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Budget 2016–2017 Highlights: Paving the way for a full-fledged digital society

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04Aug

Budget 2016–2017 Highlights: Paving the way for a full-fledged digital society

Budget 2016-2017 articulates Government’s plan to move Mauritius towards a full-fledged digital economy and society. In a first instance, the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation will make operational the Information Highway for sharing of information among public sector agencies.

Other measures include:

  • Launching of 50 new e-services to facilitate the citizen’s interaction with public sector agencies. Each ministry will appoint a Dedicated Chief Information Officer to oversee its e-government projects.
  • The Bank of Mauritius will come up with a National Payment Switch and this will reduce transaction costs and give a boost to e-commerce.
  • Introduction of a National Payment Bill to better regulate e-payment transactions.
  • Development of a national e-commerce platform jointly to connect consumers from the rest of the world directly to our exporters.
  • Encouraging the development of mobile applications by start-ups to provide information on Government services such as transportation, traffic and weather forecast.

In a bid to reducing the digital divide and promoting connected communities, 250 additional free Wifi Hotspots will be set up in major public areas such as traffic centres, hospitals, municipalities and district councils. This will bring the total of Wifi Hotspots to 600.

Also, so as to further build human capital and develop digital literacy, Budget 2016-2017 emphasises on capacity building. Grades 1 and 2 students will be provided with digital tablets and relevant education software whereas modules on communication skills and creativity and innovation will be incorporated in the curriculum for Grades 7 to 9. At the tertiary level, a dedicated Faculty of Digital Technology and ICT Engineering at the University of Mauritius of.

Major investments will be made on connectivity that will significantly improve the deployment of broadband infrastructure and its quality.

These include:

  • A ‘Third Undersea Cable’ project by a consortium led by Mauritius Telecom.
  • A fibre-optic undersea cable by a consortium of regional telecom operators to link Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar with an international backbone through South Africa.
  • Acceleration of the Fibre To The Home (FTTH) programme by Mauritius Telecom to cover every town and village by December 2017.
  • Investment of Rs 200 million by the CEB to provide high speed broadband to Internet Service Providers through its island-wide fiber optic cable network.

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