Mauritius: A national online discussion on the Global Innovation Index (GII) was held yesterday, between senior officials from different Ministries/Institutions and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) representatives, at the seat of the Ministry of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation in Ebène.
This online discussion was a joint initiative of the Ministry of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation and the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC).
The Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin, as well as representatives from the MRIC, different Ministries, institutions and the private sector, were present. The Co-Editor GII and Head, Section, Economics and Statistics Division, WIPO, Dr Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, and the Project manager GII, WIPO, Ms Vanessa Behrens, intervened virtually.
In his address, Mr Balgobin highlighted that innovation is high on Government’s agenda and stated that the performance of Mauritius in the GII is an important factor considered by the Government to evaluate the country’s progress toward an innovation-driven economy.
He recalled that Mauritius ranked first in sub-Saharan Africa and 45th worldwide in the GII report 2022, that is, seven places from the previous rank in 2021 and 37 places ahead of the 2019 edition, where Mauritius ranked 82nd.
He reiterated his commitment to improving the country’s ranking and the country’s innovation performance in the GII with the collaboration of WIPO. He remarked that one important measure was Cabinet’s decision dated September 2020 to request all institutions to submit data to regional instances for the GII ranking.
Furthermore, Minister Balgobin stated that no effort is being spared to improve the ICT infrastructure in the country while addressing other Emerging Technologies.
Also present, the Research Coordinator, MRIC, Dr Madhvee Madhou, made a presentation on the current innovation policy plans with regard to Mauritius in the GII. She emphasised that innovation is central to productivity and added that since 2014, a specific Ministry had been mandated to oversee the innovation portfolio.
She underlined that Government has increased funds for innovation projects and has set up the National Innovation Fund, which has provided Rs 125 to 150 million annually over the past five years. Furthermore, the National Research Fund has disbursed some Rs 50 million since 2018, she said.
Other measures to boost the sector include:
- Implementation of the National Innovation Framework (2018-2030);
- and finalisation of the Roadmap for research and innovation.
Dr Madhou further dwelt on other initiatives put in place by Government aimed at creating a strong ICT sector.
- Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategic Plan;
- Increased access to the digital world through the deployment of fibre to home;
- Info highway for sharing of information among public agencies;
- Digital Business facilitation comprising an online marketplace for start-ups and launching of an E-Export Directory;
- Free Wifi Hotspots over the country;
- Deployment of broadband and infrastructure to facilitate connectivity;
- and increasing the uptake of digital services.
Intervening virtually, Ms Vanessa Behrens spoke about the GII and recalled that it is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for and success in innovation, published by the WIPO.
Speaking about Mauritius’s performance in the GII, she said that the country performs above the upper-middle-income group average in four pillars, namely Institutions; human capital and research; market sophistication; and creative outputs.
The seven GII pillar scores for Mauritius are:
- Creative output,
- Knowledge and technology output,
- Human capital and research,
- Market sophistication
- Business sophistication.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius performs above the regional average in all GII pillars, she added.
About the GII
Created in 2007 by Cornell University, the European Institute of Business Administration, and the WIPO, the GII goes beyond the traditional indicators used to measure research and development and innovation in a country and thus focuses more on the interaction between the various agents of the innovation system (business, public sector, higher education and society).
The GII index, which can be scored between zero (for the worst performance) and 100 (for the best performance), is calculated on the basis of two sub-indicators: the inputs (institutions, human resources and research, infrastructure, market sophistication and business environment sophistication) and outputs (knowledge and technology, creativity) of the innovation system.
The study, which covers some 132 countries, is based on a total of 82 core indicators and is published annually.