent Permit (permanent residence), grants wealthy individuals the ability to work, study, or manage their own business in the country, Apart from requiring a minimum net worth of US$820,000 the permit typically takes eight months to process - though the country has in recent years experienced significant delays with the processing of regular work permits.

In Egypt, investors can obtain a passport by investing a minimum of US$250,000, with the option to invest US$500,000 or more. 

The Egyptian program officially commenced on March 14, 2020, and in April 2021, the Egyptian government established a dedicated department to review and process investors' applications. 

Kenya is also at an advanced stage of introducing citizenship by investment. In 2021, the country's Investment Authority (KenInvest) disclosed that the move had faced little opposition.

Uganda, too, is keen on attracting foreign investment and is in the process of planning a citizenship-by-investment program to enhance FDI and provide opportunities for economic growth in the country, while neighbouring Rwanda now offers a special economic zone program that grants investors tax holidays, exemptions, and other benefits in exchange for investments in specific priority sectors.

In June 2021, the government of Zanzibar announced that investors who bought real estate in the country can now obtain a residence permit, which will eventually pave the way for citizenship investment.

In 2022, the Ethiopian government announced its plan to issue 5-year visas for foreign managers and shareholders and 3-year visas for executives and directors. These visas cost US$1,000 for the 5-year visa and US$750 for the 3-year visa.

bird story agency

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