By Vincent Matinde

Mauritius’ focus on legislation and innovation has positioned the country as one of only a few outside Europe to feature data protection laws in line with the recently enacted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations).

This is according to the island nation’s Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation Yogida Sawmynaden, who spoke at the inaugural Africa Cyber Defense Summit held recently in Nairobi.

“In terms of data protection we have already aligned ourselves with the GDPR of the European union. We passed a bill in December 2017 that aligned our laws with the one in Europe,” said Sawmynaden.

The expectation is that this will enhance the appeal of the country as a destination for European ICT firms to set up operations and invest. Sawmynaden did add that Africa needs a single cybersecurity law. “We need to harmonise our laws and speak one digital language in order to counter attacks.”

Officials representing Mauritius used the Summit to highlight the country’s achievements in ICT and telecommunications, including cyber security.

Sawmynaden said a cybersecurity committee has been established to monitor global threats and run cyberattack drills to fully prepare for any potential cyber attack.

Mauritius has secured approval from COMESA and SADC countries to establish a Regional Capacity Building Centre for Africa to deal with cyber security.

This centre will help countries formulate cyber security legislation and collaborate to combat cyber attacks.

In 2017 Mauritius was ranked number 6 worldwide in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2017.

According to the minister, ICT is currently the third pillar of the country’s economy. It currently has over 50 e-government services and looks to digitise all official processes to become a blueprint for Africa.

“Its internet and mobile phone penetration has made it a fertile country for digitisation of services. Already there is 100 percent fibre optic coverage in the country and the mobile penetration sits at 144 percent.”