Minister Chedumbrum explained that the government is determined to make the ICT sector a major stalwart of the economy of the future and the country needs to be more competitive in a “transient” economic environment.
This considering the recent downturn in the textile industry, which has seen companies, go offshore, and the tourism sector, which is being hit by the burgeoning euro debt crisis.
‘We need to have a better contribution to GDP, increase the number of ICT-based industries, create incentives to enable investors to come to Mauritius, increase employment, and make the sector turn
out to be even further competitive,” Chedumbrum said.
“By 2014, we must be able to recruit around 14,000 people in the ICT sector as it is expected that a workforce of 29,000 would be required by 2014 to further strengthen the ICT Sector,” he added.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in a press statement outlined it will endeavour to educate around 2,500 persons by the end of the year.
Additionally, the Minister publicized the introduction of an ICT Skills Development Programme to the tune Rs 50 million to train youth in Mauritius and Rodrigues for their subsequent employment in the ICT sector.
The ICT Skills Development Programme aim is putting a stop to the constant shortages of ICT professionals and decreasing its reliance on foreign workers, which official government statistics suggest is around 32 per cent of the 13,000 people already working in the industry equating to over 4000 foreign nationals, mainly from France.
Minister Chedumbrum elaborated that the program is a public/ private collaboration with government subsidizing around 60 per cent and private sector 40 per cent overall.
It was also revealed that ITC Trainees would be receiving a monthly starting salary of 6000 Rupees per month, with Government contributing 50 per-cent and private sector 50 per cent.
Conversely, recent studies were undertaken by the HRDC (Human Resources Development Council) Mauritius highlighted the distinct need to pay employees more in order to entice them to stay in the IT industry.
Political commentators and ICT companies speaking to the Mauritian media this week welcomed the new ITC literacy venture, additionally outlining optimism in possibly making Mauritius an ITC hub in Africa in years to come, having also welcomed the employment of Mauritian ICT talent.
Furthermore, a training and employment placement plan for unemployed youth will be implemented coupled with a Work-based learning program for university students wishing to enter the sector.
Currently, the sector generates 6.8% of the GDP; with many economic analysts within Mauritius, portraying this is set to double in the next 10 years or so.