Harsha de Silva is a development economist with a PhD from the University of Missouri. He focuses on economics of information and communication technology in emerging Asia, particularly in rural agricultural and financial markets, and on the political economy of Sri Lanka. Since April 2010, Harsha is also a Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka representing the United National Party. In the mid-nineties Harsha co-founded and later sold his stake in Survey and Market Research Team, now Sri Lanka’s largest market research firm, The Nielsen Company. Harsha is currently a Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Harsha de Silva is currently the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Sri Lanka. Prior to this Mr. De Silva was the Deputy Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs. As the Deputy Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs, he was responsible for development of policies to introduce a social market economy to Sri Lanka. He was elected to the parliament as a member of the United National Party (UNP). Prior to joining politics, his career ranged from development banker, international consultant economist and successful entrepreneur. He is also a media personality in Sri Lanka.
In 1994, Dr. de Silva co-founded Survey and Market Research Team (SMART), and sold his stake to Nielsenin mid-2000 as Sri Lankas’ largest marketing research team with 140 employees.
At LIRNEasia, Dr. de Silva was involved in Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid (T@BOP) 1, 2 and 3 studies. This research was a unique series of cutting edge demand-side studies on ICT use among the BOP. Dr. de Silva was also instrumental in developing the research on the nexus of agriculture and ICTs at LIRNEasia. He founded a not-for-profit called Govi Gnana Seva (GGS) or Farmer Knowledge Service, which is currently the main source of wholesale agricultural market prices in Sri Lanka.