“Building Sri Lanka’s Knowledge Economy”

Posted on March 21, 2008  /  4 Comments


Starting a business in Sri Lanka is not the easiest task in the world but how far that impedes Sri Lanka’s entry to global knowledge economy? This is one of the key questions posed by the World Bank publication
The report identifies the business environment; information infrastructure; an innovation system; and human resources as four pillars of the knowledge economy. Challenges faced by Sri Lanka in becoming a knowledge economy are examined and the report proposes possible ways that Sri Lanka could move forward to build its knowledge economy under the country’s development strategy as outlined in the Mahinda Chinthana.

‘Building Sri Lanka’s Knowledge Economy’ to be launched Tuesday March 25, 2008 at 4th Floor, DFCC Bank Auditorium 73/5, Galle Road Colombo 3. LIRNEasia is happy to be a partner in publicizing this report perhaps for the first time seriously SWOTs Sri Lanka against similar countries and points out what it can learn from others. Both Proffessor Rohan Samarajiva (ke-ver-12) a and Dr. Sujtha Gamage ppt_innovation_mar2008_v21.ppt will make presentations at this event. Pls find these presentations attached.

Interested in participating? Please confirm your attendance by email or fax to Madonna James pmjameswb@gmail.com, fax No: 2440357 or 5561325

More information available here.


  1. I am surprised to see this report make references only to a handful of research by local experts and completely depend on the inferior work done by foreigners, who have no in-depth knowledge about Sri Lanka, its society and its culture.

    For example, the report does not even mention the name of Prof. V. K. Samaranayake, whose contribution is immense in the ICT developments in Sri Lanka. Does this say a single word about Prof. Samaranayake’s capacity building exercises, or even about the introduction of the BIT degree program the first and perhaps only attempt to standardize the IT education in Sri Lanka? The authors seem to be unaware of the contribution of UCSC at University of Colombo or for that matter any Sri Lankan university, including Kelaniya, Motaruwa and Peradeniya. Can they be this blind?

    Have they done a simple web search the authors could have found enough research material on the web. Prof. Samaranayake has done an excellent paper on the human resource development opportunities and achievements in Sri Lanka for a CSSL annual sessions and till recently it was available on the web. In addition, CSSL had conducted two surveys on IT human resources and the reports could have been purchased from the CSSL office. These are in addition to volumes of material available at CSSL, the only professional organization for ICTs in Sri Lanka. I cannot understand why the authors never referred to this vast amount of literature. Also I find no CSSL officer had ever consulted in this exercise.

    This is another pathetic example of the World Bank work that completely ignores the local expertise probably because of the ‘black skin’.

  2. I would like to kindly clarify a few points made in the comment by ‘Black skinner’. I was involved in the preparation of this publication, and incidently, a Sri Lankan. Firstly, I would suggest that you visit the Public Information Center at the WB office (DFCC building) and pick up a copy of this report. You will see a broad range of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, that has been used in support of the arguments and suggestions made in this publication. Contrary to your claim that it relies on ‘a handful of research by local experts and completely depend on the inferior work done by foreigners, who have no in-depth knowledge about Sri Lanka, its society and its culture’, but to an extensive body of literature plus the latest data, using a comprehensive assessment methodology. Again, please read the report first.
    Although specific persons involved in revolutionary ICT and ICT education projects in Sri Lanka have not been mentioned, any programs which were relevant to the issues highlighted in the report have been cited.
    Should you have any suggestions, for example on the issue of consulting ‘CSSL officers’ in the preparation of this report, you should not hesitate to contact the relevant individuals at the WB and let your concerns be known. Again, contrary to your claims, they are very responsive to hearing from local experts and practitioners and they value diverse local input when preparing studies such as this.

  3. Thanx 4 info

  4. @ Black skinner. As the major author of the report I just wanted to add that I worked to support Sri Lanka’s development objectives since 2000 and I lived in Colombo between 2005-2008. So I would hope to have some knowledge of the country, its society and customs. During that time I also worked closely with Prof. Samaranayake on the e-Sri Lanka project. So I am certainly aware of the tremendous contributions that he and others have made to this area for Sri Lanka. The report is not intended to give credit or take it away from those that have been active in the sector. The report was simply intended to provide some ideas of what Sri Lankan policy-makers and the private sector could do to propell the country forward. I am glad to see that Sri Lanka has since moved forward very well and is now ranked no 24 in the AT Kearney ranking of outsourcing destinations in the world. At the end of the report we also held a competition with several universities taking part including all those that mention to choose the best essay on the topic. I went around to all these universities making presentations meeting students etc. This was a very rewarding time. Finally I am originally from Egypt and a “black skinner” like you!