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Govt. to convert SL into technology hub: Harin

Govt. to convert SL into technology hub: Harin

The Government yesterday said that it would soon roll out a series of measures to convert Sri Lanka into a technology hub to foster entrepreneurship and improve ecosystems for startups and tech enterprises, while calling on the corporate sector to use Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), drone technology and analytics to move the country’s economy up the value chain.

Addressing the inauguration of Blockchain Sri Lanka 2018, organised by Business Process Outsourcing Services (BPOS) Sri Lanka; Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando urged industry stakeholders to exploit this opportunity to help transform the country through information technology and digital innovation.

“Our President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister and my ministry are undertaking a series of measures to move our economy up the value chain, enable industries to diversify and make Sri Lanka a technology hub,” he said.

Pointing out that the Government had laid the foundation to encourage the economy, Fernando called on all companies to explore providing high-end IT solutions across multiple industries and verticals such as banking, finance, telecommunication, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, trade and commerce, shipping and logistics, ports and airports, transport and hospitality in Sri Lanka.

The Minister was confident that the corporate sector would continue to grow its footprint in Sri Lanka and would create attractive job opportunities while inspiring and engaging young Sri Lankans with a passion to innovate and develop new technologies, particularly Blockchain.

Fernando also urged the banking and finance sector to adopt new and disruptive digital banking solutions to take Sri Lanka towards a cashless economy.

“Banks and finance companies must give a very high priority to take Sri Lanka up to speed with robust Blockchain development. Many of the bankers here benefit from creative computer systems at multiple locations, but this time around it’s different. It’s not about corporates and governments but about communities and societies. It is about peer to peer, the ability to be omnipresent and not decentralised. This I believe is the birth of Blockchain,” he emphasised.

He said moving up the value chain and embracing technology and innovation was an absolute necessity even for traditional exports like garments, tea, coconut and rubber, if Sri Lanka’s GDP was to grow at 8%-10%.

Fernando noted that he aspired to see Sri Lankan IT and tech companies entering into cross border partnerships which would not only help businesses to expand within the country and the rest of the world, but create space and openings to attract talented individuals.

Acknowledging that creating attractive employment opportunities remained a key priority of the Government, he said they needed private sector assistance to achieve their goals.

The Minister assured that the Government had recognised that these disruptive technologies would eventually boost people’s quality of life through simpler and more efficient banking and payment services, healthcare, government services and much more.

He outlined the connection of 860 Government organisations via LGN - including government schools, hospitals, key ministries and divisional secretariats - e-governance services and the provision of construction permits online for the Colombo Municipal Council as major initiatives that the Government had so far taken.

For the forum, Business Process Outsourcing Services Sri Lanka invited an array of international speakers from New York, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Australia, India, Malaysia and Singapore along with five Sri Lankan speakers.

The forum will have four plenary sessions today including ‘Blockchain strategies and business cases’, ‘Forecasting the future for Blockchain in Financial Services’, ‘Virtual currencies: new assets in the digital age’ and ‘Blockchain – the right solution’.

There will be B2B meetings arranged on request and BPOS Global is committed to form partnerships with service providers to take Blockchain to every part of Sri Lanka.

(FT)

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