Nandcoomar BODHA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and
International Trade, participated in a live video-conference on 1st July
2020 on the theme of “Close the Digital
Divides: the Digital Response to Covid-19”, jointly organized by the
Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Singapore. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and High
Officials of over 60 countries worldwide, including the Hon. Ministers of
Poland, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Belgium, Guyana, Morocco, Romania, Cyprus, among
others, participated in the video conference.
Hon. Bodha informed
the Conference of the emphasis laid on the issue of digital transformation of
the services of Government in Budget 2020-21.
He mentioned the cooperation with the Government of Estonia on a GtoG
basis for the setting up of an Electronic Document Management System at the
Ministry that would later be replicated to other Ministries.
Hon. Bodha informed
that Mauritius had tackled Covid-19 quite well and that the country had not
witnessed local cases for the last two months.
mentioned the areas and issues that should be addressed to better deal with
pandemics on the scale of Covid-19. He
spoke on the issue of Connectivity, essential to allow Governments,
Organisations and Business entities to continue functioning remotely. He then spoke on the issue of Cyber Security,
data protection and Fake News. Fake news
and Cyber insecurity tended to instill a climate a fear and distrust among
users. More robust regulatory frameworks
needed to be put in place through international cooperation efforts.
Speaking on the
healthcare system in relation to Covid-19, Hon. Bodha stated that efforts must
now be geared towards a stronger digitalized healthcare system to capture
information on high-risk passengers entering countries and on contact tracing.
He also mentioned using digital applications where needed and new technologies
for telemedicine and Covid-19 screening and managing non-Covid-19 cases.
On the issue of
e-education and distance learning, Hon. Bodha informed the Conference that
Covid-19 had shown us that lack of training and preparation could seriously
inhibit education effectiveness in the long term. With the Covid-19 experience, a hybrid model
of education could emerge eventually with e-education support teachers reaching
out to students more efficiently.
concluded his statement by calling for the setting up of a Permanent
International Digital Platform to share best practices and new technological
tools to ensure continuity.