Mauritius: The Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius, Marie Cyril Eddy Boissézon, launched, this morning, the Blockchain-based verification services during a workshop at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis.
The workshop focusing on the ‘Future of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Regulations’, was organised in the context of the 21st anniversary celebrations of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA).
The Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Darsanand Balgobin, the Chairperson of the ICTA, Dick Christophe Ng Sui Wa, and other eminent personalities were also present.
Blockchain-based eVerify services refer to a system or platform that utilises blockchain technology to verify and authenticate various types of information or transactions electronically. The eVerify Services, characterised by high user friendliness and cost-effective aspects, will give added assurance to the different stakeholders and the public using licences issued by the Authority.
In his keynote address, Vice-President Boissézon observed that as new technologies drive new businesses, the Government must enforce regulations so as to protect citizens and ensure a fair market. He remarked that the rapid convergence of new technologies has transformed the ICT landscape almost beyond recognition.
He recalled that ICT is a crucial foundation of every economic sector and national growth. He stated that emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are creating new ways for consumers to interact and disrupting traditional business models.
The key challenge, he highlighted, is how to protect citizens best, ensure fair market share, and enforce regulations while allowing the new technologies to flourish. He underlined that regulations are a key factor in promoting sustainable, inclusive growth, social welfare and environmental protection.
He also dwelt on the key principles of an independent regulator as outlined by the World Bank, which are: independence, accountability, transparency, and public participation.
For his part, Minister Balgobin commended the ICTA for its relentless dedication to promoting affordable and quality telecommunication services in the Republic of Mauritius. He added that the Authority has been instrumental in shaping our nation’s digital landscape for over two decades.
Speaking about the Blockchain-based eVerify services, he indicated that the initiative signifies the commitment of Mauritius to embrace cutting-edge technologies and adapt its regulatory framework accordingly.
He pointed out that the eVerify services harness the inherent characteristics of blockchain, such as immutability, transparency, and security, to establish trust and ensure the integrity of data or documents. Blockchain-based eVerify services, he informed, have applications in various sectors, including education for verification of academic credentials, healthcare for patient records, supply chain for product authenticity, and Legal and Regulatory for contracts and documents.
Furthermore, Minister Balgobin remarked that the vision of the Government is to sustain the growth of the ICT sector in Mauritius with the right focus and the right regulatory framework by exploiting emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and 5G and by bringing together industry experts, stakeholders, and thought leaders to brainstorm and deliberate on emerging technologies.
As for the Chairperson of the ICTA, Dick Christophe Ng Sui Wa, he stated that new technologies require ICT regulators to reconsider the tools they deploy to facilitate fair competition in the ICT sector and protect consumers. New technologies also pose legal, ethical and macroeconomic challenges, he pointed out.
Speaking about regulatory actions taken by the ICTA, he informed that from 2020 to 2023, broadband internet subscriptions have increased from 1,6 million to 1,97 million and mobile subscriptions from 1,9 million to more than 2,1 million. HE ADDED THAT the ICTA has also come up with a recommendation to regulate the registration of SIM cards better and strengthen the regulatory framework for the usage and importation of satellite phones.
He recalled that the Authority had issued 5G licenses to the three mobile operators. The ICTA, he indicated, is also working with other members of the SADC and the African Telecommunications Union to obtain new satellite positions in space for Mauritius.