Dooshweena Awatar

Dooshweena Awatar

Communication and Digital Executive at Analysis - Kantar (Indian Ocean)

Budget 2020-21: What’s in there for Marketers?

A post co-written with Dooshweena Awatar

Budget 2020-21 came at a point where the global economy is at a stall due to COVID-19. 

A lot of measures were announced, and in this post, we are going to share how we foresee the future for the marketing function in Mauritius. Are we heading to a gloomy future or steadfast new opportunities? 

Mauritius Tourism Sector

  • Rebranding of the tourism sector by the MTPA and EDB will push marketers working in hospitality to review their overall strategy. This will include both the positioning of their brand and advertising costs. 
  • While the hospitality industry calls for a review, we can expect a leveled and shared expenses in digital campaigns budgets to attract tourists from new targeted countries. The aim will be to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to our economy while helping our national carrier be profitable.
  • The Aparthotels Scheme will give a boost to the tourism sector by supporting hotels in the diversification of their activities through the setting up of serviced apartments. This will mean creating tailored marketing campaigns to attract the right local and international buyers.
  • The marketing messaging will be greatly influenced by a collective movement to transform our tourism approach. Besides the “sun-sea-beach” formula, we will start seeing an increase in marketing messages related to adventure, eco-friendliness, health, and more. 
  • In this particular context, we predict an increase in channels supporting personalisation through data. Brands will also invest in both retention strategies and innovation.

SMEs & MMEs in Mauritius

  • With the Government providing more support to SMEs and MMEs through Credits Checks and investments through the SME Equity Fund Ltd (up to Rs 200, 000 per project), we can expect an increase in the number of start-ups.
  • The one-off grant towards achieving certifications under the “Made in Moris” label will push more entrepreneurs to have a level playing field. The brand will also help in increasing the market value of Mauritian products. We would encourage proper branding alignment. 
  • Measures announced to increase the ease of doing business will fast-track the launch of start-ups in various fields. 
  • We can expect more foreign investors coming to Mauritius with the minimum investment to obtain the status of Permanent Resident or hold an immovable property reduced to USD 375,000. Currently, we have a big community of French Tech agencies in Mauritius in the Digital field. 
  • With the Technology and Innovation Fund, the Government is also supporting local SMEs with investment of up to Rs 2 million as equity in projects which are recommended by the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC).
  • The measures taken to encourage consumption of local products (e.g supermarkets dedicating 10% of their shelf space to local products) will see robust marketing tactics at the local level.

Diversification of activities

  • Digital investment from FMCGs will most likely be on the rise with the need to market local products.
  • The Buy Mauritian program will encourage and stimulate entrepreneurship across several industries.
  • The financial support being given to the production of hygienic goods could lead to a sudden explosion of startups in this field. We would recommend proper scouting of similar and existing players to prevent sustainability issues. 
  • With heavy investments being made in the construction sector and measures taken to promote local expertise, it is expected that construction firms will invest in their marketing activities. This will also be the ideal moment to attract construction experts from the Mauritian diaspora. 
  • Following the extension of the Freight Rebate Scheme to encourage exports, the announcement of a transformation in the textile industry and in light of several textile companies shutting down recently, there will be room for new players. It would be the ideal moment to come forward with new product categories or innovative textile solutions.

Events

  • Rs 19 Million have been earmarked by the Government to support the production of virtual concerts as part of the COVID-19 Action Plan 2020. This comes at a time where almost all industries, including events, used digital channels to connect with their respective audiences. 
  • During the lockdown, we’ve noticed countless events happening online. Support from the Government will also help adjacent industries survive. These include ticketing, logistics, and events’ collaterals. 
  • This will also lead to more opportunities for digital marketers in the events industry. 

Digital Transformation

In this section, we will cover the measures announced to enable digital transformation and a data-driven economy. 

We foresee an increase in data intelligence to help organisations improve their decision making processes while enabling efficiency. This shift will also lead to Mauritius enforcing data protection and we can expect some tightening in GDPR and our local Data Protection Act 2017. 

  • Côte D’Or Data Technology Park will be the centerpoint to gear Mauritius’ economy towards a data-driven and innovative one. 
  • The Deep Artificial Intelligence Centre will be a real support for local start-ups to achieve full digital transformation. In fact, in the State of Digital Marketing 2020 Report, 57% of local digital marketing professionals mentioned that Artificial Intelligence will be key in 2020.
  • We acknowledge that the Government will actively work on the digital transformation of the public sector. The Mauritius Digital Transformation Agency (MDTA) will have a fundamental role to play in this context. 
  • Local startups and digital agencies will be encouraged by the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) to create innovative applications for the public sector.This comes as a time where the Government is working towards decreasing public expenditure.
  • When it comes to the digital transformation of the Financial sector, we welcome the measure announcing that the Bank of Mauritius will come up with new frameworks for digital banking. Hence, this will add to the rise of local e-commerce. 
  • More opportunities will thus be created for digital marketers and UX/UI specialists. User experience will be one of the elements that will help businesses demarcate themselves, especially with Google’s May 2020 core update rolling and their constant emphasis on the user experience.
  • With incentives being given to foreigners, government to government partnerships at a regional level, and measures to turn Mauritius into a data-driven economy, competition will become fierce in the digital sector as international and regional players will seek to set up on the island.
  • Foreign ICT professionals are eligible for an occupation permit for a minimum monthly salary of Rs 30,000. This measure will be extended to other sectors. By providing more openness to our economy, we will be having more professionals in senior positions.
  • With an increase in digitisation projects by the Government, we can expect a bigger intake for ICT and digital marketing courses.

The cybersecurity aspects

Along with the digital transformation journey of the country, there will be a need to align our jurisdiction to international data privacy and cybersecurity regulations as well as best practices. 

The Data Protection Act 2017 and GDPR should be used as guardians of data privacy and accountability. 

Education as a driver of Digital Transformation

Sustaining the country’s digital transformation journey will require a workforce which is knowledgeable on various aspects of technology, people, and business concepts. From Budget 2020-21, we can see that the Government is laying the foundation for a new breed of human resource. 

Indeed, COVID-19 showed that for us to survive, we would need a tech savvy workforce which is efficient and can ensure business continuity. This new generation of manpower will also be up to date with the latest technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and more. 

  • To kickstart this, Rs 100 M will be invested in Mauritius and Rodrigues for the setting up of wireless local area networks in secondary schools, and a national e-learning platform will be developed. This will forge an interest in digital and IT right from a young age. We can expect to see a rise in the number of students being hired over the next five years. 
  • We welcome the measure announced by the Government to provide financing facilities of up to Rs 50, 000 to households from the DBM Ltd for acquisition of IT equipment for educational purposes. This will allow access to the internet at an early stage. 
  • Budget 2020-21 also mentioned that there will be a diversification course with a focus on new technologies and innovation. For us, this is the right move towards providing STEM skills to the next generation of marketers and digital professionals. 
  • Mauritius is soon going to lobby to attract the top 500 institutions worldwide to set up branch campuses in Mauritius. The Government announced two main supportive measures which are:
    • Tax holidays for the eight years of operation; and
    • Exemption of tax on IT and IT related materials and equipment for online education purposes.

While the educational measures announced by the Government will surely add to our digital transformation journey in the long term, the following immediate actions can be triggered by organisations to re-activate their engines at a faster pace: 

  • Increase in internship and freelancing;
  • Focus on retention of existing clients through marketing benefits;
  • Increase in personalisation; and
  • Increase in one-to-one marketing channels.

Our views

Amidst tough times, Budget 2020-21 was a crucial exercise to relaunch our economy. With several measures announced to increase productivity and drive innovation, we can expect a boost to the digital marketing field in Mauritius. It will be an opportunity for local organisations to start a new journey of data, customer experience, and innovative solutions to help the economy. 

At a time where the economy, at a local and global scale, has been severely impacted, and marketers are devising ways to remain sustainable, Budget 2020-21 sets the tone for new opportunities and a transformation within our industry.

As marketers, we need to be resilient and find opportunities to reinvent our functional roles while keeping our customers happy. 

 

More to explore

How Mauritians moved during lockdown 2021

How were Mauritians moving during the lockdown 2021? Using a combination of datasets, the following charts were created to picture the relation between Mauritians’ mobility and COVID-19 cases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *