Only a four-hour flight from Johannesburg and nestled in the Indian Ocean off the East African coastline, Mauritius boasts a strategic location bridging the African continent and the Indian subcontinent. The country is a sought-after destination characterised by a privileged lifestyle, resilient economy, political and social stability and excellent sustainability rankings in Africa. More than its tropical climate and cultural diversity, Mauritius positions itself as an international financial centre with many financial and social incentives.
Great air access, a well-developed infrastructure, reliable communication networks via the South Africa Far East (SAFE) undersea cable, and a well educated workforce that is equally fluent in English and French contribute to making the island a highly competitive business and investment destination.
Uniciti Smart City
As part of the diversification of its activities in the 2000s, the Medine Group created a master plan to develop Uniciti, a smart city focused on education, and on higher education in particular. It aims to achieve this via the creation of an integrated, international education hub for Mauritians and foreigners alike.
Officially launched in September 2017, Uniciti is promoting the concept of ‘Live, Work, Enjoy and Learn’, and is designed to combine the key components of a quality city life, which will ensure overall economic, social and environmental sustainability through achieving a delicate balance between residential, business, commercial, educational, healthcare, sports and recreational uses.
Set on 823 acres of land, the Medine Group’s smart city is now emerging as one of Mauritius’s most ambitious projects, and is reinvigorating the west of the country. While it will be rolled out in a number of phases, Uniciti is no longer at a nascent stage. A number of projects have taken shape in recent years, including Cascavelle Shopping Village, 10,000sqm of shops and restaurants; Uniciti Office Park, the largest business park on the island with its 15,000sqm, and Student Life Residences, the first student accommodation in Mauritius.
The city’s development is set to accelerate in the next three years with the construction of new student residences and a huge park in the heart of Uniciti. This will house a cultural and artistic centre and a number of bars and restaurants. In the short term, new infrastructure will include new road networks and residential projects to create villas, townhouses, apartments, retirement homes and affordable housing.
A key pillar of the Uniciti concept is a green, sustainable city. Based on a 2016 inventory of the site’s landscape features, a smart strategy was drawn up by the master planners. They incorporated the existing green network in the design of the smart city by using natural water bodies, preserving the existing ecological corridors and creating a well-connected grid of parks and squares, and pedestrian and cycle paths. A sustainable rainwater management strategy is implemented within the city. Based on natural solutions, it minimises the impact on the environment, whereby the traditional concrete ducts are replaced by open swales along all the road corridors.
Uniciti embraces a multifaceted approach to the design and development of its city through the Placemaking concept, by focusing on the effective ways to strengthen the connection between people and the places they live in.
With 26 kilometres of cycling and pedestrian paths, Uniciti brings people together through a safe, efficient and sustainable transport network that encourages clean transportation. This network links the city along beautifully designed green corridors and well-thought-out green spaces, enabling people to easily commute to and through their mixed-use neighbourhoods.
Uniciti is the perfect gateway for foreigners, entrepreneurs and international companies seeking new havens to develop business opportunities or to settle in a vibrant and dynamic environment. It offers an array of investment opportunities, particularly in:
• real estate development
• residential properties to buy
• higher education partnerships – universities or specialised schools
• business relocation
• retail spaces for franchises and brands
• leisure and entertainment
• public or municipal services.