Sri Lanka needs changes to build knowledge economy: World Bank

March 26, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs to improve access to broadband communications and the internet and reduce costs to become a ‘knowledge economy’, the World Bank has said. . If not, the country risks creating a ‘digital divide’, a new divide between haves and have-nots, economist Ismail Radwan said in a new study on building Sri Lanka’s knowledge economy.

The country should position itself to harness knowledge for faster development as the services sector of the economy was now three times as large as agriculture.

Radwan, senior private sector development specialist of the World Bank, said a knowledge economy does not necessarily mean hi-tech industries.

“Most of the benefit comes from adopting best practices,” he told a meeting to discuss the findings of the study on Tuesday.

“You don’t have to re-invent the wheel – just use the wheel.”

He named what he called the four pillars of the knowledge economy; creating a good business environment, a modern and adequate information technology infrastructure, an educated and skilled workforce, and cultivating a scientific culture that yields an effective innovation system.

Radwan said it was importa