India Sees Global Gateway In Mauritius Cyber City Project

New Delhi: | Updated: Sep 27 2002, 05:30am hrs
India proposes to leverage its involvement in the Cyber City of Mauritius to tap IT markets of Africa and France. Mauritius, which is considered a tax heaven for business, is developing its 153-acre Cyber City on the lines of Indias software technology parks. It is being built with financial and technical support from India.

In May last year, the Indian government had promised to extend a financial credit of $100 million along with technical support to Mauritius.

A highly-placed official in the Department of Information Technology (DIT) told eFE that Indias involvement in the project will provide an opportunity for the Indian infotech sector to explore other markets near Mauritius.

The Cyber City project can be exploited to make inroads into Africa and France. The French-speaking population of Mauritius, who constitute almost 50 per cent of the countrys population can facilitate an easy access to the French markets. Moreover, Mauritius being one of the more popular business destinations off the African coast, the Cyber City in Mauritius can also be used as a strategic channel to service African markets, he said.

The government official added that around 150 infotech companies in the field of consulting, hardware, sales, software and training were already operating in Mauritius.

Mauritius already houses the regional headquarters of Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Major players like Compaq, Oracle and Sun Microsystems also take keen interest in major events organised in the country, he said.

The Cyber City project, which is being developed in Ebene in Mauritius is expected to be completed within the next 18 months. Software Technology Park of India (STPI) has been involved in the project right from the inception stage and will help Business Parks of Mauritius, a local nodal agency, in conceptualisation, design, building infrastructure, equipment selection and deployment as well as network and communication design.

STPI will also be involved in determining the licensing requirements and regulations for companies planning to set up operations in Cyber City.

The DIT official said the foundation stone for the Cyber City project will be laid sometime early next week by Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan, who is visiting Mauritius along with senior officials from DIT, department of telecommunications (DoT) and STPI.

As per the agreement, Mauritius will repay the financial credit of $100 million extended by India after a 15-year moratorium at an interest rate of 6 per cent, said sources.

According to a senior STPI official, Cyber City will be a city in itself with 3,00,000 sq ft built-up space. The cost of setting up operations in Cyber City would be comparable with that in Tidal Park, Chennai and Hi-Tech Park, Hyderabad, he added.