‘Harness potential of emerging technologies’ | Sunday Observer

‘Harness potential of emerging technologies’

2 February, 2020
 Lakmini Wijesundera
Lakmini Wijesundera

Sri Lanka needs to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the fourth industrial revolution and make it a stepping stone to leap frog to the top in the commercial world. We should not miss this opportunity that will raise the bar for the country by harnessing the potential offered by emerging technologies, Chief Executive Officer, BoardPAC, Lakmini Wijesundera said.

“ICT is a profession where more females can benefit. Therefore, it is necessary for them to engage in the ICT sector in a big way for the country to progress rapidly. As there is a dearth in ICT workforce, females can play a significant role in bridging the gap and contributing towards increased foreign exchange generation,” she said.

In Sri Lanka, there are a reasonable number of women who enter the commercial world to grow their organisations to SME category companies and the sectors are mostly in handicraft and food. Only a few venture further to grow the companies to a big scale. The number of startups we see in ICT is not high yet. Therefore, we are keen to encourage more young females to consider ICT startups. The environment is conducive. The access to global commercial success is a reality in the ICT startup sector, she said.

Present statistics show the ICT workforce of Sri Lanka standing at 80,000. It also shows the female percentage standing at approximately 20 – 30%. ICT has become a key foreign investment generating sector which stands at just above US$ 1 billion revenue to the country at present and having a target of achieving US$ 5billion by 2022.

As ICT revenue has a dependency on the number of staff involved in such services, in order to achieve such target, the ICT workforce requires to grow five times and be in the range of 400,000 by 2020. This accelerated growth of workforce in the industry will require special measures and an organic growth will not suffice, Wijesundera said.

“The female employable population of the country needs to be made aware and encouraged to join the ICT workforce. This also requires ICT to be adopted by those who have graduated in non – ICT streams.

“Such migration and bridge programs are made available through initiatives by SLAASCOM, ICTA and other organisations in the ICT industry. For long term sustainability of a growth in workforce for ICT, such STEAM ( Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Maths) programs are being introduced to create more awareness and skills at school level. If such measures for non ICT people’s skill migration to ICT, as well as female ICT workforce building are not carried out, the required 400,000 workforce will not be a possibility,” she said.