Mauritius kicks off Infotech 2014; tops region in global ICT rankings by ITU
Organised by the National Computer Board, Mauritius’ flagship ICT showcase, the Infotech 2014 will last four days from 27 to 30 November 2014 from 10 am to 7 pm and brings together 32 operators in the ICT sector to display their technology and ICT products and services. (Image: Infotech)
Mauritius is now in global reckoning as an ICT investment destination of choice and a preferred outsourcing location, and has successfully attracted key ICT players of international repute to do business on the island.
ICT Minister for Mauritius, Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, made this statement at the opening of the 21st edition of Infotech 2014 last night at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre, in Pailles.
Organised by the National Computer Board, Mauritius’ flagship ICT showcase, the Infotech 2014 will last four days from 27 to 30 November 2014 from 10 am to 7 pm and brings together 32 operators in the ICT sector to display their technology and ICT products and services.
The 61 stands set up at the vast exhibition grounds are expected to attract over 100,000 visitors, with entrance being free for the public.
“Our ICT sector is steadily strengthening with the setting up of more state-of-the-art technology parks, the availability of outstanding telecommunication services at more competitive rates and the proper harnessing of human resources,” said the minister.
He indicated that the sector continues to soar with the value added rate to the economy rising by 6.6%, from Rs 19,226 million in 2012 to Rs 20,487 million in 2013.
On measures to enhance internet connectivity, the minister mentioned that 50,000 houses will be connected to fibre cable by next year compared to 8,000 houses connected with fibre optic that will offer a speed up to 30 Megabytes per second, among the best in the Southern Hemisphere.
Meanwhile, in the latest development on the ICT front, Mauritius has yet again topped the rankings released by global ICT body, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), coming first in the Sub-Saharan African region, even as it took the 70th spot globally.
Next is Seychelles, which comes second in the region and 75th globally, showing that the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are emerging as the best ICT performers in the region.
South Africa, on the other hand, dropped from position 89 in 2012 to the 90th position for the 2013 period in terms of the overall ICT Development Index (IDI) rankings.
Over three billion people are now online and information and communication technology (ICT) growth remains buoyant in just about every country worldwide, according to ITU’s annual Measuring the Information Society Report released this week.
ITU is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies.
Latest data show that Internet use continues to grow steadily, at 6.6 percent globally in 2014, and 3.3 percent in developed countries, 8.7 percent in the developing world. The number of Internet users in developing countries has doubled in five years between 2009 and 2014, with two thirds of all people online now living in the developing world.
In the mobile cellular segment, the report estimates that by end 2014 there will be seven billion mobile subscriptions, roughly corresponding to the total global population. But it warns against concluding that everyone is connected; instead, many users have multiple subscriptions, with global growth figures sometimes translating into little real improvement in the level of connectivity of those at the very bottom of the pyramid. An estimated 450 million people worldwide live in places which are still out of reach of mobile cellular service.
Denmark and Republic of Korea come at the first two places globally. Developed countries continue to top the rankings, with the IDI top 30-ranking including countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.
Europe’s average IDI value of 7.14 remains well ahead of the next best-performing region, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at 5.33, followed by the Americas at 4.86, Asia & the Pacific at 4.57, the Arab States at 4.55, and Africa at 2.31.
Encouragingly, however, the report notes substantial improvements in access to international bandwidth in poorer countries, with developing nations’ share of total global international bandwidth rising from just 9% in 2004 to over 30% today. But lack of sufficient international Internet bandwidth in many of the Least Connected Countries (LCCs) remains an important barrier to ICT uptake in these countries, and often limits the quality of Internet access.
The report identifies a group of ‘most dynamic countries’, which have recorded above-average improvements in their IDI rank over the past 12 months. These include (in order of most improved): United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Cape Verde, Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Georgia.
Finally, this year’s report features a special focus on the potential of ‘big data’ from ICT devices and applications to improve public services like healthcare, education and environmental management, with the increasing digitization of human activity making it possible to gather and analyse data from a huge range of disparate sources.