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Mauritius: E-Commerce

Introduction

Mauritius is keen to encourage information technology operations, and the territory has invested heavily in state-of-the-art telecommunications with clear interest being shown in offshore e-commerce development. Nevertheless, e-commerce is still somewhat limited at present.

Speaking in December 2002, Mauritian Finance Minister, Sushil Kushiram announced that the Indian government would be assisting in the e-development initiative, providing a credit line of US$100 million to finance the development of the Mauritius 'cyber city'.

The Cyber Tower, a central feature of the new Ebène Cyber City, was inaugurated in April 2005. In April 2006, the Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolan, inaugurated the new offices of offshore management company International Financial Services in the Cyber City, expressing strong support for the e-commerce sector.

During the week, there are nearly 25,000 people working in Ebène Cyber City, from companies including Orange, Infosys, Infinity BPO and Huawei. Just 15 minutes’ drive from Port Louis, the Cyber City has free zone status and offers tax advantages to its occupants. Spread over an area of 172 acres, Ebène Cyber City is divided into 7 zones, each of which is provided with water, power, roads, drainage and other facilities. The entire Cyber City is wired with optic fibre and copper cables to enable easy provision of high speed international bandwidth.

In October 2006, Oracle, the global software and database company said it would establish a centre of excellence in Mauritius as part of a project aimed at promoting the development of the ICT sector in the jurisdiction. The Oracle training programme for database administrators came about as a result of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications and Oracle Systems on 17 May 2006.

However, work on the centre has been delayed; further Cabinet approval was obtained in March 2017, so the centre should finally start to take shape in 2018.

The primary objective of the e-commerce programme is to provide public officers, in particular from the Central Informatics Bureau and the Central Information Systems Division, with insight into the creation and maintenance of the Oracle database system.

The MoU provided a facilitation framework for the implementation of e-Government initiatives, the further development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) culture and enhancement capacity building in the sector as well as the adoption of best practices in ICT.

In 2016, value added generated by the ICT sector in Mauritius was MR21.96 billion (approximately US$642 million). This was a rise of 3.9% on 2015 . In 2016, the GDP share of the ICT sector fell very slightly to 5.7%.

According to the first issue of the Economic and Social Indicators report dedicated to the (ICT) sector, there were a total of 300 large establishments operating in this sector in 2009, employing over 12,000 people. In 2012, this figure rose to nearly 13,000.

In October 2007, the Mauritian cabinet approved a national ICT strategy, with the aim of elevating the jurisdiction towards the status of a regional technology hub over five years.

The National ICT Strategic Plan (NICTSP) 2007-2011 sought to provide the right environment for the harnessing of ICT to generate employment, improve quality of life, and create new opportunities for the socio-economic development of Mauritius. The report identifies the primary targets to be achieved in two broad sectors: information economy and information society.

The strategy's expected goals are a 7% contribution to the gross domestic product of Mauritius from offshore ICT export services, employment of at least 29,000 qualified individuals, employment of 90% of those who graduate in ICT, the doubling of the number of foreign investors, and memoranda of understanding for collaborative ventures in the field of ICT with countries in the region.

Other key objectives of the government's strategy include an increase in preference for ICT, with at least 50% acceptance for services available online, an increase in PC ownership by 20,000 households, and 12,000 PCs in primary schools, 150 Public Internet Access Points across the island, Internet connectivity and networking of all primary, secondary schools, and an increase in broadband penetration by at least 250,000.

 

 

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