Sri Lanka aims for $1 bln ICT revenue by 2016-official

Friday, 26 August 2011 00:53 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Sri Lanka is aiming to grow its information and communication technology (ICT) sector to a $1 billion industry by 2016, a top government official said on Wednesday, as a way to reduce unemployment among educated youth and brain drain.

Sri Lanka currently earns export revenue of around $350 million from ICT sources, and has a computer literacy rate of up to 30 percent.

"We are now laying the foundation and doing the infrastructure to achieve $1 billion ICT revenue and a 75 percent literacy in the ICT sector in next five years," said Nimal Ananda Athukorala, secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology.

The government wants to encourage 100,000 new jobs in the technology sector, to help grow the $50 billion economy.

The island nation's population has a literacy rate of 91.4 percent, primarily in local languages, but the majority of the youth have been seeking greener pasture overseas due to a 25-year war that ended in 2009.

Unemployment among educated youth has been more than 10 percent since 2008 compared to an overall rate of around 5 percent.