How Citizenship by Investment is offering Nigerians new global opportunities – Williams
As more Africans look to expand their horizons in pursuit of global opportunities, IFEOMA OKEKE caught up with Paul Williams, Chief Executive Officer of La Vida Golden Visas, one of the world’s leading Citizenship by Investment facilitators, to understand the surge in demand for dual citizenship in Nigeria and across the continent. Discussion points include the Grenada CBI programme, the Kimpton Kawana Bay resort and the opportunities that lie in wait for high net worth individuals and investors in the country.
What is the true value of citizenship by investment programmes to Nigerian investors?
With so much uncertainty currently in the world, people are often looking for a ‘Plan B’. And when geopolitical issues arise in any country, we tend to see an increase in demand for second citizenship. In Nigeria more than ever before, there is an increased awareness and demand for alternate citizenship by investment. Africa’s affluent middle class are becoming wealthier, in need of global business mobility, better visa-free travel and also education opportunities abroad for their children. Creating a legacy for one’s family and having a ”Plan B” are also among the many reasons investors take up second citizenship. Nigerians are especially well-positioned to benefit from a second passport as they currently have visa-free travel to just 54 countries worldwide. When you break this down, Nigerian passport holders, shockingly, have access to just 2.1 percent of the world’s GDP or 3.1 percent of the world’s travel popularity. For HNWIs and business people from Nigeria, this is very limiting and could be holding them back from various opportunities, restricting them with business, education and leisure.
Grenada offers one of the top CBI programmes. Why is that? More importantly, why should Nigerians choose Grenada?
Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme offers several added attractions that many of its competitor countries do not. It is widely regarded as one of the world’s top CBI programmes which allow individuals and their families to obtain citizenship in Grenada with a host of other benefits. The application takes only 60-90 days, has low family fees, and no interview, education, language test or management experience is required. There are no residency requirements and dual citizenship is permitted. Once your passport is issued, you’ll have visa-free travel to 163 countries and territories which includes the UK, EU Schengen zone and uniquely China and Russia. Grenada does not tax worldwide income, wealth, gift, inheritance or capital gains. Grenada is also the only Caribbean CBI country to hold an E-2 Visa treaty with the USA. This means, once Grenadian citizenship has been granted, approved applicants and their families can live and work in the USA through business investment. Grenada citizenship is obtained by investing in Government-approved real estate from USD220,000 like a unit in the Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort, the island’s leading CBI project. In the past six months, there has been a 100 percent increase in applications from Nigerians, demonstrating the enormous interest in this popular CBI programme.
Kimpton Kawana Bay is described by Forbes as one of the most anticipated resort openings in the world. Tell us about the project and its benefits to prospective Nigerian investors.
Kimpton Kawana Bay is a new beachfront 5-star luxury resort currently under advanced construction in Grenada, Caribbean. Title deeded studios and suites are for sale for the minimum investment of $220,000 through Grenada’s acclaimed Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, which provides purchasers and their family Grenadian citizenship. The resort, which is 79 percent sold out, is ideally positioned on Grand AnseBeach, voted by CNN and Condé Nast Traveller as one of the world’s best beaches. The hotel will feature an infinity-edge pool overlooking the turquoise Caribbean sea, state-of-the-art gym and spa facilities, exquisite fine dining restaurant, roof-top bar, beach bar, lounge with terrace, and water sports facilities. The developer, True Blue Developments has a track record of successful development of over 20 years.
One major concern for investors would be the management of the resort once its operational. How does Kawana Bay intend to address this to boost investor confidence?
Set to open in 2022, the resort will be operated by an internationally recognised hotel brand – Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the largest hotel groups in the world. Kimpton Kawana Bay offers hassle-free ownership with no annual out of pocket fees. On a recent visit to the project, Grenadian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell commended the project developers for the progress and welcomed the addition of this newest 5-star resort to Grenada’s tourism product on the island.
From a purely financial perspective, what are the benefits of investing in Kawana Bay?
Apart from the Grenadian passport and related benefits, owning a unit at Kimpton Kawana Bay will generate a projected rental income of 3-5 percent through the transparent revenue-sharing model. You will also have personal accommodation usage of up to 2 weeks. After five years you can sell your unit and recoup your initial investment whilst still retaining your Grenadian citizenship for life.
What is Grenada like as a country and how welcoming is it to foreign investors?
Grenada is an enchanting and unspoiled tropical island located in the Caribbean. Grenada boasts the quintessential laidback Caribbean lifestyle with lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and warm and friendly people, many of which have historical family ties back to West Africa. The official language spoken in Grenada is English and the population is approximately 112,000 people. The magnificent environment with its safe surroundings, stable democratic government and exquisite new resorts make Grenada an alluring destination for tourists and investors. The country is one of the most open and business-friendly economies in the region and continues to grow steadily. The island has an established health care system and is home to St George’s University, one of the world’s largest American accredited medical schools, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries. Grenada is easily accessible with a number of daily direct flights from major US cities, London and a number of regional flights from the surrounding islands.
The beauty of acquiring Grenadian citizenship is that there is no requirement to relocate or even visit, as many Nigerians do not wish to leave their country but rather just want more flexibility for business and leisure travel. As it is part of the commonwealth, Grenadian passport holders are able to spend up to six months per year in the UK.
Grenada has an E-2 visa treaty with the US. Can you tell us more about this and the possible opportunities it brings?
The E-2 Visa is an optional and secondary application that is available for Grenadian citizens who may want to live and work in the US. This would involve an investment into a new or existing US business of $120,000 upwards and takes only two months to process, the application can be done through any consulate. Applicants will be issued with a five-year visa with unlimited renewals. The spouse of the applicant will have open market employment opportunities and children will have in-state tuition, in most states. This route is fast becoming more popular than the direct EB5 programme to the US which has lengthy delays and requires a much larger investment of $900,000+.
What do prospective investors need to get started? How can they get in touch with your team?
At a time when Africa’s most populous country appears to be grappling with a lot of fundamental issues, Grenada and its Citizenship by Investment programme are offering HNWIs a chance to play on a global scale and there is no better time than now to embrace this new world of opportunity.
Asides from the $220,000 investment in the Kimpton KawanaBay project, investors will need to budget for the government’s application, processing and due diligence fees. For a single applicant, the total cost, inclusive of fees will be $306,000, whereas a family of four would be around $320,000, depending on the ages of the children. The government processing time is between 60-90 days from the date the application is submitted. La Vida’s in-house processing team will assist applicants with the entire process from start to finish, providing investors with a seamless and stress-free service.