ICT – based developments, ranging from awareness programmes to industry support facility improvements in rural areas through various programmes of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA,) under the e-Sri Lanka initiative, have contributed to Sri Lanka reaching higher rungs in the ICT savvy ladder. This is the ICTA’s Monitoring and Evaluation analysts’ assessment of the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009, released by the World Economic Forum recently.
According to the report produced in co-operation with Harvard University, Sri Lanka’s overall rank of Networked Readiness Index (NRI) has improved dramatically from 86th position out of 122 in 2006/07 to 79th position out of 127 countries in 2007/08 to 72nd position out of 134 countries in 2008/09.
The NRI measures the propensity for countries to use the opportunities offered by ICT. The NRI is arrived at based on about 68 subcomponents which are closely related to ICT for development. The required information to compute NRI is based on structured interviews of 100 randomly selected higher level private and public sector executives and published secondary data.
ICTA said that the improvement in NRI could be directly attributed to the e-Sri Lanka initiative which had adopted an integrated six-pronged strategy. This included awareness programmes on benefits of ICT, human resource development programmes for different level government staff, ICT industry and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) sector and ICT training for citizens. In particular this improvement should also be attributed to ICT related infrastructure development, and ICT facility improvements in disadvantaged rural areas through ICTA’s Nenasalas and e-Society programmes. ICTA said further that improvements in these areas would give a positive image about the country among prospective international investors.