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Sunday, 29 June 2014

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Dutch to support Lanka's hi-tech exports

Sri Lanka is leveraging on ICT exports to achieve its target of US $ 20 billion by 2020. A new support initiative by the Netherlands is set to elevate Lankan software exporters to the latest technological developments.

"The government is focused on the ICT sector as a forex earner and export driver. We cannot ignore ICT if we are to achieve progress," said EDB Chairman Bandula Egodage at the seminar on 'Website Enhancement and Online Marketing ITO and BPO' organised by the EDB for Sri Lankan software manufacture and export firms.


Chairman and CEO, EDB, Bandula Egodage addressing the sessions

The two-day, interactive session was facilitated by the Netherland's CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries), an agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

The two CBI professional consultants, Joost Vander Kooij and Onno Roukens from the Netherlands helped more than 25 participants on a one-to-one basis.

Officials of ICT companies such as John Keells Computer Services, hSenid Business Solutions, 99X Technologies, Cyber Concepts, SewEasy, E-Nowave, InfoMate, Calcey Technologies, Pyxle, Allion Technologies, Dinota Information Technologies, Sanje, i-Context Content Convergence, Four Corners, Akio Information Technologies, Data Management Systems, Lanka Communication Services, E Marketing Eye, and Perfect Business Solution Services were present.

"We earned $ 719 million from this sector in 2013. The government is highly focused on ICT sector as a forex earner and driver of exports," said Chairman Egodage adding that "The Mahinda Chinthana policy stresses the importance of ICT as the way forward in exports, specially as we work towards the US $ 20 billion export goal by 2020."

"We cannot ignore ICT if we are to achieve progress. The Communication and ICT-BPO sectors are always evolving. In Sri Lanka, we have all the plus points to develop the ICT sector - most importantly, brilliant brains and pools of knowledge.

The initiative by the EDB is part of our strategy to maintain the software sector on a par with international standards," he said.

According EDB sources, Sri Lanka recorded communication and computer exports worth US $ 719 million in 2013 - a growth of 6.8% compared to 2012. The share of communication and computer exports was 6.4% of 2013's total exports which stood at $ 11.1 billion.

"CBI is working in 20 emerging markets helping them in many areas - including IT outsourcing and market intelligence," said Onno Roukens.

"Some non-IT sectors helped by CBI are the agro sector such as cut flowers and foliage to natural ingredients for pharmaceuticals, consumer products such as apparel, domestic furniture and household utensils, industrial products such as automotive parts, electronic components and medical devices. IT support is part of our services such as IT outsourcing, BPO and tourism," he said.

"Instead of providing financial support to other countries, CBI provides training instead," said CBI facilitator Joost vander Kooij. "Sri Lankan software professionals are skilled in what they do. Our training and information on the dynamics of global marketplace will help them considerably," he said.

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