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Investment in ICT is now considered by many as an effective strategy for economic development. Theoretically, argument follows ICT enhances growth through its impact on efficiency and it (ICT) also enhances other dimensions of development through empowering the marginalized groups through expansion of mass communication facilities and thereby strengthening democratic rights of the society.
 
However, empirical validity of the theoretical links depends on satisfaction of number of empirical conditions.

  • What is the experience of Sri Lanka on ICT-development nexus? Based on the few empirical studies, following findings are available.
  • ICT-growth nexus is positive and statistically significant. However, the size of the ICT effect on efficiency is very low and it takes very long years to complete the effect of ICT investment on efficiency and hence economic growth.
  • Most of the ICT developments taking place in Sri Lanka are highly utility targeted, not efficiency targeted.
  • ICT may increase the efficiency and growth. But, rapid rate of obsolescent of the technology increases the business running cost. This will definitely increase the dependency of business and even the lifestyle of people on international forces.
  • Computer literacy and access to internet and other ICT facilities in Sri Lanka is in an upward move. However, disparity of ICT access and computer literacy is still high. Between urban vs. rural and estate sectors, between male and female and between youth and middle aged population, disparity of ICT penetration is high.
  • Jobs creation and jobs destruction due to ICT is also biased.

 
Therefore, ICT can increase the efficiency and thereby the growth can be affected by ICT investment. However, whether it empowers the marginalized communities is questionable. It may strengthen the network of affluent community and thereby increase the power of them and other may “fall through the net” making stronger and permanent division in the society.
 
Therefore, time has reached to explore the strategies to minimize harmful effects of ICT proliferation and maximize its benefits to Sri Lankan community.

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