Speech - Opening of ‘Career & IT Fair 2014’ – Wednesday 23 April at 09.30 hrs
Venue : Octave Wiehe Auditorium, Reduit
I am very pleased to be in your midst for the opening of yet another edition of the ‘Career & IT Fair’ organised by the University of Mauritius Students’ Computer Club and the ‘Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department’. This is a great platform to bring the main players of the local ICT scene in contact with our soon-to-be graduates in the field.
As you know, and as was recently highlighted in the Budget Speech, the ICT/BPO sector is one of the fastest growing sectors. It is creating jobs for our youth at a rapid pace. It accounts for 6.4% of our GDP and provides employment to nearly 20,000 people and counting. We, at the government side, are providing the right infrastructure and framework for the industry to continue to grow with the ongoing implementation of fibre cable connectivity and commitment to upgrading and enhancing quality of internet connectivity.
The growth and expansion of the local industry will be led by you and companies such as those represented here today. To thrive and stay globally competitive in the sector, it is vital to continuously adapt to change. The common thread that binds all survival and success here is Innovation. This is one of the key elements of our Ministry’s Strategic Paper 2013-2025 where one the goal is to ‘Enhance Research and Innovation”.
In this context, we are talking about innovation within ICT itself or ICT as a supporting tool in innovation. Such is the critical role of innovation in government’s vision of transforming our nation into a knowledge hub by 2025 that an initiative of launching a 100 million rupee fund for Research and Innovation collaborative projects has been announced in our last Budget. The guidelines are soon to be finalized and …..
The guidelines are soon to be finalised and I would encourage young and soon-to-be professionals like yourselves to be on the look-out for such opportunities and schemes to innovate and think creatively for your companies and the country.
Thinking big is what also the idea of Big Data is all about. I was recently in South Africa for the inauguration of the first of a series of large radio telescopes for the largest astronomical projects ever undertaken- SKA (the Square Kilometer Array).
Mauritius is an integral partner of this science experiment and each of the hundreds of detectors that will be used will be generating data of 4.7 GigaBytes per second, meaning when fully operational the SKA observatory will produce enough information to fill approximately 4.5 million DVDs per day!
The challenge of Big Data will imply innovating in ways to process vast amount of data in the most efficient and productive manner and will rely on advances in software engineering, data mining, algorithm development and so on. These are not issues restricted to fundamental science and engineering but equally applicable to commercial data and information. I would like to see you, upcoming generation of ICT experts and professionals, be innovators to tackle such challenges.
While thinking big, it is also important to keep one’s feet on the ground and be aware of the opportunities to bring ICT closer to population and the public of all generations. During the ICT Expo 2014 this past week-end at Bel-Air, I mentioned that it is our mandate to bring Science, Technology and Research closer to the people. As you think about your own personal future growth and career, you graduates who are conversant in ICT and the latest technologies, I make a call that you do not neglect such endeavours of popularising ICT to the citizens of this country. This could be through CSR programs of the companies that you’ll be joining or other independent initiatives.
All in all, dear students, I fully believe that such events are to be commended/highly laudable for they provide a unique opportunity for you all to meet face to face with main players of the ICT industry in Mauritius, here at your own doorstep.
I am made to understand through such events, students may be handed job offers even before their graduation like last year, which :
(1) will alleviate a lot of the post-graduation stress of job-hunting, and
(2) indicates the ICT sector is still expanding and readily able to absorb/recruit new
graduates in its fold.
Irrespective of the situation you find yourself in today, do make the most of such privileged interactions to find out more about the organisations present. May the Computer Club and Department continue to lead such initiatives and may an ever-growing number of companies continue to be part of this exercise.