A two-day hybrid Forum on ‘African AI and Blockchain Policy’, with a focus on economic development and regional connectivity, opened, today, at Le Meridien, in Pointe aux Piments, in the presence of the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (FSC), Mr Dhanesswurnath Thakoor; and other eminent personalities.
The event is organised by the Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) of the FSC, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In his address for the occasion, Minister Seeruttun underlined Mauritius’ commitment to technological advancement, and affirmed the country’s dedication to embracing cutting-edge technologies such as AI, robotics, blockchain, and IoT within the context of the fourth industrial revolution. “As Mauritius embraces the dictates of the fourth industrial revolution,” he declared, “its commitment to fostering innovation and creating robust regulatory frameworks stands as a testament to its forward-thinking approach in navigating the evolving technological landscape.”
The Minister recalled Mauritius’ pioneering steps in embracing blockchain technology, as from 2016 when authorities adopted a sandbox approach. “This proactive stance,” he stated, “positioned Mauritius as a forerunner in Africa, introducing a regulatory sandbox regime to foster responsible innovation in AI and Blockchain.”
Stressing the transformative impact of rapid technological convergence on the ICT landscape, Mr Seeruttun emphasised the nation’s continuous efforts since 2018 in crafting robust regulatory frameworks for blockchain and AI, culminating in the enactment of the Virtual Asset and Initial Token Offering Services (VAITOS) Act 2021.
Moreover, Minister Seeruttun evoked the establishment of the Observatory of Virtual Assets Activities, with a view to bolstering the country’s virtual assets ecosystem. He highlighted the aims of this initiative in monitoring transaction trends, detecting anomalies, and preventing illicit activities within the virtual asset space.
The Minister talked as well of the FSC’s recent initiatives, including the launch of an AI-powered due diligence platform in collaboration with the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council. “This platform,” he noted, “aims at streamlining licensing procedures, and enhancing efficiency while upholding stringent regulatory standards.” He was of the view that the FSC’s forward-looking approach, not only emphasised regulatory diligence, but also actively encouraged innovation by facilitating the integration of emerging technologies in the financial sector.
The Chief Executive of the FSC, for his part, deemed the Forum a testament to the strong collaboration between the RCE and the OECD, nurtured since the RCE’s establishment in 2019.
Addressing the complex interplay of the digital revolution across regulatory domains such as banking, finance, telecommunications, and data protection, Mr Thakoor stressed the need for comprehensive coordination and monitoring at a national level to ensure safety measures encompass all relevant activities.
Furthermore, he spoke of the crucial regulatory advancements introduced by the FSC, putting forward their significance in adapting to the evolving technological landscape.