(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The launch of the Cluster Readiness Index (CRI) developed by the Regional Cluster Development unit of ICTA was held on the 20th of December 2021.
Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka as the designated agency of the government mandated to drive the digital transformation of the country. ICTA has taken the initiative to formulate and drive the National Digital Policy through strategic action plans. The digital transformation roadmap oversees strategies to thrive the digital economy, with higher operational efficiency, lower costs and better services as well as outcomes for the government and the citizens.
The development of Regional Clusters is a key initiative to achieve the objectives of the Digital Economy Strategy. The Regional Cluster Development Programme of ICTA has segmented Sri Lanka into five regional clusters to assess the readiness for digital adoption and analyse the requirements at regional levels, Western, Central, Southern, Northern, Eastern regions.
ICTA believes that a blanket rule cannot be applied across the country for digital strategies, especially due to the significant digital divide within regions, uneven resource distribution, disparities in the socio-economic conditions. Therefore, ICTA has developed a model, the Cluster Readiness Index (CRI) to evaluate the readiness of the regional ecosystem for establishing technology clusters, with the consultation of all stakeholders in the technology industry and guidance from the Department of Census and Statistics. CRI provides an image of the status of readiness of each region for establishing Technology Clusters and the intervention required for regional technology industry development.
In his welcome remarks, CEO of ICTA, Eng. Mahinda B. Herath said “The Cluster Readiness Index is an integral part of the Digital Transformation Strategy we have developed for the country. CRI helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each region in order to optimise efforts, energy and resources in driving the Digital Transformation targeted in that region.”
Chairman of ICTA and the Director General of TRC Mr. Oshada Senanayake, said “The CRI is a key imperative. Technology enablement is going to be critical and it will be the inflexion point for Sri Lanka. If we get Technology diffusion, digital enablement and the digital inclusivity right, Sri Lanka will be set well poised to compete with other destinations coming out as a technology services and innovations.” He further added “The importance of CRI is to ensure that we understand the digital maturity, the readiness for doing business, ensuring that we can encourage budding next generation technologies, start-ups, teach companies to come out of these regions.”
Chief Digital Economy Officer, Mr. Anura De Alwis, who is the co-author and the primary researcher of the project presented an overview and said “The Digital Economy is a holistic environment and each region in the country has different aspects to be looked at individually and it has its own areas of improvement. Therefore, we realized that we cannot apply blanket rules, policies or procedures to the entire country and we that we need to have certain indicators and indexes to expedite the development of digital economy of Sri Lanka. This is the birth of the Cluster Readiness Index.”
Board Director – Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka, Mr Abbas Kamrudeen stated “Cluster Readiness Index is going to be very critical for developing the Digital Economy of Sri Lanka in different aspects such as increasing export values or figures, developing Sri Lanka as a technology hub or increasing the productivity and efficiency of Sri Lanka. We should move forward and create awareness and understanding among every single stakeholder in the region on the importance of this index to create understanding, ownership and competition for a better, benchmarking and valuable results among the regions to move forward.”
A special thanks was extended to the panel of experts who immensely contributed in the CRI validation exercise conducted to corroborate the CRI framework for the government of Sri Lanka;
- Chanuka Wattegama, Director- Policy, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka
- Dilan Rajapakse, Director, Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies
- Prasad Samarasinghe, Chairman, Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka
- Damith Hettihewa, President, Computer Society of Sri Lanka
- K V Kuganathan, Chairman, BCS Sri Lanka Section
- Chinthaka Wijewickrema, Chairman, ICT Industry Skills Council
- Vajira Kularathna, Assistant Director -Exports Services, Exports Development Board
- Pasan Wanigasekara, Director General, Board of Investment
- Ranjith Rubasinghe, CEO, Sri Lanka Technological Campus
- Pradeepa Samarasinghe, Senior Lecturer, Sri Lanka Institute of IT
- Lasith Gunawardena, Senior Lecturer, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
- Kalinga Gunawardhana, Senior Lecturer, University of Sabaragamuwa
- Shiranthi Rathnayake, Assistant Director General, Treasury, Ministry of Finance
- Manoj Ganepola, Director, Information Systems, Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka
- Amali Ranasinghe, COO, Sri Lanka Institute of Biotechnology
- Dr Naresh Handagama, CEO, Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology
- Ms Sumudu Wasana, Assistant Director of Education, Ministry of Education
- Ms R M M K Rathnayake, Deputy Director, Statistics Department, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
- Ms S R C L Gunawardhana, Assistant Director, Statistics Department, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
- Mrs K M D S D Karunaratne, Assistant Director General, Department of Census and Statistics
A note of appreciation and special acknowledgement was extended at Mr. Anura De Alwis & Ms. Chadika Yahampath for their valuable contribution and unwavering support as the authors of the Cluster Readiness Index (CRI) and also other ICTA officials for their tremendous support to develop the CRI framework.
The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka is in the forefront of driving digital transformation in the Nation with a vision to make Sri Lanka a digitally inclusive country. ICTA strives to serve the Nation with effective Digital Solutions to transform the lives of Sri Lankan citizens. For more Information about ICTA, visit icta.lk