The move to future-proof families and legacies on the African continent

Appetite for investment migration in markets beyond Southern Africa has been growing steadily over the past few years. Nigeria was the second-largest market (after South Africa) in terms of enquiries received by Henley & Partners in 2021, with growth of 15%. Three Northern African countries — Egypt, Morocco and Algeria — came in third, fourth and fifth, in terms of the number of enquiries last year, with respective growth of 25%, 19% and 33%.

What is the status of investment migration in Africa?

In 2022, we are seeing a spike in interest in investment migration in Nigeria, which was the leading African country in terms of enquiries in Q1, overtaking South Africa, which was second, followed by Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, to make up the rest of the top five. There has been a surge from North Africa this year, particularly from citizens of Algeria and Tunisia.

By the end of Q1 2022, we had already received 63% of the enquiries made by Algerians in the whole of 2021, and a remarkable 70% of the enquiries we received from Tunisians.

The top three investment migration programs that African investors applied for last year were the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program and the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program.

In 2022, while Antigua and Portugal’s programs remain the top two, the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program in Europe has risen to third place in terms of applications. Antigua and Barbuda’s successful investment migration offering has perennially been the top program in terms of the number of applications we receive from citizens of African countries.

It remains one of the Caribbean’s most competitive programs, as options start at $100K in the form of a non-refundable contribution to the dual-island nation’s National Development Fund. There is an attractive real estate investment route, where investors can purchase real estate with a minimum value of US$200,000, which must then be held for at least five years.

In return, successful applicants benefit from acquiring citizenship of a country that ranks consistently highly on the Henley Passport Index, with visa-free access to approximately 150 destinations including Europe’s Schengen Area, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

What the specifics of investment migrations?

The physical presence requirements are not onerous. Investors only need to spend five days in Antigua and Barbuda during the first five years of citizenship — which is not much of an obligation given the islands are considered among the most beautiful places in the world. The application process can take as little as three to four months, making this an efficient choice.

Most investment migration programs enable investors to include family members in their applications, and some allow qualifying siblings, parents and grandparents as well, making these programs an ideal mechanism for protecting loved ones by ensuring that they have optionality in terms of where they can live, work, study and retire to in the years ahead.

New World Wealth has predicted a healthy wealth growth of 38% for Africa in the next decade, and several Eastern African countries stand out — with over 60% growth expected in Uganda and Rwanda by the year 2031, and over 50% in Kenya and Zambia. This increase is likely to supercharge the investment migration industry across the continent.

In addition to the traditional benefits of enhanced global mobility, for the African investor, residence and citizenship by investment programs offer a proven diversification strategy in terms of wealth and legacy management and domicile optionality, and many programs also include the option to invest in real estate, which itself has multiple yields.

This article was first published in the 2022 Africa Wealth Report.

Stuart Wakeling and Chidinma Okebalama work at Henley & Partners Nigeria.