Mauritius, Seychelles Now Africa’s ICT Sector Leaders

Mauritius, Seychelles Now Africa’s ICT Sector Leaders

Written by Gareth van Zyl | From IT Web Africa

Islands Mauritius and Seychelles are edging out bigger African countries when it comes their state of information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

This is according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Networked Readiness Index (NRI) 2014, which ranks 148 countries based on their capacity to exploit opportunities offered by the digital age.

Up to 54 indicators assessed on the index range from factors such as political, regulatory, and business and innovation environments to infrastructure, affordability and skills.

And according to the index, Mauritius has jumped seven places from position 55 in 2013 to 48 this year.

The next highest African nation on the list is Seychelles, which has leaped from position 79 in 2013 to 66 in 2014.

World Bank figures point to how Mauritius only has a 1.2 million population while less than 90,000 people live in the Seychelles.

Yet these two tiny island nations are leading Africa when it comes to ICT, as bigger countries like South Africa ranks 70 on the index, Egypt ranks 91, Kenya ranks 92 and Nigeria 112.

“Mauritius recovers the ground lost last year and moves up seven positions to attain 48th place. Gains across the board — most notably in terms of a better ICT infrastructure and skills base, along with a higher level of individual usage — have led this improvement,” says the WEF report.

“Overall, the (Mauritius) government’s vision (31st) to develop ICTs as a key sector to support the economic development of the island, coupled with a positive political and regulatory environment, have resulted in improvements in an affordable (11th) ICT infrastructure and higher levels of ICT users, even if less than half of its population uses the Internet or has a computer with an Internet connection at home,” adds the report.

The report goes on to highlight how big African nations such as South Africa remain unchanged on the index.

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