The Residences at Secret Bay, a luxury resort in Dominica approved as a property investment by the country’s world-leading Citizenship by Investment programme, has reported that 27% of its CBI contracts in 2020 came from African nationals. Industry experts forecast the number to rise to 35% in 2021 as Nigeria, the continent’s fastest-growing market, continues to seek second citizenship.
Investments worth at least US$200,000 into pre-approved real estate like the award-winning Secret Bay resort is a popular option for applicants under Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment programme, which is not just the world’s second longest running programme (after Saint Kitts), but has recently been credited with being the world’s best CBI Programme, according to FT’s CBI Index 2020.
This property investment route to citizenship in Dominica is highly attractive to African buyers who will not only get visa-free travel access to more than 140 destinations worldwide, with Dominica having moved up the passport power rankings by two places since early 2020 to 35th worldwide, but their ownership of property elsewhere can result in a place to escape with family in times of turmoil, be it political, economic or health, as with the current pandemic.
“We’ve seen immense interest from the African market this year, particularly from buyers who want future mobility,” says Gregor Nassief, the proprietor of Secret Bay, Dominica’s only six-star all-villa resort offering citizenship investors buy-in of ready villas.
He adds: “In addition to being granted citizenship, our buyers are investing in Dominica’s only Citizenship by Investment opportunity with completed villas, proven financial performance and a competitive exit strategy with a robust market for resale, so they have great confidence in their investment.”
The award-winning The Residences at Secret Bay, recently completed construction on four new villas and concurrently launched its Phase 2 sales, bringing the total number of ready to invest villas to 10 (with a further one set to be completed by early 2021) with Phase 1 delivering six villas back in 2019.
Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit and Ambassador Emmanuel Nanthan, Head of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit have also praised the Programme and its appeal in particular to Nigerians. “We’ve seen an increased positive interest coming from Africa and in particular Nigeria,” said Prime Minister Skerrit. “…There are shared cultural circumstances between ourselves and Africa.”
Ambassador Nanthan also recently said that “Dominica offers a unique opportunity to Nigerians where they can invest in a country that is very solid. Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria are beginning to understand the process, understand what is on offer, and they are taking advantage of that now, and we welcome them with open arms.”
Why are Nigerians seeking second citizenship?
For Nigerians, the reasons for wanting to obtain second citizenship are twofold. Firstly, the oil-dependent Nigerian economy has been battered by the pandemic and is set for its worst recession in three decades.
Secondly, the weakness of the Nigerian passport, which has seen the worst decline in its power of any other passport over the past decade. Nigeria’s passport has seen a 19-place drop, falling to 95th place in the rankings in 2020, with visa-free or visa-upon-application access to just 46 countries, according to the Henley Passport Index. And even visa-on-application processes are proving increasingly complicated for Nigerian citizens.
The result is especially difficult for Nigerians when it comes to doing business and improving educational opportunities, with up to 75% of African students who applied for study permits in Canada between January and May 2019 rejected, far higher than the global rejection rate of 39%.
To counter this, HNWIs from Nigeria are increasingly looking for second citizenship in countries which offer them much greater freedom of movement. Nigerians appear to be especially interested in the Caribbean programmes.
Dominica’s CBI Programme is hailed as the world’s best offering for economic citizenship in the last four CBI Index reports. Experts at the Financial Times’ PWM magazine cite affordability, certified vetting standards and efficiency as key reasons for Dominica’s leadership in the investor immigration industry. The processing of eligible applicants takes three months or less, provided all due diligence checks and other requirements are successfully completed.
To find out more about Dominica’s world-leading Citizenship by Investment programme, click here