Transitioning towards a Digital Industry
The ICT/BPO industry represents a key driver of the Mauritian economy with a GDP contribution of 5.6% for 2017 and employing around 24,000 people. With some 800 ICT-BPO based enterprises, the country has one of the richest technology ecosystems in Africa that thrives on innovation and collaboration across sectors. The industry is vibrant spanning from startups to multinationals across various segments such as e-commerce, digital services, support desk, applications development among others.
Besides offering a distinctive proposition in bilingual skills (French, English) for UK/European companies, Mauritius has demonstrated its capabilities in offering a compelling alternative for serving non-voice and IT needs of multinationals.
Global players such as Accenture, Ceridian, Convergys, Huawei, Orange Business Services, and Allianz amongst others have successfully established their operations in Mauritius due to their ability to serve global clients with high-quality, innovative solutions.
No of companies: 800
GDP: 5.6% (2017)
Internet penetration: 90%
Mobile penetration: 145%
Business opportunities presently exist in the following segments:
- BPO Non-Voice - Back Office, Payroll, Finance & accounting outsourcing, Legal Process Outsourcing
- Information Technology Outsourcing - software development, Mobile apps development, Web development, E-commerce, Multimedia
- IT Services - Data Centers, Disaster Recovery, Training, Consultancy
- Digital Content: E commerce/ E Payment, digital content production, applications e – learning & online training system, animation, Mobile games
- Incubator programs with both private and government backing
- Developments in the digital space currently offers the country the possibility of embracing new opportunities to grow the economy in fields such as:
- Analytics and Big Data
- Cloud Services
- Financial Technology (FinTech)
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Virtual and augmented reality
Mauritius has crafted an enabling ecosystem for ICT-BPO companies to develop and flourish. The country offers the following key attributes for ICT and BPO activities:
- Proven test bed and launch pad for new technologies
- Pool of multilingual, educated and adaptable IT professionals
- Excellent collaborative business environment
- Competitive cost to quality proposition
- Reliable and redundant international connectivity with two international submarine networks and forthcoming connections to 2 additional cables
- Innovative training incentives offered by the Government
The philosophy of Government is geared towards implementing a Digital Mauritius strategy and the ultimate objective is to be able to harness the power of technology to facilitate the transition of Mauritius towards a digital island. The following list of measures enunciated by Government since 2016 bears testimony to the progress that Mauritius is making in generating economic growth based on innovation:
- Amendment of Data Protection Act 2004 to be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Introduction of an Innovator’s Occupational Permit with an initial investment of at least USD 40,000. In addition, the R&D expense component should constitute at least 20% of total operational expenditure during the research phase.
- Promulgation of Regulatory sandbox license to cater for innovative projects for which there exists no legal framework
- Implementation of a national incubator scheme to cater for infrastructural support, training and mentoring of projects
- Formulation of a plug and play cloud service to incentivize digital nomads and local start-ups to benefit from readily available solutions to develop applications and other services.
Export of services for the ICT-BPO industry has been growing annually and reached MUR 5.4 Billion 2016 representing a year-on-year growth of 4%. Several industry operators have been exporting their products and services towards Africa among which Ghana, Namibia, Botswana.
Government has set its new model of economic partnership for greater growth and opportunities with the rest of Africa. Such partnerships will create a comforting environment and subsequently enhance confidence to propel Mauritian private sector investments further in the SEZs identified in Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Mauritius provides a reliable and attractive start-up ecosystem with the availability of good technical and business schools, a critical mass of people eager to start own business, co-working spaces, a supportive government, angel investors and the talent needed to turn ideas into viable businesses.
Owing to its strategic position, Mauritius is today considered to be the ideal springboard and a great location for entrepreneurs aiming to enter the African continent. The country has implemented numerous measures to optimize conditions for technology start-ups and also emerge as the start-up hotspot in the region. The launch and further development of a new enterprise is facilitated by numerous incubators, funding and promotion schemes.