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Transitioning towards a Digital Industry

- ICT/BPO

The ICT/BPO industry represents a key driver of the Mauritian economy with a GDP contribution of 5.7% for 2018 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 (2018)

Employment: 24,000 (2018)

GDP: 5.8% (2019)

Internet penetration: 112% (2019)

Mobile penetration: 151% (2019)

Business opportunities presently exist in the following segments:

  1. BPO Non-Voice - Back Office, Payroll, Finance & accounting outsourcing, Legal Process Outsourcing
  2. Information Technology Outsourcing - software development, Mobile apps development, Web development, E-commerce, Multimedia
  3. IT Services - Data Centers, Disaster Recovery, Training, Consultancy
  4. Digital Content: E commerce/ E Payment, digital content production, applications e – learning & online training system, animation, Mobile games
  5. Incubator programs with both private and government backing
  6. 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)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Blockchain
  • AI
  • 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:

  1. Amendment of Data Protection Act 2004 to be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  2. Innovator’s Occupation Permit – Waiving of 40,000 USD capital outlay requirement for Start-Ups in an accredited incubator
  3. Promulgation of Regulatory sandbox license to cater for innovative projects for which there exists no legal framework
  4. Implementation of a national incubator scheme to cater for infrastructural support, training and mentoring of projects
  5. 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.
  6. Introduction of 8-year income tax exemption for companies developing intellectual property assets in Mauritius

In 2018, export of services for the ICT-BPO industry amounted for MUR 4.4 Billion. 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.

Funding and Assistance:

SME’s can apply for funding and assistance to various sources of Government finance & support namely through business or technology incubators, tax benefits, innovation loans and grants and support programs.

The table below provides an overview of some of the flagship initiatives currently being managed by some of the key institutions of the industry including SME Mauritius, Mauritius Research Council and Development Bank of Mauritius, Maubank- Mauritius Bank and State Bank of Mauritius amongst others, to promote the growth, development and internationalization of SMEs.

Click here for additional information.

Incentives:

Mauritius Research and Innovation Council

 

Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Proof of concept scheme

Funding of up to MUR1 million per project available for a project duration not exceeding 12 months to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) or Large Enterprises; Start-Ups and research institutions in collaboration with enterprises or companies to provide support for the validation of innovative technologies that have promising commercialization potential.

Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Collaborative Research and Innovation Grant Scheme

A matching grant of up to Rs5M per project for a duration of normally up to 24 months to local companies, consortium ranging from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, to Large companies for innovative, collaborative research and development projects with commercial potential, in partnership with local Academic/Research/Tertiary Education Institution(s).

Website: http://www.mrc.org.mu/ Contact: mrc@intnet.mu