Current ICT Initiatives and projects - Mauritius

ICT Initiatives are currently ongoing at national level in the areas of Education (Universal ICT Education Programme, Education through ICT, Digital Youth Engagement Programme), Digital Divide (Community Empowerment Programme, Public Internet Access Points, Cyber Caravan Project, Community Web Portal), eGovernment (Government Online Services and eServices, Mauritius National Identify Card, Public Key Infrastructure, eJudiciary Programme, Crime Occurrence Tracking System, ePayment Project, eHealth, ePrison, National ICT Strategic Plan, eGoverment Stategy Report, Mauritius e-Registry Project), Cyber Security (National Computer Emergency Response Team, Critical Information Infrastructure Framework, National Cyber Security Strategy), Entrepreneurship (NCB Technopreneur Unit), Green IT (National Green IT Policy and Strategy, eWaste Policy and Stategy) and Open Source Policy and Strategy.

Universal ICT Education Programme

The National Computer Board (NCB) operating under the aegis of the MTCI has been implementing the Universal ICT Education Programme (UIEP) since September 2006. One of the priorities of the programme is the introduction of the internationally acknowledged Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3) course with a view of making it the benchmark for digital literacy/proficiency in Mauritius.

The programme aims at training a maximum number of persons comprising students, employees, non-employee and the population at large on the IC3 course in line with Government's vision of accelerating the transformation of Mauritius into an ICT hub and in developing ICT into a major pillar of the economy.

The IC3 course 45 hrs in duration and trainings are delivered in State Secondary Schools after school hours and during weekends using IT facilities that would have otherwise remained idle. To date 232,000 people have been trained on IC3.

Digital Youth Engagement Programme Project - Coding in Cyber Caravans

As announced in the Budget Speech 2017-2018, the National Computer Board (NCB), a parastatal body operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, is implementing the 'Digital Youth Engagement Programme (DYEP)' which comprise the provision of introductory courses on Coding to youngsters. NCB is therefore reviewing the trainings provided in its Cyber Caravans into coding sessions which will be dispensed to students and the community.

The National Computer Board will act as a training service provider to the Ministry of Education for the introduction of Coding in primary schools starting as early as Grade 4 and Grade 5. The learners will be provided with a 15-hour training delivered in the Cyber Caravans, which will proceed to various primary schools around the island following a joint collaboration and an agreed timetable with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research.

The objectives of introducing Coding at an early age are to:

- Spark the interest of our young learners for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.

- Contribute to increase the number of students opting for Science and Computer Subjects at Secondary and Tertiary Levels.

A number of coding skills will be imparted to the students via course materials accessible online from an Open Source coding platform (Code.org). The skills to be taught include:

- Reinforcement of Pre-Requisites (Mouse Skills)

- Sequence

- Debugging codes

- Understanding and Devising of Algorithms

- Use of loops

It is expected that this initiative will, in the long run, contribute towards creating an adequate and diversified talent pool to fill the increasing number of technology jobs that shall be available in the future and hence drive the growth of the ICT Sector.

NCB will make use of a mix of IT equipment (in the Cyber Caravans) including PCs, Laptops, Raspberry Pi and Tablets for the delivery of the trainings in coding. It will be seamless for the learner accessing online course materials from whatever device he/she is using and at the same time this will also be an opportunity to showcase the latest IT technologies available to the students and community.

Community Empowerment Programme

The objective of the Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) is to facilitate the process for the community to make use of ICT to fully participate in the socio-economic development of Mauritius. The CEP is in line with the Government programme to encourage the development of local content and creativity. The CEP consists of the following projects:

1. Wi-Fi Mauritius

350 locations in public places in Mauritius have been equipped with free Wi-Fi hotspots with 10 MB Internet connection through Optical Fibre. The Wi-Fi access is being promoted by the 'bringing of one's own device' philosophy.

Previously, under the Community Empowerment Programme, the NCB had set up Computer Clubs on a regional basis to provide free access to ICT tools and Internet in collaboration with Microsoft and Mauritius Telecom Foundation with the aim to provide free access to ICT tools and Internet. The Wi-Fi locations have been chosen based on the existing sites of Computer Clubs, Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs), ZEP schools, etc and their existing lines have been used to provide Wi-Fi.

2. Setting up of Learning Corners in Rodrigues

The purpose of this project is to provide free access to ICT tools and Internet to Rodriguans. The Learning Corners add to the development of Rodrigues by facilitating the democratisation of ICTs in order to contribute in the empowerment of the community through the use of ICTs and free access to broadband Internet. It helps to provide information and communication infrastructure and promote ICT for educational, personal and social development by providing free Internet access.

Each Learning Corner is equipped with three computers and free Internet access and is open to the public.

11 Learning Corners have been set up in Rodrigues in the following locations in 2013: Citron Donis YC, Bigarade CC, Mon Plaisir CC, La Ferme CC, Latanier CC, Oyster Bay YC, English Bay CC, Grande Montagne YC, Centre Polivalent de Citronelle CC, Dans Bebe CC, Fond La Bonte CC.

An additional 10 Learning Corners have been set up in Rodrigues in August 2014 with the collaboration of the National Empowerment Foundation (NEF) and Mauritius Telecom Foundation (MTF) in the following Community Centres: Anse Goeland, Baie Topaze, Batatrand, Battue Madame, Deux Goyave, Mangue, Mt Charlot, Roche Bon Dieu, Tamarin and Vangard.

Some 38,000 users have benefited from the facilities in the Learning Corners.

3. Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs)

In addition, access to ICT infrastructure and Internet has been accelerated by the set up of Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs) in the 95 post offices around the island. 5 PIAPs are also available in Rodrigues. This measure will result in a further increase in ICT and Internet penetration of Mauritian citizens. More than 315,000 registrations have been noted in the PIAPs.

Government Online Services (GOC) and e-Services

The Government Online Centre (GOC), operational since May 2005, is a centralised data centre that supports e-Government initiatives. The GOC hosts the Government Web Portal (GWP), which provides secured online Government services round-the-clock. Being a common platform for Ministries and Departments, the GOC enables the optimisation of IT investment for the public sector. Over 200 websites are being hosted for Ministries and Departments and Parastatal Bodies.

The Government Web Portal (GWP) is a one-stop-shop providing comprehensive information and enabling online applications on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis in a user-friendly manner. The GWP consists of a homepage and four sub-portals, namely, Citizen, Government, Non-Citizen and Business.

The GWP has a dedicated eServices section for online applications. This eServices section enables the submission of online applications, the receipt of online acknowledgements and the online tracking of the status of applications, amongst others. The list of e-services have been segmented by target persons (105 services), by domain (50 services), by Ministry (40 services), by department (10 services) and by parastatal bodies (10 services). There has been an exponential growth of use of eServices for the past 10 years. Citizens can also transact with the Government through payment of online services, for instance, payment of a driving test or payment for police duties request. In addition, the government portal is now mobile friendly with the Smart App (over Apple and Android) and the Smart Browser View.

A key element in e-Government, the GOC offers web site publishing and hosting services and host common and back-office applications of Ministries and Departments such as the Registry System, Central Personnel Systems, Labour Market Information System, Environment Information System, Central Population Database amongst others.

GOC also provides Internet access to over 180 secondary schools and 265 primary schools and Internet & E-mail facilities to over 8,000 employees of Ministries and Departments, making the institution the 2nd largest Email Provider in Mauritius.

With the setting up of a National Internet Exchange Point (NIXP) on the GOC platform, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Mauritius can peer through to GOC so that local bandwidth is contained in Mauritius thereby saving on international bandwidth.

National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU)

The Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU), a division of the National Computer Board, is promoting cyber security issues at the national level. CERT-MU serves as a focal point in Mauritius for computer security incident reporting and Response. Mauritius is placed 6th globally and first in Africa based on the ITU's Cyber Security Index.

Services offered by CERT-MU include:

- Information Security Incident Handling and Management

- Vulnerability scanning and Penetration Testing of networks, applications, and devices

- Disseminating information security news and latest information security alerts to constituency members

- Advise parents on the issues of Child Online Safety including Social Networking sites

- Security Awareness Programmes on Information Security

- Third Party Auditing and providing assistance in implementing ISO 27001.

CERT-MU is also a member of the following bodies:

1. Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), a premier organisation and recognised global leader in incident response.

2. Anti- Phishing Working Group (APWG)

3. International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT

4. Cyber Security Alliance for Mutual Progress(CAMP) - South Korea

National CyberCrime Strategy

A National Cybercrime Strategy has been developed and approved by the Government on 25th August 2017. The objective of the strategy is to enhance the law enforcement capacity and strengthen the legal framework in order to combat cybercrime effectively

NCB Technopreneurship Unit

In line with the Government vision on establishing a Techno-entrepreneurship culture to build an innovative ICT Start-up Nation, the National Computer Board (NCB) re-engineered its ICT Incubator Centre into the Technopreneurship unit. The Technopreneurship Unit operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Technology Communication and Innovation and is a key player in promoting Entrepreneurship in the ICT Sector.

The main objectives of the Technopreneurship Unit of NCB are to:

- Create a Techno-entrepreneurship culture to build an innovative ICT Start-up Nation

- Encourage Ideation, Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship to develop ICT Start-ups and Technopreneurs

- Organise Program and initiatives in emerging Technologies to develop a Community of Entrepreneurs in ICT Sector

- Promote and Inspire start-ups to come up with Innovative solutions/ services to improve life of Citizen through the use of ICT.

The Technopreneurship Unit organises TechideaSpace to help nascent, university students, fresh graduates, undergraduates, young IT and ITES Professionals, postgraduates, researchers, academics, secondary students and aspiring ICT start-ups with new innovative/ creative ideas to Turn Idea to Business. The Unit also act as Facilitator / Mentor to start-ups in realizing their projects.

Moreover assistance are provided to start-ups in preparing their Business Model, in writing Business Plan, in preparing financial forecasts and in preparing Marketing plan. As support the software start-ups have access to Microsoft development Tools through the BizSpark Program. Start-ups are not only guided on how to start business in the ICT sector and how to incorporate their company but they are also guided about the different financing schemes available for funding ICT projects in Mauritius.

To attract the innovative minds of Mauritius new generation by challenging their creativity and capacity in Business, Science and Technology, the National Computer Board organises the ICT Innovative Business Idea Competition. This Competition welcomes business ideas related to Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) focusing particularly in development of tools that will improve lives by making it easier for citizens to receive innovative services/ solutions to improve access to smart services through the use of technology.

To encourage the community of Technopreneurs to meet, share ideas, learn new skills and discover growing opportunities in the field of Technology. The Technopreneurship Unit organises valuable talks/ meet ups on a regular basis to update our community of ICT start-ups to connect to the best people in the tech industry share specific topics and trends. The main goal of Tech-Talk is to MEET to share ideas, LEARN new skills and GROW together.

E-Government Projects

In line with the eGovernment Strategy 2013 - 2017, a number of eGovernment projects have been implemented:

(a) Law and Order - Crime Occurrence Tracking System (COTS)

- In November 2012 the Crime Occurrence Tracking System (COTS) was implemented on a pilot basis to empower MPF with a tool for effective and efficient tracking of crime occurrences in the country using emerging ICT solutions. The system encompasses Computerisation of Occurrence Book & Master Registers, Tracking of movement of case file or dossier, Generation of Statistical Information and Maintenance of confidentiality.

- With COTS in place, statements are captured electronically at Police Stations, finding of enquiries captured online and cases lodged at Courts. Thus ensuring that case related information are available at the finger tips and closer monitoring of crime cases and statistics.

(b) e-Prison: The e-Prison system was launched in May 2014 for a better management of the prison inmates and a follow-up on their rehabilitation.

(c) e-Judiciary - In April 2013, an e-Filing System has been implemented at the Commercial Court for commercial cases. This initiative ushers in an age of modernity to the way cases are filed and processed in our courts. The next stage will be the roll out of the solution to other courts including district courts for the trial of criminal cases.

(d) e-Procurement: The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) has implemented an integrated web-based e-Procurement System (ePS) for the Public Sector that will improve procurement processes and enhance transparency.

(e) e-Work Permit: This system aims to faciliate the application and issuing of work permits within 2 week. A a full-scale review of the work processes at the Employment Division was undertaken through the establishment of an e-Work Permit Plan in June 2012 by the services of the Central Informatics Bureau of the Ministry of ICT. Currently, e-Work Permit is implemented on a pilot basis.

(f) e-Education: Interactive projectors have been introduced at upper primary level through the Sankore project. Tablet PCs were distributed to Form V students in 2014. The classrooms are undergoing a major uplifting through the provision of Wi-Fi connectivity and high bandwidth Internet to Secondary Schools.

(g) High speed connectivity in Primary Schools - Contract has been awarded for the deployment of High speed Internet links in Primary Schools.

(h) SchoolNet II - Deployment of Internet links and wireless connectivity in more than 150 sites in Mauritius and Rodrigues comprising Secondary State Schools, Grant-aided Secondary Schools, and Public Libraries among others will be completed by November 2017.

(i) Tablet Computers for Grade I, II students and educators - To support the Early Digital Learning Programme and to modernise teaching and learning through the use of ICT tools. Distribution of Tablet Computers will start as from October 2017.

(j) eHealth: Work is ongoing to implement an eHealth system including electronic medical records, electronic imaging systems and ePrescriptions

(k) Document Management System - supported by Public Key Infrastructure which was set upu in June 2012

(l) e-Payment project: The ePayment system is operational since November 2013 in the Government Online Centre supporting payment for driving license and police fees, for Lease of state land, for Incorporation of a business, company registration fees and parking fines

(m) Mauritius e-Registry Project (Online Registration of Deeds): Provide integrated workflows and options for businesses, professionals and members of the public to conduct business with the Registrar General Department over the Internet.

(n) eServices, InfoHighway and Data Sharing Policy to govern and enable sharing of data amongst Government agencies. Around 180 e-Services are already operational and more than 50 data sharing requests are in the pipeline for implementation on the InfoHighway.

Smart Mobile Apps

In line with the Vision 2030, the Smart mobile apps platform (SMAP) will integrate a host of mobile applications along with a government "app store" website to improve service delivery to the Mauritian population. This project is currently being implemented and consist of:

- Developing a Service Oriented Architecture system that will allow the quick and consistent deployment of mobile apps. A proposed architecture is described at Annex II

- Implementing a government "app store" website to reference and promote the mobile apps as well as any future apps

- Developing a number of mobile apps, available on major platforms (iOs, Android...) for pilot launch. The proposed mobile apps are listed below.

1. Search Gov

2. Smart Traffic

3. Smart Police

4. Public Utilities

5. Emergency Alert System

6. Family Welfare

7. Consumer Rights

8. School Companion

9. SME Net

10. Green Living Index

11. Cyber Alert

Critical Information Infrastructure Framework

The project aims at setting up a policy framework for Information Security Assurance and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection with the main objective of identifying and protecting the critical information infrastructures of Mauritius. The policy will be based on the UN Resolution 58/199: Creating a Global Culture of Cybersecurity and Protection of Critical Information Infrastructures and focuses on leadership, risk mitigation and awareness and defines a plan of immediate actions to strengthen the security and resilience of CIIs. The main critical sectors identified for Mauritius are namely Energy, Financial Services (incl. Banking), Government Services, Health, ICT & Broadcasting, Manufacturing, Sugar, Transport & Logistics, Tourism, Customs and Water Supply. The main recommendations for the policy fall under 3 main pillars:-

i. Leadership and Governance: Establish clear leadership and governance in information security risk management at national level and at level of organizations;

ii. Risk Mitigation: Establish mandatory information security risk management policy for critical sector operators to protect against cyber security threats.

iii. Awareness and Prevention: Promote the adoption of information security best practices.

The project forms part of the National CyberSecurity Strategy and Action Plan 2014 - 2019.

EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres

In line with its initiatives to promote Green IT, the NCB organised a capacity building programme on EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (EUCOC) in 2013, leading to industry certification from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, with 60 participants from organisations operating data centres or large server rooms. The EUCOC is a series of best practices that have been created by the UK's Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural affaires (DEFRA), the British Computer Society Data Centre specialist group (BCS DCSG) and the EU Joint Research Centre (EU-JRC) in conjunction with industry professionals for use in mission critical data centres/server room environments. They provide mechanisms for ICT staff to implement energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption, thus reducing GHG emission and associated reduction in energy costs. This capacity building programme was funded by the European Union and a Report has been prepared by the Consultant with the main objective of providing recommendations and measures to enhance energy efficient data centres in Mauritius.

The NCB has been granted an "Endorser" of the EUCOC, being the first organisation in the African Region, with the main aim of promoting the code for data centres in Mauritius.

Implementation of Anti-Cyber Threat Monitoring System

The Cyber Threat Monitoring System will enable CERT to better respond, monitor and coordinate cyber-threats at the national level. The system will have the capability for early detection of potentially devastating cyber-attacks and the ability to respond to cyber security incidents in real time. Through this establishment, cyber threats can be monitored round-the-clock for critical installations.

The core functions of the system are to:

- Reduce the risk of cyber security threats and attacks on government websites and portals, as well as critical information infrastructures.

- Carry out round-the-clock security operations for early detection and prevention of potential cyber threats.

- Gather cyber threat intelligence, which it will analyse and assess for drawing up defensive measures at the national level.

- Promote awareness of cyber threats and coordinate security responses in both public and private sectors.

The other core activity of the Anti-Cyber Threat Monitoring System is the Cyber Threat Analysis. This will help to mitigate cyber risk with a comprehensive approach to threat identification, intelligence gathering and validation, and response to protect critical information of the constituency members. This will also help to determine the nature of attacks, vulnerability types and analysis of malicious code.

NOSECC to promote Open Source

The National Computer Board has developed a National Open Source Policy and Strategy that was approved by Cabinet in 2014 and following Cabinet Decisions of 2015, it was mentioned that the National Open Source Competency and Excellence Centre will be set up under the aegis of the National Computer Board.

NOSECC represents primarily a coordinating framework for all stakeholders and a guidance in the direction of the OSS Policy, so their roles and activities may be different and numerous. The following list outlines some, but not all of them:

- coordination between stakeholders

- implementing OSS policy, OSS strategy, OSS action plan

- main contact in GOV for OSS issues (regulation, strategies, execution)

- create and publish OSS technologies/Solutions/service government plan for short / medium term

- support government users in choosing, planning and using OSS

- to influence and collaborate in procurement system changes

- assist in preparing RfPs and tenders for ICT procurement

- Open Summit Mauritius organisation/coordination

- creating sub documents (guidelines, standards. interoperability framework, SW/technologies select process, SW repository editorial)