GIS - 19 September, 2019: The first edition of InnovTech 2019, previously known as Infotech, which has been reconceptualised with focus on innovation and also the largest yearly ICT event in the Indian Ocean, opened yesterday at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC) in Pailles.
An initiative of the National Computer Board (NCB) operating under the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, InnovTech, with the participation of some 30 exhibitors, is the new concept and model after the holding of the 25 editions of Infotech. InnovTech is serving as platform regrouping innovators, researchers and academia on the use and impact of emerging technologies.
Speaking at the official opening, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, emphasised the importance of such an ICT forum in Mauritius which according to him has made an immense contribution in the promotion of ICT among the various segments of the population. He further recalled Government’s intention to encourage the current generation to opt for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) which will consequently lead them to the jobs of the future.
The Minister further expressed the intent of making the ICT sector the first pillar of the economy by highlighting the need for precise strategic directions to achieve this objective. The first strategy, he stated, is to substantially increase the availability of international bandwidth in Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega and Saint-Brandon in addition to creating the appropriate environment where innovators can obtain all the support they need from the Government.
He also dwelt on the various initiatives and measures taken by his Ministry to make the ICT sector, a prominent pillar of the economy. They are: introduction of a new Data Protection Act, aligned on the European General Data Protection Regulation, to enable individuals to have full control over their personal data, which has made Mauritius the first country in the world to be aligned with such international standards; the deployment of Info-Highway throughout Ministries, parastatal bodies and private companies owned by the Government and hosted at the Government Online Centre of the NCB with 400 e-services available to citizens; and introduction of electronics and robotics courses run by the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council.
Among the other achievements, Minister Sawmynaden spoke of the development of a nano-satellite, the MIR-SAT1 by Mauritius to be launched in space in a few months; a provision of Rs 100 million in Budget 2019-2020 to finance innovative projects; and creation of the Mauritius Artificial Intelligence Council consisting of AI- and technology-experts to evaluate ready-made AI solutions of immediate benefit to Mauritius as well as oversee their rapid implementation so as to boost the nation’s economy.
Since March this year, he added, Rodrigues is also connected to Mauritius via an undersea cable which provides Rodrigues with the same kind of internet speed. He also announced that two additional submarine cables connecting Mauritius to the rest of the world namely, METISS and IOX that will be operational soon will help increase the internet bandwidth even more while also reducing the latency that exists between Mauritius and foreign destinations.
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