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AfricaMoney | August 23, 2017

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Mauritius turns to open source software and explores digital challenges

Mauritius turns to open source software and explores digital challenges

Mauritius’ ICT Minister Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum expressed the firm belief that citizen empowerment can be achieved through access to information. (Image: File Photo/Government Information Services)

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) landscape in Mauritius is turning exciting with two digital workshops held yesterday to give greater direction to technology practitioners in the island economy, as it seeks to transform itself into a regional technology hub.

The first was a validation workshop on the ‘Development of a National Open Source Software Policy Strategy and Action Plan’ held at the Sugar Beach Hotel, Flic en Flac.

The National Computer Board (NCB) and ASTEC GLOBAL of Ireland, which has been appointed by the EU to support the NCB in the development of the national Open Source Policy and Strategy, jointly organized the event.

The half-day workshop presented the strategies and recommendations proposed in a project for the development of a National Open Source Policy and Strategy for Mauritius to reinforce the use of OSS and improve technical efficiency in Mauritius’ ICT sector.

In his opening address, Mauritius’ ICT Minister Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum observed that governments throughout the world are today more supportive of OSS and Mauritius is clearly aware of the benefits and positive impacts of using and fostering OSS.

According to him, OSS has to be used as leverage to enhance human capital, increase the growth of a knowledge-based society and reduce the digital divide and software piracy rate.

The government, he stated, recognises the benefits that OSS can provide in the creation of cost effective software, reducing total cost of ownership in the ICT system, and providing valuable public software.

OSS is recognised as one of the key factors for the development of a knowledge-based economy and in increasing the efficiency of local ICT companies, universities and public sector, he added.

The main benefits of OSS are the low cost of implementation and the availability of free support from a geographically distributed pool of developers and maintainers, lower levels of vendor lock-in and local technology innovation.

The next event held on the same day was a digital workshop under the theme ‘Responding to Mauritius Digital Challenges and Opportunities’ at Cyber Tower 1, Cyber-city, in Ebène.

Organised by the Board of Investment in collaboration with the ICT Ministry, the two-day workshop aims at exploring how Digital Technologies can support both “business as usual” and the creation of new business models, as well as driving process efficiencies and expanding sales, opening new sales channels or creating new products and services.

In his opening address, ICT Minister Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum said that mass digitalisation within public service could contribute to organisational change, higher productivity and cost effectiveness, delivering much higher quality services and improving customer satisfaction.

ICT today, said the ICT Minister, is a tool to achieve better governance not only by enabling relevant service delivery that is increasingly cost effective and personalised, but also enhancing democratic relationship and building better democratic dialogue.

“When we speak of digital government, we imply the changes in the culture of the government and how it relates to citizens as clients requiring not only citizens’ participation, but also the ability and incentive of the public sector to listen to citizens and respond to feedback,” stressed the Minister.

According to him, while driving the country in the digital age, citizen needs have to be taken into account by the government, as being citizen-centric remains the main focus. He also expressed the firm belief that citizen empowerment can be achieved through access to information.

The workshop was divided into three sessions with the first targeting government officials, the second, private sector representatives and the third a round table with outsourcing companies for ICT Operators.

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