Speaking to the Daily FT, President of New Emerging Markets Microsoft South East Asia Akther Ahmed noted that Sri Lanka needed a sustainable strategy in terms of how it is going to grow in the next five, 10 and 20 years.
“The Government plays an enabling role in terms of developing that strategy. I see Sri Lanka in the context of the regional landscape, I think there is enormous opportunity for the country to essentially claim the higher value chain and leverage skills around technology. For example Millennium IT, which came out of nowhere, was on the global map following its acquisition by LSE. This is a sign that you can leapfrog the development and go from US$ 2,500 GDP per capita to much higher.”
Citing Singapore as an example, he said it had no resources and its strategy was to become a hub for shipping: “Every country needs to have a strategy that makes sense based on their internal competency. You cannot have a strategy in void. It has to be sustainable.”
Commenting on the local situation at present, he said the potential was present, while the focus on developing IT competency was coming along.
Touching on the area of Intellectual Property (IP), he noted that one of the reasons IP was very important was because when a multinational thinks about going to a particular country and putting its backend operations or IT services in, it looks at the level of respect for IP, because they have data and information that they want protected and secured.
“Therefore, it is important for the Government to advertise to the global community that there is significant respect for IP,” he asserted.