Feb 01, Colombo: The World Bank Tuesday approved a US$11 million concessional credit to Sri Lanka in the form of additional financing to assist the country to enhance its ICT services, a press release form the World Bank said.
The grant would help Sri Lanka to gain a considerable competitive advantage in the region post becoming a Middle Income Country.
With the additional funding for the E-Sri Lanka Development Project, the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka will further improve the efficiency, capacity and expansion of information and technology services needed for both in the private sector and government, the World Bank said.
Under the first E-Lanka project funded by the World Bank’s lending arm, International Development Association (IDA) several key laws were adopted over a 5 year period and ICT literacy was improved significantly in the rural areas through the telecenter program. The government also automated several government services to citizens.
“The project is well-rooted in the middle-income agenda of Sri Lanka, has won many international awards and accreditations, and has achieved true change in the country’s global branding as an ICT destination and its competitiveness as assessed by international rating agencies,” Country Director of World Bank in Sri Lanka Diarietou Gaye has said.
Ms. Gaye has added that the World Bank is committed to the project as a funding partner and intends to continue with the “current momentum and address the unfinished business of this very ambitious project.”
“Additional financing is intended to maintain the current project implementation momentum, but also to evaluate the progress made so far in ICT development in the country and to utilize the experience and skills gained during the last 8 years to develop ICT interventions that will enable the country to be more competitive in the region and the world wide,” said Henry Bagazonzya, Country Sector Co-coordinator, Finance and Private Sector and Task Team Leader for E-Sri Lanka Development Project.
The diverse project aims to enhance growth and equity for the country through improved access and use of information and communication; access to and use of public services on-line by businesses and citizens and enhanced competitiveness of the private sector and in particular of knowledge industry and SMEs.
The World Bank says these objectives would be achieved by establishing an effective, citizen-centered and business-friendly government; empowering the rural poor, disadvantaged groups, women, and youth through increased and affordable access to information and communication tools; developing leadership and skills in ICT; and creating employment in the ICT industry and ICT-enabled services, as well as enhancing the competitiveness of user industries and services.