The government of Mauritius is negotiating with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. for the provision of low-cost personal computers.
The Mauritian government's objective is to bring the price of PCs -- including the CPU (central processing unit), keyboard, screen and mouse -- below the Rs10,000 (US$370) mark. At present, the average PC costs double that price in Mauritius.
It is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding will soon be signed by the government and AMD, the second-largest manufacturer of computer processors in the world.
AMD will also support the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications in implementing a partnership technology access project and provide processors, chipset solutions and graphic cards at a preferential price.
In order to produce these low-cost PCs, the American manufacturer is teaming up with a local market leader, Leal Communications & Informatics (LCI), though the machines will be branded as PC Tech.
"Negotiations are ongoing. The main objective is to disseminate the use of PCs everywhere," said Neemalen Gopal, managing director of LCI.
For the time being, however, no launch date has been finalized.
Like in most African countries, PC penetration is a problem in Mauritius. According to the latest figures (2006) of the Central Statistics Office, 24.2 percent of all households own a computer, while only 16.6 percent have Internet access. Almost 35 percent of households with no computer at home named the high cost as the main reason for not owning one.
Thanks to AMD's 10-month-old partnership with LCI, which consists of equipping PC Tech with its processors, AMD has been able to penetrate a market that it had neglected until recently, cornering around 15 percent of the market. Its main rival, Intel, has been present in Mauritius for several years.