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by Sithmi Erahapola, Intern at Azend Technologies

As an island nation, Sri Lanka has always relied on its own resources. During the age of seafaring, it became a strategic trade hub, the gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia. Despite the Dutch, Portuguese, and British influences, the island has always managed to provide a unique allure to all those that visited and traded there. This has always been built on the bedrock of Sri Lankan resilience and ingenuity. Even with COVID-19 shaking global supply chains and rattling economies, Sri Lanka pushed through to the best of its ability no matter the adversity. A prime example of its resilience is the thriving IT Industry. The sector has been steadily growing over the years to become one of the largest contributors to Sri Lanka’s economy. Some of the notable factors include:

1. Sri Lanka is home to global industry leaders in the software space. Names such as Sysco Corporation, Pearson, Wiley, IFS, and more have well established development arms based in Sri Lanka, serving a global base of clients. In addition, Sri Lanka has given rise to homegrown namessuch as MilleniumIT (acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group) who built the fastest trading platforms in the world.

2. Sri Lanka has a highly qualified and talented pool of technology personnel. With an average literacy rate of 96%, and 17 public universities and over 25 institutions representing leading global universities such as the University of London, University College Dublin, and more.

3. Sri Lanka has a geographical advantage; positioned to capture a vast time zone span from GMT to ACT, all without exhausting resources, not to mention being able to ensure a full workforce capable of serving regions that require night shift support.

4. With Sri Lanka being home to industry leaders in capital markets technology, ERP, education platforms and more, the country has become a hub for high quality and resilient IT services (Business Analysis, UI/UX, Development, Quality Assurance, and more), all thanks to an up-to-date workforce and growing global demand.

5. There is significant growth in the technology space, with over 1,000 start-ups and 200,000 new jobs anticipated to be generated in the next couple of years, in AI, IoT, Blockchain, and many more areas.

6. While Sri Lanka may not have the sheer numbers to compete with regional players, the country has stood ahead when it comes to product and enterprise software development, driven by an emphasis on quality over quantity.

7. Sri Lanka has demonstrated remarkable resilience throughout the COVID pandemic, with rapid adjustments leveraged off digital products. A QR code system was developed allowing stakeholders to monitor and manage fuel dispersal at fuel stations, district level, and national level against vehicle types. The deployment of a digital vaccination certificate allowed for transparent tracking of COVID vaccinations across the population.

Azend Technologies, along with others, are pioneering the growth of this opportunistic industry, enabling businesses across the globe to grow in Agtech, Fintech, Edtech, Biotech, and more. With Sri Lanka's technology sector expanding quickly, it is positioned to play a significant role in the global IT market. Partnerships such as the one between Azend Technologies and the GSA-UK will help further strengthen organisation-level ties between Sri Lankan IT companies and global markets, putting the country on the world map as the technology hub it truly is.

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