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Business Management

Mauritius: ICT & BPO

Roshan Seetohul, President of the OTAM (Outsourcing & Telecommunications Association of Mauritius) and Vice President, Corporate Affairs, EURO CRM discusses ICT and BPO in Mauritius.

“Success in the field of ICT and BPO can be attributed to the right eco system that has been put in place in terms of political, social and economic stability,” says Roshan Seetohul. “This includes convenient time zone, appropriate legislative framework and above all, quality of our man power.”  However, he is also keen to stress the labour shortage and Mauritius is an ideal place for foreign IT workers at all stages of their careers to come.

“There has been a concerted effort in fine tuning this system over the years,” he adds. “Multiple initiatives related to training and connectivity are well underway to meet the needs and requirements of the ever growing segment. Moreover, two important parameters, namely cost-competitiveness and quality, are also essential in positioning Mauritius on the International outsourcing map.”

What are the unique challenges in Mauritius at the moment?

We need to increase the Skills & Talent Pool for the ICT/ BPO sector and to become more competitive in costs compared in the marketplace. We also need to get Rodrigues Island connected to the Fibre Cable.

What are the unique opportunities in Mauritius at the moment?

The biggest opportunity is addressing the African market, using Mauritius as a platform between Asia and Africa.

There has been a lot of talk about Mauritius as a "cyber island" - Do you feel this is a correct description?  

Today ICT Is a third pillar of the economy. Mauritius is forging its way to becoming a cyber-island in that part of the World. The growth figures and contribution to GDP show some remarkable results, and if we keep this tendency up, there is no doubt that we will achieve our target to make this country an e-island... and why not the much wanted cyber-island!

How far is Mauritius from its vision to become a regional ICT hub?

Mauritius is now well known on the global market for its ICT Sector. It is currently ranked 19th out of 185 countries in “Doing Business Survey” by the World Bank (2013). You can start a company within 3 days. On the Networked Readiness Index (2012) it comes 53rd (1st in the sub-Saharan region).

Our expertise is well sought in the region: from Malagasy operators (for labour), to African delegations from Uganda, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo to name a few. We are also working in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Commission to further develop the sector in the region.

Do you feel anything is holding Mauritius back?

From time to time we see a labour shortage as new companies tend to recruit massively all in one go in the BPO sector. It would also be better if Mauritius was more visible as a safe and reliable ICT destination. This will mean more aggressive marketing including events which should be organised both in Mauritius and outside Mauritius in order to show case the Mauritian experience and its services.

What is ICT like on the ground in Mauritius?

The market is comprised of hardware & software, ITO, BPO, FPO, KPO, LPO and medical transcript.

On an on-going basis we are working with institutions to address various issues e.g., we are trying to amend the DPA (Data Protection Act) so it aligns with the EU directives. We are also working on skills development to supply further growth for the future.

These include an ICT Academy which will open shortly, a Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) organising workshops & sensitisation campaigns, the ICT Skills Development Program and the Youth Development Program. All these actions are being taken care both by the private and public sector. The private and public partnership has been a focal point for the growth of ICT/BPO.

Is there anything you feel a global audience of IT professionals ought to know that isn't widely talked about?

Mauritius is a great place for people to come to. There are career opportunities not only for IT graduates but for experienced professionals (e.g., legal and finance) to cater for the higher end of the value chain. Work permits for IT Professionals are delivered in three weeks. Mauritius offers eligibility for a Residence Permit after having worked in Mauritius of three continuous years.

 

Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect

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