Arton Capital, a Dubai-based financial services firm specialising in international immigration and citizenship law, has opened its first African office in Cape Town, to facilitate citizenship acquisition in Africa, as well as in select European, Caribbean and North American countries.

Arton’s ‘Global Citizen’ programme in particular, offers citizenship for those willing to invest to ten countries, including Canada, the US and UK, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, and the Caribbean countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis, which in turn opens up the possibility of visa-free travel to more than 100 other countries.

With the establishment of a South African office, Arton said that there had also been significant expressions of interest from investors looking to obtain South African or Namibian passports, mostly from Chinese businessmen doing business across Africa.

Arton Capital CEO Armand Arton said: “The law in South Africa or Namibia does not have any specific provisions towards investors and their families, but there is a lot of interest.”

In each case, the people eligible for such travelling privileges are typically high-net-worth individuals or families, and although requirements for citizenship vary between each country, investors are generally required to have a minimum personal vale of one million dollars.

Arton continued: “People were not aware of the options around the world for South African businessmen to secure European citizenship without having to relocate. The idea came last year when I was meeting with the business and government community at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which was held in Cape Town.”

He added that the company is processing between 500 and 600 applications a year, and is already planning a second office in Johannesburg, while in the next two to three years it will open offices in further African states, starting with Nigeria.