New Thinkers’ Symposium Highlights the Role of Technology in Economic Transformation

21 March 2019
Dr. Saman Kelegama Auditorium, IPS

Currently, Sri Lanka is creating a digital roadmap for the country, but the lack of coordination, focus, and support among ministries and other government agencies is an issue that needs to be addressed, noted Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports, Harin Fernando.

In this regard, he noted that it was important to give people access to technology and remove the fear associated with technological advancements.

Minister Fernando made these remarks during a panel discussion at the New Thinkers’ Symposium (NTS), organised by IPS, on 21 March 2019 in Colombo. The panel, moderated by IPS Research Officer, Kithmina Hewage, comprised of Marine Biologist, Asha de Vos, and the Head of FemTech for MAS Holdings, Gayani Abeyasinghe.

Dr. de Vos, speaking on the importance of technology in conservation efforts, noted that it can help access areas that are difficult to reach and opens up new spaces, while bringing down costs of these operations.

Meanwhile, Ms. Abeyasinghe noted that technology can also address issues faced by women, such as menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, and incontinence.

Apart from the panel discussion, the Symposium hosted a research hub, where think-tanks presented findings from their latest studies; an innovations hub, which showcased the latest advancements in digital technology in Sri Lanka; and a policy hub, where representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade presented their efforts to develop digital infrastructure and e-governance mechanisms in Sri Lanka.

At the research hub, IPS Research Assistant, Nimesha Dissanayake, noted that the agriculture sector in the country stands to gain immensely from mobile technologies – particularly in receiving up-to-date weather and climate information.

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Research Hub

Agriculture: Nimesha Dissanayake (IPS)

Social Protection: Navam Niles (CEPA)

Trade and Indian Ocean Economy: Adam Collins (LKI)

Policy Hub

Gender Perspective: Priyanka Krishnamoorthy (Min. of Finance)

Exports and FDI: Anushka Wijesinha (Min. of Development Strategies and International Trade)

Economic Diplomacy: Mahesha Jayawardene (Min. of Foreign Affairs)

The Twitter conversation can be viewed via the hashtag #IPSNTS19 or on @TalkEconomicsSL. Instagram updates are available on @talkingeconomics_ips