The 39th Southern Africa Telecommunications Association (SATA) Annual Conference, hosted by Mauritius Telecom, is being held at Sofitel Mauritius L'Impérial Hotel, in Flic en Flac, from 24th to 26th April. The conference theme this year is: 'ICT Connectivity and Service Delivery for the Benefit of All: Transforming our Society through Broadband and ICT Development'.
The SATA annual conference brings together influential industry players: CEOs, Directors, Managers and Experts in the ICT industry from various organisations within and outside the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. More than 60 delegates from 11 countries are attending this high profile event.
Mr Mabua Lesego Mabua, the Chairman of SATA, insisted on the role of the Telco and ICT sectors. He said that we cannot transform our economies if we do not transform our Telco and ICT sectors. He added that these are sectors where operators are continuously challenged; customers are impatient... He talked about the potential catalytic nature of ICT and its social economic benefits. For him, everybody should have access to adequate and affordable ICT services. "Let us work together to develop programmes and projects that ensure that ICT will deliver a better life for all the people", he concluded.
Mr Jacob Munodawafa, Executive Secretary of SATA, said that the conference is a great opportunity for members to share their experiences, promote collaboration and partnerships and also harness the opportunities brought by ICT for prosperity and a better quality of life. He added that during the conference, the different partners will come and share their thinking and how we can grow the industry. Experts on policy and strategy, technology and infrastructure will also come up with new ideas.
The CEO of Mauritius Telecom, Mr Sherry Singh, stated for his part that many Telecom operators are facing the same challenges. One of the questions operators should ask themselves is: are we still looking at business in a traditional way or are we really thinking of the future? These issues, he said, will be addressed during the conference.
Mr Singh stated that in line with the Vision 2030 of the Government of Mauritius as well as the vision of the Prime Minister, Honourable Pravind Jugnauth, Mauritius Telecom is deeply committed to help make Mauritius a smart island.
He recalled that in 2015, Mauritius had an aged copper network that had to be revamped. The challenge was not only to revamp the network or build the latest technology fibre network across the island, but how to proceed and how fast.
Mauritius Telecom accelerated the deployment of the fibre network in 2015 and achieved an island wide coverage by end 2017. Today Mauritius is the 8th most fibred country in the world.
In 2015, SME and home users had a maximum connection of 2 Mbps; now the minimum is a 10 Mbps connection and they can enjoy connections of up to 100 Mbps.
Mr Singh declared that Mauritius Telecom will be glad to share its experiences with the participants during the conference but also to learn from them. If we pool our knowledge base together, he added, we'll have a better chance to succeed together.
Mrs Mylavadee Mudaliar, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister, Yogida Sawmynaden. She recalled that Telecommunications and ICT are major enablers and play a vital role as catalysts for sustainable economic development. They can greatly contribute to transform Mauritius into a high income and inclusive country.
As a reminder, note that SATA was established in 1980 and regroups companies from the Telecommunications/Information and Communications Technology industry. It aims at spearheading regional ICT infrastructure and services developments. Its vision is to become the most dynamic and value-adding organisation that facilitates the building of a prosperous information society for the SADC region.