Sri Lanka is now gaining global recognition as a centre for delivering IT as well as an emerging knowledge services industry, said Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga.
He made these observations speaking at the "FutureGov SAARC Summit 2012" organized by FutureGov Asia Pacific magazine and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka, yesterday (18).
“This is the first occasion that Sri Lanka is holding a "FutureGov SAARC Summit and the third in a series of FutureGov conferences. I was present on the two previous occasions of FutureGov conferences in 2008 and 2010 as well and I have seen the events remarkable ability to create an effective forum for Governors, experts, practitioners and private sector service providers to exchange views on new developments in the public sectors in Sri Lanka and Indonesia ,” he said.
Sri Lanka had to struggle to achieve its true potential in the world stage in many sectors due to the conflict situation in the country, he added.
The 250 acre IT Park in Sooriyawewa will be constructed shortly boosting the ICT industry capacity in the country, the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. This facility is expected to generate 100,000 job opportunities and enhance facilities of next generation infrastructure, he further said.
“Hambantota already has an international port and early next year it will also be the home for Sri Lanka ’s second International Airport thus providing vital physical connectivity to the world. Sri Lanka ’s current E-government policy has enable citizens to gain access to a wide range of services,” he said.
Today more than 300 IT and BPO companies operating and the industry generating US $ 450 million export revenue.
For a small country reviving after a recently concluded war Sri Lanka presents a wealth of opportunity for ICT investment which makes more realistic to attain the goal of over $ 1 billion in revenue by 2016, he said.
An example of this potential is highlighted in the Global Services Location Index published by A.T. Kearney and reputed as the one of world’s leading barometers on the relative attractiveness of countries as service locations. The index is based on the fundamentals of three categories financial attractiveness, people’s skills and availability and business environment. Sri Lanka is positioned at 21 out of 50 countries which is considered a remarkable feet for a small country in the midst of giants such as India, Egypt, China and Mexico.
Sri Lanka is positioned at 21 out of 50 countries which is considered a remarkable feet for a small country in the midst of giants such as India, Egypt, China and Mexico. Sri Lanka’s Network Readiness Index the NRI ranking published by the World Economic forum has also improved from the 86th position out of 122 in 2006, 2007 to 66th out of 138 in 2010,2011, the Secretary further said.
Several Government initiatives have resulted in enhanced delivery of public services online with overall 50,000 government officials having being trained and skilled in ICT also 10,000 citizens have been trained under ICT e-Literacy Project. I may also comment that in 2005 Sri Lanka had a ICT literacy rate of just under 5% and today we are certainly close to about 40%.
The Secretary said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen to see that the entire public service is equipped with IT skills.
Sri Lankans formed the second highest number of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants CIMA Accounts in the world with a considerable number of graduates and undergraduates with US qualifications as certified Public Accountants, he said.
Post war Sri Lanka is now regarded as one of the safest lowest risks emerging markets. This is amply evidence by the increasing number of international visitors to Sri Lanka and the booming tourism industry since end of the terrorist conflict.
A few months ago ICT collaborated with an NGO a foundation for advancing rural opportunities to establish the first women's rural BPO in the country in the Jaffna district.