Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, was recently elected to the chair of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of ESCAP – the Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Speaking to Sandeshaya Weeratunga said that “during the past three years computer literacy in the country has increased from 5 per cent to over 20 per cent” He elaborated that the ‘e-Sri Lanka’ initiative has enabled people to obtain authenticated copies of Death, Marriage and Birth Certificates – essential documents within a few minutes. Responding to a question that some rural tele centers have been dysfunctional Weeratunga said there are about 600 Telecenters and it’s not unusual for a few to fall behind. “However we will relocate them if necessary”, he said. Commenting on the Sri Lankan expertise of the diasporas, Weeratunga said that there are those who want to help but in actual fact most of them are really in search of jobs. “We cant pay them the salaries they expect but if anyone wants to genuinely help they could log in to the ICTA web site (www.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist Harsha de Silva was invited to be the Consultant to a recent Expert Group Meeting on the Provision of ICT Access for Disadvantaged Communities through Public-Private Partnerships conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission fro Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP]. A number of influential policy makers and academics from the region participated at the meeting held between 12-14 December in Bangkok. Harsha set the stage for the expert group meeting by preparing a draft background paper and made a concluding presentation incorporating many of LIRNEasia research findings across the region. Harsha emphasized the need for policies to bridge the market efficiency gap in ICT access through better and conducive regulation and advocated innovative PPPs for bridging identified access gaps in rural BOP segment. Find the draft background paper here Find the presentation slides here