Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya
Pic by Kushan Pathiraja
By Nishel Fernando
The Colombo Port City project has the potential to become the most advanced smart city in Asia by attracting tech giants while providing the catalysts for inclusive advancements in digital space across various sectors of the economy, promoting inclusive capitalism.
“The Port City can become the acceleration nucleus for the larger digital economy, including covering sectors such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, plantation, SMEs and health,” Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Axiata Group Bhd Chief Executive Officer South Asia Region and Corporate Executive Vice President Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya said.
He shared these remarks speaking at a recent forum organised by the Pathfinder Foundation in Colombo.
With the development of the smart city initiative of the Colombo Port City project, he pointed out that it could potentially lead the smart city initiative to expand into the Colombo metropolis at large. He was optimistic that future possibilities would also emerge to set up secondary smart cities across the country, covering the key sectors of the economy.
Illustrating examples from countries such as Singapore and the UAE, Dr. Wijayasuriya highlighted that smart cities have become transformatory elements of rapidly advancing economies with smart cities becoming preferred locations for global high-tech leaders.
“The Port City, as a catalyst, can host start-up foundries in physical and digital proximity to tech giants,” he said.
Further, by attracting such global high-tech leaders, he pointed out that Sri Lanka would experience a significant uptick in tech employment creation while such developments are also expected to enhance the eco-system for home-grown ICT tech start-ups.
He was confident that such development would support the country to derive 30 percent of economic growth through digital economy acceleration from
Further speaking on the project, he noted that the Port City is a greenfield opportunity for actualising niche technologies at 100 percent scale, within a confined environment under an open data platform.
The niche technologies are targeted at achieving 100 percent of smart metering and building, digital citizen ID, food traceability, renewable energy and management, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, smart waste management, smart water system, smart parking and security, paperless city administration as well as 100 percent of environment-friendliness.
Moreover, he said that the IR 4.0-driven ‘smart trade’ opportunity could also drive end-to-end digitalisation spanning global to micro dimension, benefiting a wider range of stakeholders in the economy.
Although the Port City project is seemingly exclusive, Dr. Wijayasuriya opined that it has the potential to reverse the widening income gap between the poor and super-rich in Sri Lanka while boosting economic growth.