Sri Lanka promotes ICT business in former war zone

COLOMBO, Dec 05, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan software and outsourcing companies are trying to expand business to the former war zone in northern Jaffna peninsula, seeking to diversity exports to the regions.

Mano Sekaram, vice chairman of the Sri Lanka Association for Software and Service Companies said over 95 percent of information technology and business process management exports comes from the western province where the capital Colombo is.

"Part of our strategy is to build regional ICT capacity creating ‘second tier’ cities and fostering entrepreneurship to ignite start-ups," he told the opening Friday of the IT/BPM Export Forum in Jaffna.

Chief executives of the island’s seven top ICT/BPM firms were present at the forum held by the Export Development Board and Information Communications Technology Agency in Jaffna which was connected to the national fibre optic cable after the ethnic war ended.

These are Virtusa, Stax Inc, WSO2, Calcey, CodeGen, Hayleys BPO and 99X Technology.

"The creation of ‘Second Tier Cities’ – Kandy, Galle and Jaffna – will IT empower the regions and would see a paradigm shift from being Colombo-centric to regional-centric IT development," said Sekaram, who heads 99X Technology.

"Furthermore, it has been identified that the proliferation of ICT in provincial regions is the fastest way of developing marginalised areas."

In 2013, IT and BPM export revenue grew to an estimated 719 million US dollars. The sector has 220 firms employing about employing 80,000 people, he said.

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