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  • Economic Development Board Bill voted in National Assembly

    GIS20 July, 2017: The Economic Development Board (EDB) Bill was voted in the National Assembly yesterday. The Bill provides for the setting up of an Economic Development Board.

    The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, pointed out in his summing up that the main purposes of the Bill are to create an institution with a three-fold mission. It will provide strong support for strategic economic planning and ensure greater coherence and effectiveness in economic policy formulation; promote Mauritius as an attractive investment and business centre, a competitive export platform as well as an international financial centre; and facilitate both inward and outward investment and ensure a conducive business environment.
    He underscored that the EDB, which will regroup the Board of Investment, the Financial Services Promotion Agency, Enterprise Mauritius and the Mauritius Africa Fund, will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of outcomes of policies and projects. It will further identify opportunities in new economic sectors and engage with international partners to develop strategic alliances to create the appropriate ecosystem for several sectors.
    The Prime Minister recalled that as announced in budget speech 2017-2018, the EDB will support Government’s efforts in fostering higher economic growth for more and better jobs. To that end, he underlined, the EDB will advise the Government in several areas, namely socio-economic development, trade development, export and investment promotion, infrastructure development, labour market improvement and business facilitation.
    He highlighted that the Bill provides for a Board comprising a Chairperson, a Vice-chairperson and between six to eight other members.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 
  • Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategic choices to shape the digital economy

    GIS – 20 July 2017: The country needs to focus attention and energies towards making strategic choices which will shape the coming years as far as Mauritius’ digital economy is concerned, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, said  this morning at Sofitel L'Imperial Resort and Spa, Wolmar, in Flic-en-Flac.
    The Minister was giving a keynote address at a consultative workshop on Digital Mauritius 2030 which aims at formulating a buoyant Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategy for the country.  The one-day workshop brings together captains of the industry from the public and private sectors to strategise on the future of Digital Mauritius over the distinct timelines of 2020, 2025, 2030.
    In his address, Minister Sawmynaden outlined that the Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategy would rest on several enablers which include the legal framework, regulatory arrangement, data protection foundations and institutional framework.  He invited participants attending the workshop to come up with actions required for each of the enablers during the brainstorming sessions.
    Speaking about ICT infrastructure, the Minister pointed out that,  beyond international, national and last mile connectivity, it is important to firmly concentrate on the three ‘As’ which are: Availability, Accessibility and Affordability.  He also spoke about the need to think about how to make it possible for our ICT/BPO sector, now termed the digital economy, to become a vibrant source of innovations and a welcoming ground for emerging technologies.
    With regard to talent management, Mr Sawmynaden highlighted the importance to ensure that effective bridges are built between the academia and the industry to address the skills mismatch and nurture an education system that adequately prepares the youth for the digital world.
    Five themes are being discussed during the workshop: ICT infrastructure including broadcasting; E-Government and business facilitation; Talent Management; Cybersecurity/cybercrime; and Innovation and emerging technologies.
    Additional thematic consultative workshops will be organised so as to finalise the Strategy paper which will be presented to Government for approval on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Independence of Mauritius.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
  • NextComp2017: Focus on Research, Innovation and Technology landscape review

    GIS - 19 July 2017: The first edition of Next Generation Computing Applications (NextComp2017) International Conference, aimed at presenting innovative ideas with a view to shaping the research, innovation and technology landscape, opened this morning at Le Méridien Hotel in Pointe-aux-Piments.
    NextComp 2017, a three-day event, is organised by the Faculty of Information, Communication and Digital Technologies of the University of Mauritius.  Participants include local and foreign researchers and practitioners from academia and the IT industry.
    In his address the representative of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, the Director (E-Education and Scholarships), Mr R. Auckbur, pointed out that institutions have to gear up to adapt their realities to emerging computing and ICT tools and a close nexus of research in ICT within the industry is required to achieve this.  Events such as NextComp 2017 help to define new pathways, develop new ICT partnerships and ensure that the community and businesses benefit from discussions, he said.
    The Ministry is embarking in reforms in which ICT plays an important part and thus connecting and digitising education systems at all levels, said Mr Auckbur adding that the reform process has to be accompanied by high-level discussions and research.  It is also important to accompany the new trajectory of Mauritius into the ICT and computing needs of tomorrow, he said.
    For his part, the Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr R. Hawabhay, outlined that research and development are critical for innovation as they will be called upon to play a leading role for the future of Mauritius as well as in making the country an inclusive high-income economy.  In the coming years our researchers will have to find ways to engage in eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture to ensure food security and factories will have to adopt high-tech manufacturing processes.  This means that investments will be required in novel tools and techniques to create innovative products, he said.
    According to Mr Hawabhay, the ICT sector need to explore novel ways to address the major issues of skills mismatch and skills gap in an ever-changing world faced with emerging technologies.
    The Conference
    NextComp 2017 is focusing on the main theme Next Generation Computing Applications.  Discussions will  cover the following areas: Communication and Computer Networks; Security and Forensics; Intelligent Systems; ICT for Development; Data Analytics; Information Management and Enterprise Systems; Bioinformatics and Healthcare Information Systems and Software Engineering Principles; and, Practices and Applications.
    The conference is also featuring a comprehensive programme comprising of keynote presentations by experts and oral presentations of peer reviewed papers.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 
  • 21st edition of Model United Nations conference kicks off today

    GIS - 19 July 2017: The 21st edition of the Model United Nations (MUN), a two-day conference on the theme ‘Together towards a safer future’, bringing together Lower Six students from secondary schools kick-started this morning at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Auditorium, Moka.
    Around 287 youth delegates representing 72 countries will address current global issues during the conference which is organised annually at national level. This extra-curricular learning programme enables participants to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the United Nations (UN) and also hone their skills in diplomacy, negotiation, critical thinking, compromise, public speaking, writing, and research.
    Speaking at the opening of the conference on behalf of the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, the Acting Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry, Mr K. Ng Wong Hing, said that this exercise is rewarding for the students on various levels. Participants will be given the opportunity to step in the shoes of diplomats of the UN and discuss issues of international importance, he said.
    According to Mr Wong Hing, the ability to acquire keys skills such as active listening, emotional intelligence, empathy, courtesy, tact and diplomacy in communicating, asserting one’s own ideas by avoiding confrontation are crucial to this exercise. On that score, Mr Hing underpinned the importance of mastering this set of skills which are not taught in the classroom, so as to better engage in common and simple interaction among peers, with the family and in society at large.
    The theme for this year reveals the deep aspiration of everyone to live in a safer world. He concluded by urging participants to show commitment to the core values of the UN namely diplomacy, collaboration and consensus, and which will definitely help to make the world a better place.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 
  • Health Minister appeals for healthy lifestyle to prevent NCDs

    GIS - 18 July 2017: Early detection of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is critical to the effective control of the disease and to prevent severe complications at a later stage and most of NCDs are preventable through a healthy lifestyle.
    This statement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo at the launching of the ‘Prevention Nationale pour Maladies Non Transmissibles’ Programme for public officers held yesterday, at the Sir Harilal Vaghjee Hall, New Government Centre in Port-Louis.
    This initiative, a joint venture of the Ministry of Health and Quality of life and the Public Officers’ Welfare Council, included a series of activities aiming at raising awareness and educating the public against the threats, complication and prevention of NCDs. It included a screening for NCDs, counselling / health education and breast cervical screening, amongst others.
    In his address, Minister Husnoo pointed out that Mauritius has made considerable progress in raising the health status of its population, which is reflected by increased life expectancy at birth, improved maternal and child health and control of infectious diseases. However, he expressed concern at the ageing population and the increasing burden of NCDs, notably, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases, amongst others.
    Mauritius continues to be saddled by the prevalence of NCDs and this, he stressed, is responsible for the bulk of morbidity, disability as well as premature death. NCDs not only constitute around 80 % of the burden of disease currently being treated at hospitals but also is the leading cause of death in Mauritius, he underscored.
    The Minister recalled that the latest NCD Survey carried out in 2015 reveals that diabetes prevalence has increased from 14.3% in 1987 to 22.8% in 2015; the prevalence of hypertension is 28.4% ; that of current smoking is 19.3% and alcohol consumption stands at 52.8% in the Mauritian population.
    Dr Husnoo stressed that NCDs are not only a burden for the patient, jeopardising his life in various ways but also affect his family.
    For his part, the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms, Mr Eddy Boissézon, underpinned the importance of having a healthy workforce that will be able to effectively perform its role and deliver its duties. On this score, he pointed out that people should undergo systematic medical tests to be aware of their changing medical status and take precautionary measures following these.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 
  • Phase 2 of the CEB 2015 SSDG Net Metering Scheme already operational

    GIS- 18 July 2017 : The second phase of the "CEB 2015 SSDG Net Metering Scheme" to integrate a total of 2 MW Small Scale Distributed Generation (SSDG) using renewable energy technologies in the Mauritian grid has already been launched.
    The main aim of this scheme is to offer the opportunity to small power producers to produce electricity using solar photovoltaic and wind technologies. In a spirit of democratising the grid access for it to be economically feasible, this scheme will enable households, to interconnect their renewable energy installations into the grid at zero cost for backup service and energy storage. 

    The 2 MW is allocated to two customer categories as follows:
    • 1 MW is reserved for Domestic Customer Category (excluding IRS, RES and Three-phase Domestic Customers)
    • 1 MW for IRS, RES and Three-phase Domestic Customers only
    The "CEB 2015 SSDG Net-Metering Scheme" operates under the net billing principle, which means that after commissioning of the SSDG, the owner uses the electricity produced by the SSDG first and exports any surplus to the CEB grid, which is “banked” in his/her account as kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits.
    Advantages of the Scheme
    Under this Scheme, a prosumer will have the following benefits:
    • Prospective prosumers will benefit the energy storage capacity of the grid at no cost; thus they will not have to make investment in costly battery energy storage system. Qualified Prosumers will be able to generate their electricity during the day, especially from the solar PV source, and store it into the grid for use in the evening and night or even for future uses free of charge from the CEB.
    • Part of the initial investment (15%), only for Solar Energy Unit can be recouped through a relief in tax payment.
    By entering into this Scheme, a prosumer will reduce her/his monthly payment for electricity. The savings on the electricity payments to the CEB can be used to pay for the investment made in the acquisition of the renewable energy system.
  • High level discussion to raise awareness on multidisciplinarity of science

    GIS – 18 July, 2017: A two-day high level discussion on the need to engage the worlds of art, nature and science organised at the initiative of the Office of the President opened this morning at the State House, Le Réduit. The President of the Republic, Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim; the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr. Nandcoomar Bodha, and other eminent personalities were present at the event.
    The high level discussion lies in the context of activities to mark the National Day celebrations which will culminate with the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius in 2018. The main objective is to raise awareness on the multidisciplinarity of science and to showcase the contribution of works of art and nature to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.
    In her address the President underlined the importance of the high level discussion which will help to answer the question of how to reconcile science, art and nature. Referring to the fact that science and art naturally overlap, Dr. Gurib-Fakim pointed that this can be traced as far back as the Egyptian pyramids and the great cities of Ancient China, for instance.
    While art and science are principally about communication, they differ in the direction in which they are communicating, she said. History proves that the two disciplines cannot exist without each other, enduring a constantly changing relationship and there is great potential when art and science collaborate, resulting in the unexpected outcomes that can be exponentially more valuable than when they work apart, she added.
    Dr. Gurib-Fakim further stated that both disciplines can also involve pushing technological boundaries to their limits. Science begins with the physical, observable and concrete occurrences in the world and scientists generate abstractions that communicate their understandings of these phenomena. Artists and scientists tend to approach problems with a similar open-mindedness and wisdom, she said. 
    For his part, Minister Bodha pointed out that there are extraordinary and formidable challenges as regards science and nature. Speaking about climate change, he stated that this challenge puts us in a position where we have a great responsibility as to what will be bestowed to future generations. Scientists and decision makers, thus have a major role to play to propose solutions for the future of our planet, he added.
    Mr Bodha lauded the President of the Republic for the dimension brought to the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius through the high level discussion.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
  • Regional conference focused on strengthening synergies for protection of cultural heritage

    GIS - 18 July 2017: A three-day regional conference and ministerial roundtable to strengthen synergies for the protection of cultural heritage in Eastern Africa and Adjacent Indian Ocean States aiming to provide a platform for discussion at national and international level kicked off this morning at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava.
    This initiative of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), endeavours to safeguard and sustainably develop cultural heritage in Eastern Africa and the adjacent Indian Ocean Islands in the wake of increasing threats to cultural heritage through the implementation of mutually reinforcing culture programmes. Participants from eighteen countries are attending the conference including Ministers from Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. 
    In his opening address, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun commended UNESCO for giving Mauritius the opportunity to host this Roundtable and bring people of the African region together to pave the way forward for the protection of cultural heritage. He outlined some of the ways of how synergies can be strengthened by ensuring the right to creativity while earning a livelihood, strengthening policy legislation, carrying out an inventory, and investigation of cultural goods. 
    He recalled that Mauritius is already a signatory of various UNESCO conventions promoting the concept of togetherness and sharing of common cultural heritage. As a State Party to the 1972 Convention, Mauritius is proud to have two World Heritage sites namely, the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site, and Le Morne Cultural Landscape.
    Mr Roopun pointed out Mauritius’ success in inscribing two elements on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural heritage, that is, the ‘Sega Tipik’ and the Bhojpuri ‘Geet Gawai’ in 2014 and 2016 respectively.  
    Mauritius became a member of the Inter-Governmental Committee for the Intangible Cultural Heritage, for a four-year term. In March 2016, Government submitted the nomination dossier of the “Sega Tambour of Rodrigues”, for inscription on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and same will be examined at the next Inter-Governmental Committee to be held in December in South Korea.
    Regarding the preparation of the Status of Artist Bill, UNESCO has offered the services of an expert for the preparation of the legislation on which the Ministry is working, said Mr Roopun. This legislation is in line with the 1980 Belgrade Recommendation of the UNESCO.
    For her part, the Minister of Education and Human Resources Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, recalled that safeguarding of culture directly contributes to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) that the global community has subscribed to. The SDGs, she said, epitomise a paradigm shift about the notion of socio-cultural development which goes far beyond the mere span of economic growth.
    To this end she called for collaborative actions through joint ventures and urged the population to participate actively in the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage and to adopt a sense of ownership.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
  • Cooperative Development Fund to implement several schemes to assist cooperatives societies

    GIS - 17 July 2017: The Cooperative Development Fund operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, will manage the following Schemes to assist cooperatives societies. 
    The Schemes are namely, the Upgrading of Cooperative Societies Scheme; the Scheme for Market Fair for Cooperative Societies; the Scheme for Acquisition of IT Facilities; and the Education Scheme for Cooperative Societies. 
    The Upgrading of Cooperative Societies Scheme would provide assistance for the purchase of equipment and other relevant tools; the promotion of bio and green products, eco-packaging, quality and attractive labelling, barcode certification and value-added activities, and the provision of consultancy services.
    On the other hand, the Scheme for Market Fair for Cooperative Societies would provide assistance for the organisation of market fairs while the Scheme for Acquisition of IT Facilities would provide assistance for the procurement of a computer or a laptop.  

    As regards the Education Scheme for Cooperative Societies, it would assist members of Societies to attend a training course locally or abroad.

    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 

  • Mauritius can share its industrialisation experience with Africa, says Minister Gungah

    GIS - 17 July 2017: Africa has placed industrialisation as a major policy thrust which is benefiting from immense support from rich countries and Mauritius has to take advantage of the geographical proximity with the continent in order to achieve market diversification. In the process, we also have the potential to share our skills and industrialisation experience with many African countries.

    This statement was made this morning by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Kumar Gungah, at the opening ceremony of a workshop on Exporting to Africa, at Cyber Tower 1, Ebène.
    The two-day workshop is organised at the initiative of Enterprise Mauritius. Its major objectives are to provide focused capacity building to all Small and Medium Enterprises exporting as well as those with deemed export potential to Africa and the region, and to tap into available opportunities existing under the free trade agreements in the region. It also aims at fostering a better understanding of export markets; sanitary and phytosanitary issues; barriers such as tariff and non-tariff measures; customs clearance; export procedures; and freight issues among enterprises exporting or intending to export to Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.
    Minister Gungah explained that the organisation of the workshop is highly opportune as it takes place at a junction where Africa is rising as a continent of hope and a land of opportunities. This rise, he highlighted, is highly positive for Mauritius as the coming years are expected to mark a turnaround in the economic performance of many African countries after a spell of low growth mainly due to lower commodity prices.
    He also underscored that Mauritius is striving to fully exploit all opportunities under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to boost all avenues for regional integration. The tripartite free trade agreements, which regroup SADC, COMESA and the East African Community markets, promise to be a major development to better tap many African markets.
    Furthermore, he pointed out that Mauritius has taken various commendable actions to enhance trade with Africa through the Export Credit Insurance scheme, which subsidises the insurance premium for exports to Africa, and the Freight Rebate scheme, among others. Mr Gungah stated that Mauritius cannot rely only on traditional markets given the political and economic uncertainty prevailing in the aftermath of the Brexit, before adding that the deepened economic diplomacy with Africa will bear meaningful outcomes.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org 
  • PM reaffirms Government’s determination to boost development in Rodrigues

    GIS - 17 July 2017: The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, reaffirmed Government’s determination to boost development in Rodrigues as an integral part of the Republic of Mauritius adding that no efforts will be spared to provide necessary resources for the continued development of the island and improve quality of life of the Rodriguans.

    He was speaking on Friday 14 July 2017 in the National Assembly on behalf of the Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence, Minister for Rodrigues in reply to a private notice question with focus on the economic development in Rodrigues and the progress achieved regarding namely: the construction of a new runway, water supply, and health services.
    Prime Minister Jugnauth made an overview of the various development achieved so far in Rodrigues and spoke on the implementation of several infrastructure projects in the island namely roads, social amenities, health services, education facilities and law and order issues, adding that the transformation which is visible has been widely acknowledged by Rodriguans.
    He further pointed out that actions have already been initiated for the implementation of various developmental projects in collaboration with the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) to modernise the economy of Rodrigues and further improve the standard of living of Rodriguans. To that effect, provision has been made during the financial year 2017-2018 for an amount of Rs 4.4 billion to Rodrigues, of which some Rs 3.4 billion has been allocated to the budget of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and around Rs 1 billion to the budgets of Ministries and Departments for meeting expenditure related to Rodrigues, highlighted Mr Jugnauth.
    Regarding the new runway, the Prime Minister informed the House that in view of the importance of this major project, actions were initiated for the enlistment of the services of a Consultant for the “Design, Cost Estimation and preparation of Tender Documents for the Extension of Runway at Plaine Corail Airport”.  The contract was awarded to GIBB (Mauritius) and TPS Consult Ltd in April 2016 for the total sum of Rs 24 333 500, in compliance with all procurement regulations.
    As for the improvement in water supply, he underscored that two desalination plants at Pointe Venus and Caverne Bouteille respectively are operational at 50% and that Government is monitoring closely the rehabilitation works of the two plants which are expected to be completed by this year enabling them to operate at full capacity. Moreover, Mr Jugnauth enumerated several projects funded to the tune of Rs 120 million by the European Union to alleviate water problem in Rodrigues.
    As regards the improvement of health services, the Prime Minister pointed out that Government is assisting the RRA in the implementation of the following projects: e-health project; master plan for Health; conversion of the ex-maternity ward into a new paediatric ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; extension of La Ferme Area Health Centre; setting up of the “Medecin de Famille” project; provision of a sewage treatment plant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital; construction of X-Ray Room at Mont Lubin Area Health Centre; and purchasing of additional 4 new ambulances, amongst others.

    These initiatives, he said will allow the RRA to improve health services for both inpatients and outpatients, in areas such as obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, general medicines, orthodontics, psychiatry and dentistry. Other facilities, include the arrangements to increase the frequency of visiting specialists to attend to patients in fields like oncology, ophthalmology, ENT, cardiology, physical medicine, dermatology, neurosurgery, orthodontics and speech therapy and the provision of scholarships to Rodriguans to be trained as doctors as well as specialists, Mr Jugnauth added.

    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org

  • Mauritius' main asset will always be its people, says Education Minister

    GIS - 17 July 2017: Mauritius needs its intellectual capital to come up with innovative and progressive ways to tap and exploit the country’s untapped natural resources and this is why, for a long time to come, our major asset will continue to be and remain our people, said the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, today at Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène. 
    The Minister was addressing the 2016 Higher School Certificate laureates at a reception hosted in their honour by her Ministry.  Gifts were also presented to the laureates.  Several personalities as well as the families and friends of the laureates and their rectors were present at the reception.
    In her speech, Minister Dookun-Luchoomun, stated that the human factor will be decisive in shaping the future of Mauritius and Government will spare no efforts in developing its human capital.  We are set to celebrate 50 years of our independence next year and, we can legitimately uphold and take pride in the fact that much of the success of our country and of the solid repute it has earned internationally can be placed at the doorstep of advances made in education, she pointed out.
    Education, observed the Minister, is a dynamic sector as it is at the heart of development and drives change and innovation and thus it has itself to be in a constant state of flux.  This feat has largely been the result of an education system woven together by generations of teachers and students.  Moreover, as the education system is embarking on a reform process, it is important to uphold the central tenets of equity, equality, justice and fairness, the Minister emphasised.
    Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun recalled that Budget 2017-2018 has reviewed allowances under the Mauritius Scholarship Scheme by providing for an increase of Rs 20 million.  The yearly allowance for laureates pursuing postgraduate studies locally has also been increased by 10%, while the yearly allowance for Additional Laureates studying abroad has been increased by 20%.
    The Minister thus urged laureates to seize this opportunity to excel in their fields of study and return to Mauritius with their expertise and know-how and also to create prospects to serve the country and the world to the best of their ability with excellence, honesty and integrity.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
  • ICT- New e-Services launched for prompt and effective public service delivery

    GIS – 14 July 2017: Thirty-six new e-Services, geared to back Government’s vision in offering effective public services through e-Government initiatives and ICT deployment, were launched yesterday at Cyber Tower 1, in Ebène, by the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation (MTCI), Mr Yogida Sawmynaden.
    The Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, and the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, were also present at the launching ceremony.
    In this ‘e-era’ Mauritius is riding on the waves of computerisation and the Internet, said Minister Sawmynaden in his address, adding that ICT is playing an increasingly important role in the economic development of the country.
    “ICT has become an intrinsic feature of our daily life and has drastically changed the way we operate personally and professionally but, most importantly, it has democratised access to knowledge”, he pointed out.
    Speaking about e-Government, the Minister recalled that the focus is on reviewing the current processes in the public sector so as to better serve citizens and businesses.  The goal is to meet the needs of citizens and engage them by streamlining service delivery and bringing accuracy, promptness, and transparency to the process.
    In addition to new e-services, the MTCI is also developing mobile apps for the convenience of our citizens.  Ten mobile apps are currently under development: Smart Traffic Monitoring (up-to-date traffic information); and, Smart Police Force App (Police notifications during events like Maha Shivratree, Père Laval and Cavadee festivals).
    For her part, Minister Dookun-Luchoomun said that e-Government has become an integral part of the technological advancement of a knowledge-based society.  As regards e-Education the process to consolidate its foundation is ongoing from the Primary to the Tertiary level of education and by the end of this year all secondary schools will be connected to the Internet, she added.
    “One of our prized objectives is to equip our students with the right skills set to enable them to remain competitive in an increasingly interconnected world and to equip them with the jobs of tomorrow.  The key for us as policymakers, teachers, and parents is to see to it that our children move beyond being passive consumers of technology and now focus on how to assist them to create technology”, she added.
    In her speech, Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo, pointed out that the world is witnessing a formidable era of information which is also the era of smartness. On that score Government wants to make the most of technology to create a sustainable link between institutions and citizens for better, smarter and timelier service delivery.
    “At a click of a mouse, a pool of information is made available and may also serve to call for urgent assistance in emergency situations, and issues such as child neglect, abuse and abandonment can now be reported online. The e-reporting will no doubt help in safeguarding our children against potential risks and harm” she said.
    The 36 new e-Services have been developed by the National Computer Board, in collaboration with various Ministries and Departments.  The e-Services span several sectors ranging from Energy and Public Utilities; Technology, Communication and Innovation; Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research; Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection; Judiciary to Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives; and Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare.
    Some of the 36 new e-Services launched relate to Registration of a Radiation source; Application for ICT Awareness Course in Cyber Caravan; Application for statement of ranking – top 500 scholarship rank order; Application for Legal Aid; Online submission of customer feedback at Regional Cooperative Centre; and Contact/Query Form at the Child Development Unit. To-date over 69 Government services are available online to provide 24/7 electronic service to citizens.  All online transactions are encrypted and secured. In order to make use of the e-Services, applicants need to register online.
    The e-payment infrastructure and ‘go-live’ of e-Services with payment to enable the Mauritian citizen transact with Government is also accessible.  Ten services are live for payment.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.org
  • Open Data Readiness Assessment Report recommendations to be implemented by ICT Ministry

    GIS - 14 July 2017: The Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation will implement the recommendations contained in the Open Data Readiness Assessment Report of the World Bank. The Assessment was carried out in view to identify datasets that may be released as open data.

    The World Bank has recommended that the Ministry should consider joining the Open Government Partnership. To this end, the Ministry should work with other stakeholders to ensure that opportunities for open data are included in policies on innovation, public financial management, procurement reform, tourism sector, and transport improvement.
    The Open Data Readiness Assessment Report also recommends that universities and colleges should include data skills in the curriculum or student activities.

    Open Government Data can be conceptualised as information, public or otherwise, which anyone is free to use, re-use and redistribute. The data must be available as a whole in a convenient and modifiable form. The key features of data openness comprise amongst others availability and access; transparency and accountability.

    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.org

  • Workshop focuses on Biodiversity and Management of Coastal Zone

    GIS- 14 July 2017 : A two-day inception workshop on the project ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into the Management of the Coastal Zone in the Republic of Mauritius’ opened yesterday at Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Balaclava at the initiative of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme.
    During the workshop, some 75 participants will take cognizance of the goals, objectives and beneficial outcomes of the project for the Republic of Mauritius. The purpose of the workshop is to have working sessions with all relevant stakeholders, to review and fine tune the project outcomes, activities and performance indicators. The inception workshop aims to build ownership within all partners involved in the implementation of the project results and to plan the first-year annual work plan and its budget.
    Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, highlighted that the project will facilitate the mainstreaming of various aspects of protection of biodiversity in the activities being carried out by different stakeholders in the coastal zone, both in Mauritius and in Rodrigues.
    He recalled that the coastal zone and inshore waters in Mauritius are of vital importance for socio-economic development by providing income through tourism and fisheries and as the focus of many leisure and recreational activities. These activities, he added, exert intense pressure on the habitat and environment of different species in these regions and in the long run may lead to the extinction of the species which are vital for the safeguard of the Coastal Zone.
    Hence, pointed out Mr Koonjoo, the outcomes of the project will benefit Mauritius and Rodrigues through protection of biodiversity while the twin issues of climate change impacts and negative externalities of coastal development could be effectively addressed by having the necessary legal and regulatory framework, policies and institutions.
    Speaking about the need to build climate-resilient ocean economies, Minister Koonjoo underlined that several initiatives have been taken to protect and conserve the ocean ecosystem in line with Aichi Biodiversity targets.
    They include: restoration of the coral reef through coral farming; regular monitoring of the lagoons; setting up of marine protected areas; enforcement of measures to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing; promotion of sustainable development of marine resources; and implementation of international conservation and management practices.
    For his part, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Simon Springett, stated that the project which will be implemented both in Mauritius and Rodrigues at a very critical time will assist the Republic of Mauritius to take into consideration environmental and ecological factors while planning the development of the coastal and marine environment in a sustainable manner.
    He added that the UNDP will also support the national initiative of conserving biodiversity. This year, a project preparation grant of $130,000 has been approved by the GEF for the formulation of a project document on Mainstreaming Invasive Alien Species Prevention, Control and Management. Successful endorsement of the project document will see Mauritius granted $3.8m by the GEF for implementation of activities in view of Invasive Alien Species control and prevention, he said.
    The project
    The main objective of the project ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into the Management of the Coastal Zone in the Republic of Mauritius’ is to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into coastal zone management and into the operations and policies of the tourism and physical development sectors in Mauritius through a ‘land and seascape wide’ integrated management approach based on the Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESAs) inventory and assessment. It will be implemented with the collaboration of stakeholders from all relevant sectors which include various ministries, NGO’s and the civil society.
    The project value is a grant from GEF amounting to USD 4,664,521. The duration of this project is five years and will be implemented both in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
    The project outcomes are as follows:
    • Addressing threats to biodiversity and ecosystem function by ensuring that 27,000 ha marine and coastal Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) are an integral part of planning and implementation mechanisms relating to coastal development and the tourism sector;
    • Mitigation of threats to marine and coastal biodiversity and protection of fishery resources in at least 20,000 ha of seascapes through the improved management of Marine Protected Areas and no-take zones; and
    • Erosion control and ecosystem services restoration: reduction of erosion and soil loss in 200 ha of erosion-prone water sheds; and restoration of ecosystem services in 100 ha of coastal wetlands.
    Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@mail.gov.mu.mu Website:http://gis.gov.mu