"LE BUDGET, UNE 1RE ÉTAPE, LE GOUVERNEMENT DOIT ALLER BEAUCOUP PLUS LOIN…" : Vision 2030 and beyond

It is with immense pleasure that I read your article in the Forum Page of Le Mauricien of 8th April titled " LE BUDGET, UNE 1RE ÉTAPE : Le gouvernement doit aller beaucoup plus loin…", especially the views on Smart Cities and on the Marshall Plan against poverty through parrainage which I do share as expressed in my article on the Budget (A budget of sound bites..in Le Mauricien of 30th March)  and in a reply to an article (Smart Nation rather than Smart city ...see below). I believe that the idea of  "une nouvelle impulsion au développement durable et permettrait un dialogue politique permanent au niveau national " could be carried out with the Vision 2030 team that is being setup at the PMO. CEDREFI should be joining one of the sector working groups that will be constituted for charting out Vision 2030 and beyond.

SMART NATION rather than SMART CITIES

The whole concept of Smart City has been recycled  from the electoral manifesto of one of the marginal parties that contested the recent general elections. It is the vision of the future development of Mauritius by some few people,including a prominent architect. It is not  the vision of Mauritius by a majority of Mauritians.  
Many countries which have joined the Smart Cities bandwagon are actually countries which are experiencing rapid urbanization. There is a demand for such cities. This is not the case in Mauritius. We are already facing a glut in the real estate market with many offices vacant in prime locations including in our Cyber City. Supply does not necessarily create its own demand.
Mauritius has its own specificity. It needs a model of development all its own to preserve its unique characteristics. One Singaporean once advised us  not to copy the Singaporean model in turning Mauritius into another soulless city-state –, que du bétonnage  everywhere, but he did add that we nee not throw away  the baby together with the bathtub. We can still keep up the idea of a Smart Nation. Please, let us preserve that unique beauty of our island, we need not copy what others are doing . Let us try something more suited to our own little Mauritius.
We all know that the country is not presently in a position to meet the preconditions and  needs of a Smart City, whether in terms of building materials, construction workers, technology,IT personnel, broadband networks, web-based applications, and so on. The output from these Smart Cities are expected in the medium term and in the short term it means that we will have to rely increasingly on increasing amounts of FDI to match the bulging current account deficits. That 's a bit risky. What if the Smart City takes its own time to take off. !!! Can we afford that ?
Last , but not least , don't you think that we have other priorities at present. In due time when Mauritius has generated enough of growth and specialized skills, together we will be in a better position to think and take advantage of the opportunities of the city-state. Now , when our own people are not ready for it, such development will pass them by and like in India, they will end up as bystanders. We will only succeed in adding another enclave in the already divided nation ; this time it will be exclusively that of expatriates, talented professionals and the propertied class.
No ...let us invest in our people first – revolutionize our education system to meet the future needs of our Smart Nation.


Commentaires

"What if the Smart City takes its own time to take off. !!! Can we afford that ?"

And what if it does take off?

Smart city does not exclude smart nation!

The current government's discours-programme does provide for the creation of a smart nation... preferably on the South Korean model.

One must also take into account that the Republic has barely come out of nearly tem years of economic/development stagnation!

Just think of the biilions lost through the several hedging scandals!

One cannot even think of the ring-road,terre-rouge Verdun highways!