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 Inofrmation 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.
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 250,000 people have been trained on the IC3 programme.
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)
- 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. To date c. 1,588 participants have undertaken the DYEP training
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 benefitted 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.
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.
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
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. This strategy is being implemented.
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 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. 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 and encourage 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 promote the culture of Innovation among the University Students, the 2017- 2018 edition of this Competition is being organised for University Students.
To encourage the community of Technopreneurs to meet, share ideas, learn new schemes/skills and discover growing opportunities in the latest technologies, the Technopreneurship Unit organises Tech talks.
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 are stored in the system. This ensures that case related information is easily available and supports 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. Phase II of the system consists of an enhancement of the existing system to cater for the additional modules such as Prison Staff Intelligence Gathering System, duty management information system etc. The ePrison system will also be extended to other stakeholders (Rodrigues Prison, Correctional Youth Centre for Girls, Crime Record Office etc.)
(c) e-Judiciary - In April 2013, an e-Filing System has been implemented at the Commercial Court for commercial cases. 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: The processing of work permits is presently witnessing a major transformation with the advent of technology This system aims to faciliate the application and issuing of work permits within 2 weeks.
(f) e-Education: Government has significantly progressed on its e-Education journey. Classroom teaching and learning has been revolutionized with the introduction of interactive projectors in primary schools through the Sankore project. Now Government has initiated the next stage of the e-Education revolution through the distribution of tablets to primary school students of Grades I and 2 in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega. Government will further extend this project by providing tablets to Grade 3 students. Pupils will learn from their teachers, from their peers as well as from the vast ocean of knowledge available on the web. The classrooms are also undergoing a major uplifting through the provision of Wi-Fi connectivity and high bandwidth Internet to primary and secondary Schools.
- 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.
- 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.
(g) eHealth: Work is ongoing to implement an eHealth system including electronic medical records, electronic imaging systems and ePrescriptions
(h) e-Payment project: The ePayment system is operational since November 2013 in the Government Online Centre supporting payment for for more than 10 services including driving license and police fees, for Lease of state land, for Incorporation of a business, company registration fees and parking fines
- 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. MeRP allows for e-Submission of documents, e-Payment of duties and taxes, e Registration and e-Delivery of registered documents.
(i) Info Highway System: Government has implemented the Info Highway System, which provides for sharing of data amongst Government agencies. Its objective is to provide a robust service platform to facilitate the consumption of published data amongst Government agencies to improve operation efficiency in public administration and business operations. It also aims at establishing links to other Ministries/Departments and institutions. The InfoHighway project has been recognized as a WSIS Prizes 2018 champion in the 'category 7 E-government' by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes 2018 Ceremony.
(j) Electronic Document Management System (eDMS): eDMS has been implemented to enable the electronic storage and retrieval of files in Ministries and Departments. It has been implemented on a pilot basis at the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation and at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The eDMS would also act as a repository of digitally signed documents and emails. The system will allow Government agencies to effectively manage large volume of existing and future anticipated documents and to streamline the flow of data across the government agencies. The system is paving the way towards a paperless Government, better flow of information and better service delivery.
(k) e-Recruitment : The e-Recruitment system allows applicants to apply for vacancies advertised by the Public Service Commission (PSC) through an online application form. The system provides for the determination of eligibility and non-eligibility of the candidates and generates a list of eligible candidate after the closing date.
(l) Building & Land Use Permit (BLP) System: The system allows online application submission and processing for the different types of Building & Land Use Permits for any of the 12 Local Authorities. The BLP e-service now also includes online payment of relevant BLP Fees.
(m) Cooperatives Division e-Registration Project (CDeRP): The CDeRP System allows online applications for registration for new cooperatives, online payment facilities for existing and new cooperatives, and online submission of accounts of cooperatives to facilitate audits. Supporting documents in electronic format are also submitted online to the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives through the Portal.
(n) Domestic Violence Information System (DOVIS) : The DOVIS provides the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare with a tool that facilitates the management of domestic violence cases in order to better control cases of domestic violence. The system aims to decrease the incidence of cases of domestic violence and to provide assistance and protection to victims of domestic violence and rehabilitation of perpetrators.
In line with the Vision 2030, The Government has embarked on the implementation of 10 mobile apps, a Government apps directory and a mobile app platform. Seven mobile apps have been completed and are available for download to the Public:
- Smart Police
- Smart Traffic
- Consumer Rights
- Search Gov
- Emergency Alert
- Family Welfare
- School Companion
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.
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.
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.
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)
A dedicated team led by the Mauritius Research Council, in consultation with the University of Mauritius, University of Technology, Mauritius, Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute and the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, drafted an explicit technical document for the design of the first Mauritian CubeSat. The MRC team also benefited from international collaborators with expertise in relevant fields including Clyde Space (UK); TeleSpazio (France) and ASTOS Solutions (Germany). The proposed satellite will be equipped with an infrared thermal imaging camera, which will provide detailed spatial and temporal data for land and ocean studies of Mauritius. The nanosatellite will also be used as a test platform to test inter-island connectivity by broadcasting updates to remote islands of the Republic of Mauritius. Positive results from the CubeSat experiment could lead to the development of a large scale solution for inter-island communication. The satellite will be launched in 2019.
The Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation is setting up a Centre of Excellence on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime in Mauritius to address the main challenges facing the country namely, the harmonisation of cybercrime policy and legislative frameworks; fostering of international co-operation through promotion of information sharing; how to address rapid advances in the deployment of new technologies to fight cybercrime; mapping legal and regulatory instruments with existing regional and international best practices and capacity building for technical managerial expertise and knowhow to address cybercrime as well as sensitization of the general public, and law enforcement agencies. The centre will serve as a common platform to discuss how law enforcement agencies could detect, handle and prosecute cybercriminals and the judiciary to understand this highly technical and complex area whenever cases are brought before Courts. The role of the Centre to address cybercrime will be to set out the right approach to fight cybercrime through improved cyber threat intelligence and law enforcement capability, effective criminal justice framework and active international engagement.