…as currency risk arouses interest for global diversification of assets
Grenada, a luscious Caribbean island-state, known for its vast stretches of white-sand beaches, pristine rainforests, and spice exports, has opened its shores to Nigerian and African high-net-worth individuals, looking to invest in its country, while it rewards them with second citizenship.
This is as the government of the country looks to attract foreign direct investment into its country, particularly in tourism, hotels, agriculture, manufacturing, and the services sector, and create both direct and indirect jobs for its citizen.
Known as the Citizenship by Investment (CBI), the programme promises investors additional free visa travels to over 149 countries including the United States, Russia, China, the European Union, the UK, India amongst others, just for a fee, and after they must have passed through the due diligence criteria of the Grenadian government.
“Our biggest challenge is hotels. And that is why we welcome investors since we have a need for more rooms,” said Peter David, Minister of foreign affairs, labour and investment, Grenada.
“Our manufacturing and service as well as our agricultural sector are not well developed. In those sectors, we are seeking investors. The CBI has helped in bringing some of our best investors hence, we continue to encourage more investors in all of those sectors,” David said.
The minister, who spoke in one of the virtual meetings to hundreds of investors, said the government has earmarked an expansive concession and industrial packages that are appealing to investors.
“CBI provides a significant portion of our GDP and as a consequence, it is something that we take seriously in terms of protecting the due diligence and integrity of the program to ensure that it is used judiciously and the money is used wisely to facilitate economic development. We are looking to get investors from Nigeria and Africa in general,” he said.
Nigeria’s rich have been hard hit by the COVID-19-induced market volatility and the economic impact of the decline in oil prices that has led to a double devaluation of the naira.
Nigeria’s heightened currency risk and economic uncertainty are some of the numerous challenges arousing investors’ interest for global diversification of assets to hedge against currency risk, according to fund and wealth managers present at the event. This, they said, has informed their recommendation for clients to seek portfolio diversification to more stable environments and currencies.
With over 95 per cent of its immigrant population from Africa and three per cent from India, Grenada has become a haven for African investors looking to acquire global properties, while still enjoying the benefits of having a second citizenship.
Grenada has emerged as the leading CBI option due to its multiple benefits; including an E2 visa that allows an investor and its family access in the US.
The country grants citizenship within just three months of filing, subject to due diligence approval by the government. No personal visit is required. This year, it was ranked by Forbes among the five best countries for second citizenship.
A key feature is that siblings, parents, and grandparents of the main applicant or their spouse, can be included in the application.
Mohammed Asaria, founder, and CEO, Range Developments, an international luxury hospitality development company that develops luxury resorts in the Eastern Caribbean under Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) programmes said a major reason that makes the Grenada second citizenship programme unique from others is the E2 Visa that enables the country enjoys diplomatic relations with the US.
In addition, he said investors can enjoy capital preservation and mobility, ease of global asset diversification and wealth protection, access to career educational and cultural opportunities on a global scale, expanded global mobility and the right to frictionless travel, and personal security for individuals and their families in times of social, political or economic unrest.
“Due to the COVID, there will be depreciation in emerging market currencies, hyperinflation, and higher taxes because the government has to pay for the fall out of the pandemic and the easiest way is to increase taxes for high-net-worth individuals,” Asaria told investors at the conference. “As a result of this, we have seen investors from various countries take second citizenship to promote the ease of global asset diversification.”
To secure Grenadian citizenship, investors must first invest US$220,000 (plus government fees based on the composition of the family) in a government-approved real-estate project, such as Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada, and apply for citizenship of Grenada.
The level of government fees depends on the number of family members the main applicant is planning to include in a citizenship application. So, for a family of four, there will be an additional US$80,000 of government fees. At the outset, a deposit of 10 per cent of the investment amount is taken, the balance on approval (expected within 3 months) of the application, he said.
Asaria noted that apart from having second citizenship as well as other benefits that come with it, an investor gets returns on its investment however, these investments must be held for a minimum 5-year period.
“Thereafter, they can resell the investment to another investor who can also apply for citizenship of Grenada. The original investor keeps their citizenship in perpetuity. In addition, an investor will also receive a profit from the operations of the hotel. The projected yield is from 2 per cent to 4 per cent once the hotel opens,” he said.