The International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the Department of Commerce (DoC) of Sri Lanka successfully completed a specialized training in September for 15 public sector officers and researchers on the globally acclaimed statistical software package STATA. The ITC – a joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and United Nations (UN) – conducted the training as part of the European Union (EU) funded EU–Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project, to empower participants and enhance their empirical analysis skills to drive Sri Lanka’s post COVID-19 economic and trade revival.
The training, conducted by University of Colombo Senior Lecturer Dr. Priyanga Dunusinghe and Dr. Dilini Hemachandra, Senior Lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, kicked off in February 2020 and spanned across 19 highly concentrated sessions over a seven-month period. Officers belonging to the DoC, Export Development Board (EDB), Department of Trade and Investment Policy (DTIP) and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) participated in the training.
STATA is a powerful statistical software that enables users to analyze, manage and produce graphical visualizations of data. During the training, participants were educated on leveraging STATA to conduct a wide range of trade policy related analyses on trade flows and tariffs as well as economic modeling, general equilibrium and partial equilibrium. With their newfound knowledge and skill capacities, the participants were assigned research projects covering key export sectors such as spices, tea, textile & apparel, fisheries, rubber and electronics.
These STATA-analyzed research findings on the impact of COVID-19 on Sri Lanka’s export sector were presented by the participants during the final session of the training, which was attended by Mr. Ananda Dharmapriya – Acting Director General of Commerce of the DoC, Mrs Kumudinie – Director/Policy & Strategic Planning of the EDB and Dr. Dayaratna Silva – National Project Coordinator of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project.
Speaking about the initiative, Dr. Silva mentioned that this training was organized following an initial request by the DoC and the objective was to enhance the analytical capacities of officers in undertaking empirical research in their day-to-day work, using STATA as a statistical tool.
Also expressing his views, Mr. Dharmapriya commented, “It is highly commendable that the STATA training was successfully completed despite unprecedented challenges that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that leveraging a powerful statistical tool such as STATA will not only provide a crucial skillset in terms of career development and analytical capacities for our staff, but also greatly enhance the efficiencies across our trade-focused institutions. I thank the EU, the ITC and the trainers for their efforts in funding, organizing and implementing this training,” he said.
All participants were awarded certificates from the ITC upon their successful completion of the training.