Mauritius ICT/BPO Industry Review: 2016 a year marked by growth for the sector
The ICT/BPO Industry Review 2016 report, highlighting 2016 as a rejuvenation year for the sector characterised by growth and diversification of most companies with a shift from ‘Do it cheaper’ to ‘Do it differently’, was launched yesterday afternoon at the Board of Investment (BOI) in Port Louis.
Speaking at the launch event, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation (MTCI), Mr Etienne Sinatambou, stated that the sector is solidly anchored as the third pillar of the economy and has now reached past the 20 000 employee benchmark, with both the figures and the trend being positive. For him, the sector should be seen from an international perspective since looking at it from a local perspective, the outlook might actually be dwarfed and the perspective may not be as accurate as it would otherwise have been.
Referring to the eight main indicators which govern the ICT sector (amongst which the UN e-Governance survey and the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index), Mr Sinatambou observed that Mauritius ranks 1st in Africa. Now, he said, we have to compare with other frontline players, that is, two giants in the IT sector: India and China. Looking at the figures, out of the eight key indicators, Mauritius is actually doing better than India and China in five of them, the Minister stated. We should not be underrating ourselves but should be sending the right signals and be real patriots as this is a sector which has tremendous potential, he pointed out.
For his part, the Managing Director, BOI, Mr Ken Poonoosamy, stressed that the BOI is committed to supporting the development of the ICT-BPO sector as it presents tremendous opportunities for Mauritius in its endeavour to move up the value-chain and become a high-income economy. The Industry Survey was launched back in 2004, when the BPO Secretariat was set up at the level of the BOI, he stated. The 2016 Survey symbolises the hard work put in place by all players and the arduous uphill path travelled by the sector from its very modest beginning to becoming today a major contributor to growth, export earnings, job creation and transfer of technologies and skills, the Managing Director added.
ICT/BPO Industry Review 2016 Highlights
The key drivers highlighted in the 2016 Survey include:
Increase of 7% in terms of number of operational companies to reach 750 companies;
35% of the industry consist of start-ups (employing 1 to 9 people) and are at the vanguard of digital marketing, social media and web development services;
IT outsourcing is showing an expansion trend with an increase of 3% in terms of companies engaged in the development of software solutions. Nearly 353 companies operate within this segment with multiple companies offering new innovative activities such as software as a service.
Within the BPO segment, an increase of 16% was noted with regard to the number of companies providing both voice and non-voice activities. It is expected that this trend shall continue given the global shift from voice to digital interactions.
The industry has also maintained its strength towards high-end activities. Total employment in the ICT-BPO industry has crossed the 20 000 threshold and presently stands at 23 000. The BPO segment remains the main generator for jobs with 53% of total employment in the segment of call centres, BPO non-voice and shared services.
It is recalled that the 2016 Survey has taken nearly two months from conception to completion of the Report. A hybrid data collection methodology was used to assess the Industry’s performance by using online surveys, emails, phone conversations, and one to one meetings as well as on-site visits.