The island nation of Mauritius is set to partner with New York-based Ethereum startup ConsenSys to create a blockchain technology hub called the ‘Ethereum Island.’ This will assist blockchain innovators and entrepreneurs develop their ideas and serve as a gateway to African and Asian markets. The country aims to boost its local economy and establish itself as a serious player when it comes to blockchain technology.
Blockchain Hub of the Indian Ocean
Located 700 miles off the Madagascar coast, Mauritius is widely recognised as an offshore financial hub. The nation is looking to become a centre for some of the brightest tech minds and organisations from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs. This new ‘Silicon Corridor’ will be aided by Mauritius’ ability to adopt new technologies and tools quicker due to its small size and flexible regulatory climate.
James Duchenne, a managing partner at Sutton Stone in an interview for Business Magazine, touched on the opportunity blockchain technology presents to the island nation. He says,
“I think we’re living at a time of significant technological change that presents opportunities for Mauritius and its people. Some examples of new technologies are virtual reality, 3D printing, augmented reality and chief amongst them, the blockchain, which has already started to, and will affect, virtually every industry. With the right framework and timing, Mauritius has the ability to provide the landscape for its workforce to acquire the knowledge required to boost its economy as a world-class, innovation-driven destination.”
Executing the Plan
The collaboration will see ConsenSys present and create the basis of a blockchain ecosystem with a process for digital registration and verification, and a decentralized information system. This way entrepreneurs, developers and regulators can develop new services and applications on the blockchain, ensuring its continuity. For the plan to work the company may have to develop a local talent pool for the new ecosystem. One human capital tactic they can adopt is a Mauritian ConsenSys Academy, similar to the Dubai version launched in May 2017.
The new venture will have a number of benefits for Mauritius including employment opportunities and economic prosperity. “We are working to take our economy to another level, and these kinds of technologies are very important in our strategy,” the head of technology, innovation and services at the Board of Investment Mauritius, Atma Narasiah said.
Mauritius has a well-established finance, information, and communication technology sector, together with good infrastructure and quality education, making it an excellent destination for investors and entrepreneurs in the blockchain space. Furthermore, the island nation plans to roll out free Wi-Fi and connect every residence to fibre optic connections, in a bid to woo technology investors.
The nation also issued an open invitation for innovators in 2016 to participate in its Regulatory Sandbox License. This license enables companies in the financial, medical and communication fields to operate freely despite the lack of a formal licensing or legislative framework.
Also, this month, the ConsenSys team met with the Bank of Mauritius, the Nations Board of Investment and other public and private sector officials to discuss their shared vision of making the ‘Ethereum island’ a reality.
“Blockchain is one of these technologies we want to drive. We see a window of opportunity here to be able to leapfrog others,” Narasiah added.