Is Mauritius ready for Research & Development?

May 3, 2015

First of all I should thank Vincent for the article from about a meeting regarding “improving connectivity and bandwidth”.

As it happens, IT folks of the country only become aware of major discussions about the future of ICT in Mauritius through press or through the good work of people like Vincent :-)

Okay, let’s get back to the highlight of the topic. In the article, I read that the Estonian Ambassador extended its country’s help to set up an e-Governance Academy. While I do not have any problem with any country extending help to Mauritius, I find it unnecessary in the ICT sector, especially when we’re positioning ourself as a Smart Island. See, Estonia is indeed a reference in matters of e-Governance and ICT in general, but let’s keep in mind that copying and pasting does not really work in the “real world”.

Estonia has a different culture and education system than ours. Mauritius could use a template from Estonia but would that template be maintained and effectively used?

Let’s take a recent example. A Government Web Portal at the cost of Rs 50M tax-payers money was unveiled. The said portal has been criticized again and again in matters to UX/UI and its efficiency. The portal comprises of a forum, chat rooms, media galleries etc, but are any of those effectively used? Was any sort of research or survey conducted to study the needs of the Mauritian people when the portal was being designed?

Ohh… Let me guess. We were sold a template and we needed to adapt our culture according to that template? Is that it?

In recent discourses I heard Government officials mentioning that Research & Development should become yet another pillar of the economy. Does it look nice when Mauritians seem to be simply “people from the country who copies other countries and call that Research & Development”. Nope! As someone who contributes in the ICT sector of Mauritius, I firmly condemn actions that might make us look ridiculous in the future.