Sri Lanka punches below its weight on digital indicators | Daily News


Sri Lanka punches below its weight on digital indicators

Panel discussion in progress
Panel discussion in progress

The country does not perform as well as expected on digital indicators. Awareness of the internet and related services do not result in usage within the country. The majority of social media users in Sri Lanka think that blocking social media during times of national unrest “is the right thing to do”, according to a survey conducted by Colombo-based digital policy think tank, LIRNEasia.

Sixty-three percent of the population had never used the internet. Internet adoption was highest among the young, educated and affluent. Awareness not resulting in adoption was also seen in e-commerce services. Seventy percent of internet users said they had heard about platforms for buying or selling goods and services online. 43 percent of that group said they ever used such a service to make a purchase, the study revealed.

Seventy-eight percent of the population owned a mobile phone beating India, Pakistan and other countries in the region. The figure is the lowest from among its economic peers such as Argentina (91 percent), Ecuador (84 percent) and Guatemala (88 percent).

The research was conducted with methodology comparable across 23 countries. The surveys were conducted by DIRSI, LIRNEasia and Research ICT Africa in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The project received international funding.

“The current education system does not value independent research and only requires memorization. The internet is thus made irrelevant,” said Founding Chair of LIRNEasia and Chairman, Prof. Rohan Samarajiva.

“Sri Lanka has a culture of not valuing time, and since convenience is a key benefit of e-commerce and other internet-related services, Sri Lankan’s don’t buy online much,” added CEO of Takas.LK, Lahiru Pathmalal.

Fifty eight percent of social media users in Sri Lanka thought that government blocking social media during times of national unrest was the right thing to do. 26 percent of social media users disagreed, while 16 percent did not express an opinion. 90 percent of social media users remember the social media block of March 2018. 64 percent said it had no impact on their social media use.


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