ETCA’s role in a knowledge-based economy

ETCA’s role in a knowledge-based economy

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The facilitating factor for the adoption of a Knowledge Economy (KE) is the newly acquired awareness of the importance of science and technology for development. Knowledge economy means necessarily giving voice to the creative class, to holders of competitive spirit of excellence, youth who are more open to new ideas of creativity and the world as a whole and women. An ETCA is contemplated with India at present.

Youth in Sri Lanka

Twenty two per cent of population consists of youth, 80% of poor are in rural areas, only 14.7% of the population has passed the G.C.E. O/L examination and another 11.2% has passed the G.C.E. A/L examination or beyond, out of which little over 1% have an undergraduate degree or above .

Women in Sri Lanka

One in five families are headed by women. Thirty five per cent of our migrant work force overseas are women. Women outnumber men in Sri Lanka. Its smart economics to invest in women’s skills development and education to increase their access to green jobs, including targeted measures to increased women’s education, employment and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Knowledge-Based Economy

The knowledge content of today’s goods and services is vastly more important than it was even a few decades ago. To deal with this, successful companies must make the gathering, filtering, and processing of new information to produce useful knowledge a routine part of doing business. Financial services businesses like investment, consulting, accounting firms are serving their customers using the knowledge they build company-wide and globally. This embedded knowledge raises their value to consumers. It is a crucial input in virtually every business. It is this central role of knowledge in competition that distinguishes a modern economy as a “knowledge-based economy”.

Human beings strive for knowledge and its value

Humans are fundamentally resourceful, and crave improvements in their lives. We value ideas that improve our well-being, and that help us overcome environment constraints and other adversities. Since our own bodies are relatively weak, some eight millennia ago we acquired knowledge about training oxen, and later horses, as beasts of burden. We supplemented this source of energy with waterpower, steam, and other steadily more knowledge-intensive sources of energy. We developed ways to use energy to give us light, heat, and so on.

Ultimately, human beings have collectively overcome adversities and constraints. The awareness of what needs improvement, the ability to find solutions, and the ability to appropriate commercial value from these solutions, together give rise to the continuous introduction of ever more knowledge into goods and services. The result is the improvement of living standards.


Commercializing knowledge means putting knowledge into a business. It means acquiring and assimilating knowledge, identifying the commercial opportunities that make the knowledge valuable, and having the ability to act on the new knowledge. Knowledge comes wrapped in people.

How globalization fits in

A knowledge-based economy will win out against traditional economies because its innovative, firms will continually win out against those of other countries. Though each winning innovator firm’s victory may be short-lived, a succession of such winners will steadily add to knowledge based economies’ wealth.

National Security and the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA)

The GMOA has said with the implementation of Indian-aided Emergency Ambulance handled by the Hyderabad-based GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (GVK-EMRI) in the Southern and Western parts of the country, the free ambulance service would be a threat to national security because all the information of citizens living in the Western and Southern Provinces could be gathered by the Indian government. How many know the rate of deaths caused by road accidents in this country? The GMOA should, since most arrive before them dead or dying in hospitals. If our ambulance service is adequate why is it we are not reaching citizens on time? Where in the world is an ambulance a national security threat in the eyes of a doctor sworn to practice medicine under the Hippocratic Oath?

The utterance by GMOA is a call for protectionism. It’s important to ask if any medical manual used to produce and award MBBS’s to medical students is entirely homegrown, written based only on local knowledge and taught in local languages. Can it be said that after the MBBS no doctor goes anywhere overseas for higher education and that all our specialists possess only the MBBS qualification? Some elements of our medical services are at times said to be second only to that found in Australia because of continuously acquired knowledge from the best around the world. If that were to be true why do we fear to compete with the best in the world? If our medical sector is so developed can and should the current leadership in the GMOA prevent other sectors from developing?

Our doctors in the GMOA know very well they all aspire and use opportunities given free to obtain their MBBS’s, on top of access for post graduate studies with many provided scholarships. The state of emergency care in the countries they favour most to carry out their higher studies are amongst the best. Why do they grudge lifesaving services being afforded to the needy at home, who cannot pay nor have access to transportation services in a medical emergency?

Example of Singapore as a Knowledge-Based Economy

The Singapore Government has pursued an outward-looking, export-oriented economic policy that encourages two-way flows of trade and investment. This has enabled Singapore to become a global trading hub with a trading capacity almost three times its GDP. Singapore also has one of the highest per capita gross domestic products (GDP) in the world, which was valued at US$55,182 in 2013.

Singapore’s major industries include electronics, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical manufacturing, processed food and beverages, rubber products and ship repair. In recent years, the Government has moved to reduce reliance on the manufacture and export of electronics by developing its services sector, as well as its biotechnology, chemical and petrochemical industries. This realignment has seen Singapore become an important financial, trade and wealth management hub for the South-East Asian region and a global hub for currency and commodity trading, transshipment and oil and gas refining.

Singapore’s trade relationships

The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed on February 17, 2003 and came into force on July 28, 2003. Singapore is also a party to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which entered into force on January 1, 2010.

In addition, Singapore has concluded bilateral FTAs with a large number of countries, including New Zealand (2000); the European Free Trade Association, a group of countries covering Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (2002); Japan (2002); the United States (2003); the Republic of Korea, India, Jordan and Panama (2005); China (2008); Peru (2008). Free Trade Agreements were also concluded with Costa Rica (2008) and the Gulf Cooperative Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (2010) and the European Union (2013), although some are yet to enter into force. Singapore also finalised a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement with India (2005).

Regionally, Singapore concluded the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (‘Trans-Pacific SEP’) with Brunei, Chile and New Zealand (2005). This formed the basis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations currently underway. Singapore is also a member of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and ASEAN Free Trade Agreements with China, India, Japan and Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations (involving ASEAN, China, Korea, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand), launched in November 2012, are also a high priority for Singapore.

If a small island nation such as Singapore with 25 % of our population can reach for the stars, partner in agreements bilaterally and multilaterally and compete with best in the world, why do we wish to be backward leaving behind literally our future and segments of society? Are we so inept and incapable of assimilating knowledge to better our economy, partner with counterparts in India and the world, be competitive with our products and services and use the tailwind we have in this region to further growth?


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