ICT4D: Effective Strategy for Sri Lanka?

  • Prof. Athula Ranasinghe
Posted: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 10:16

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.


  • Anonymous
  • Wed, 12/28/2011 - 21:37

ICT4D is actually a good stretegy for development in technological view point. In Sri Lanka huge investment can be seen and the wastage is also very high. often, IT companies sell e-givernement to politicians and politicians sell e-government to citizens on the promise that it will save money and create effective and efficient development proceses. this has in part encouraged a huge government expenditure and it creates unnecessary burden on public budget.
prioreties are given on purchasing related items and not much concern on training personnel who transfer knowledge and skills to benificiary groupsthrough ICT4D projects. Therefore, benificiary groups are unable to maximize their benifit. In most of the cases instruments are kept idle for few months and those will be out of order withing idle period.
There should be a widely accepted and reliable ICT policy for the country. Some may object that a policy of ICT is already available. my question is that is it the most optimal one?
On the other end real implementation of ICT4D projects are failed in their objectives. I suppos that ICT curricular should developmed and introduced for each level of  Sri Lankan education system and ICT development stretegies should completely free of political influences as well as involvement.
Nisantha Kurukulasooriya
Dept. of Economics
University of Ruhuna

ICT4D in Sri Lanka

  • Anonymous
  • Fri, 12/23/2011 - 14:31

My MEcon research is also based on this area. The finding of my study is empazied on the same but methodologically different approach. This is really interesting how ICT has been contributed to the economy of Sri Lanka in dirrerent senarios. 
I hope to put more comments on this blog in future.