World Bank representatives commended Sri Lanka’s new digital transformation strategy which aimed at creating a technology-based knowledge economy. Ms Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, said that the Bank will provide the necessary support as a development partner to successfully achieve the desired results of the digital strategy of Sri Lanka .
A meeting was held at ICTA to discuss and clarify the role, priorities and challenges of the country in the digital agenda and to explore the possibilities of how the World Bank can collaborate with MoT and ICTA to effectively support the ongoing digital development process.
Mr. Jayantha de Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Technology pointed out that the allocation of human resources and institutional infrastructure required for implementing digital transformation plans have already been completed. Secretary further elaborated, that the main objective of the government is to improve inclusiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of all the sectors of the economy by implementing the digital agenda. According to the Secretary the most prioritized projects are the computerization of 14000 Grama Niladhari Divisions, establishing a court management system and development of the national digital ID.
Prof. Lilith Gamage, Chairman, Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) explained the vision and expected outcomes of the digital transformation strategy and according to him the key pillars are the Digital Government, Digital economy and Digital laws and policies. Technology and Monitoring and evaluation will be cross cutting areas and ICTA will also focus on supporting other government organizations in their internal digitalization processes. ICTA will function as a self-sustained organization in the future. ICTA Chairman further stated that the primary focus of ICTA is the digital government, to deliver citizen centric and business friendly services and to ensure technology adoption across the society. Digital economy pillar will support the creation of IT related startups which will contribute to generate USD 3 bn by 2024.
ICTA CEO mentioned that the potential collaboration with the World Bank will be highly useful to successfully implement the planned digital strategy in the country. The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of the Information and Communication Technology Agency, Mr. Jagath Seneviratne participating in the discussion stated that a result based management principles will be used in designing projects and ensure accountability for results and independent evaluations will be carried out as part of the initiatives.
Representatives of Sri Lanka Nepal / Maldives Director, Faris Haddad, and Junko Harimansu, Siddhartha Raja , Suparna Roy participated in the discussion via video conferencing technology. Engineer, Mahinda B. Herath, (CEO- ICTA ), and Hiranya Samarasekara (CTO) , Anura D. Alwis, (Chief Digital Economy Officer ) Jayantha Fernando,( General Counsel / Chief Legal Officer), Kanchana Tudugala (Chief Digital Government Officer) also participated in the discussion.