GIS – 04 September, 2018: A country can only become better through innovation. The mission of Government is to create a culture of innovation and thus a Digital Economy Council will be set up to better equip citizens with knowledge and skills they will need in the future.
The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden made this statement yesterday at the opening ceremony of a conference on Disruptive Digital Transformation held at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène. The Ambassador of Japan to Mauritius, Mr Yoshiharu Kato, was also present.
The conference, an initiative of NEC Asia Pacific, brought together international and local speakers to discuss the different facets pertaining to digital transformation and the disruption it is causing in the world. Issues regarding industry 4.0 and how it is bound to change the way businesses and governments operate were discussed. The Smart enterprise solution platform by NEC Asia Pacific was also presented.
In his address, Minister Sawmynaden highlighted that the ICT industry contributes up to 6% to Mauritius’s GDP and has become the third pillar of the economy. He spoke of Government’s vision of transforming Mauritius into a digital country, which implies moving towards innovation, Blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence.
Referring to statistics, the Minister pointed out that according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Mauritius is ranked 57th in the world and 3rd in Africa in its Global Innovation Index 2018. This clearly indicates that Mauritius has embarked on a digital transformation to become a cyber-country, he stated.
Mauritius, Minister Sawmynaden emphasised, is committed to collaborate with other countries and is already cooperating with some of them to act as a bridge with the African continent. To that end, important Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with countries such as China and India, and, Japan is a strategic partner, he said.
Speaking about the ICT sector, the Minister pointed out that it is represented by more than 750 enterprises employing more than 23 000 professionals. One of the main objective is to double the number of IT professionals in the coming years by creating the ideal environment where enterprises can flourish, he indicated. Government has implemented the New Data Protection Act, making Mauritius the first country in the world to meet the new requirements of European General Data Protection Regulation, with the aim of enabling companies in the ICT sector to continue to provide quality services to their clients, he recalled.
Moreover, the Minister elaborated on initiatives regarding Cyber security. These include: implementation of a Cyber Threat Monitoring System by the Computer Emergency Response Team of the National Computer Board to better monitor and respond to cyber threats at national level and to detect potentially devastating cyber-attacks; setting up of a Certification Authority and a Capacity Building Centre for cybercrime to cater for the harmonisation of legal framework; and, capacity building and international cooperation.
Furthermore, Mr Sawmynaden dwelt on Governmental measures to leverage the country as a digital hub, namely: training of 2 000 additional students in primary schools and 2 500 students in secondary schools in coding; providing support to the University of Mauritius to double its intake of students in Computer Science and Software Engineering to 240; setting up of a Mauritius Artificial Intelligence Council; introducing the Work@Home scheme and a new scholarship scheme for 50 students annually who wish to specialise in digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.
As for Ambassador Kato, he indicated that NEC Asia Pacific is an organisation that proposes innovative solutions and is intent on collaborating with African countries to assist them in fighting against cybercrime. The NEC Asia Pacific conference is a testimony of how foreign expertise can meet with local skills to bring further success, he stated.
The Japanese Ambassador congratulated the Mauritian Government on its ambitious National Cyber Crime Strategy, and reiterated Japan’s commitment in strengthening bilateral relations with the country. Mauritius is making progress in the field of digitisation and innovation and is keeping up with the most technologically advanced countries, he added.
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